Design Rule #1: a well-thought-out design won’t become a reality if it’s not documented clearly.

Clear, concise and consistent technical drawings allow you to communicate your design intent, and ensure your ideas aren’t left open to vague interpretation by others. Here are our ‘three C tips’ for exceptional documentation.

C#1 Clarity

Technical drawing is first and foremost a communication tool – think of it as a language that everyone should be able to understand. By delivering clear and consistent plans, your designs will be better understood, and you won’t need to explain your intentions repeatedly. To keep your drawing set crystal clear:

  • ‘Plan your plans’ in advance: map out your floor plan, elevations, mechanical/structural plans, sections and 3D renderings, and use clearly set out call-outs (symbols) and references to lead the reader fluently from one drawing to another.
  • Plan each individual drawing before getting into the detail; ensure the layout is logical and clear – don’t be afraid of white space.
  • Consider how your plans will be read: will the reader be printing them out (A4? A3? A0?) or view them on an on-site iPad or in-house big screen monitor? Can your drawings be easily deciphered when reduced or enlarged?

C#2 Conciseness

Many designers think their intentions will be made more apparent with copious notes, but this is not always the case. Consider the following when aiming for concise documentation:

  • Be consistent with layouts, linework, dimensioning, abbreviations and symbols (using Australian Standards – see below – and your own quality control checklist). Avoid long blocks of text, and embrace white space!
  • Include a legend to decipher the meaning of abbreviations and symbols.
  • Back up your plan set with a comprehensive specification (in table format) and a visual finishes locater (rendered 3D plan or marked up elevations, for example) and you’ll ensure everyone is on the same page.

C#3 Consistency

If you’re looking for consistency and clarity in your technical drawings, Australian Standards are a useful reference. Using AS 1100.101-1992 (R2014) Technical Drawing General Principles as a starting point for your own in-house quality control checklist will make sure you’re on the right track.

  • AS 1100 sets out the basic principles of technical drawing, including:
  • common abbreviations
  • sizes and layout of drawing sheets
  • types and thicknesses of lines to be used (with examples of application)
  • recommendations for uniform letters, numerals and symbols
  • recommended scales and their applications
  • methods of projection and indication of various views (elevations etc.)
  • means of indicating sections, and conventions used in sectioning details
  • recommendations for dimensioning including size and geometry tolerances
  • protocols used for the representation of components

AS 1100.301-2008 Technical Drawing Architectural Drawing is another useful Standard. It covers methods of presenting architectural drawings before, during and after the construction period. The Standard includes information on additional abbreviations, drawing sheet layouts, line conventions and protocols for cross-referencing drawings, coordinates and grids.

You’ll find copies of the above Standards in your local library. If you feel the full volume would be a good addition to your library, visit for information on purchasing your own. And of course, as a KBDi Member, you can always reach out to us for specific areas of advice.

By following our three Cs, your design details will be a dream for the people turning your big ideas into reality.