A floor plan is often regarded as a relatively simple concept – a physical representation of the floor layout, presented in a two-dimensional form most of the time. Floor plan creation is one of the most basic building-oriented processes, and many other, more complex processes are initiated in the industry. However, creating a competent floor plan can be surprisingly tricky.
Of course, floor plan creation would not be an issue for a seasoned architect. Unfortunately, not all of the professionals in the construction field have the necessary level of skill and experience to be able to produce one such plan in a reasonable time frame. This issue existed in the industry for a long time, and there was no single solution for a while – especially in an industry as conservative as construction.
The solution in question has been the introduction of specialized architect-oriented software in this field. The rise and widespread adoption of construction software changed many industries, and the construction industry is no exception. In the modern-day, construction software is a highly versatile field that can provide practically any industry specialist with the means of simplifying or improving their work.
Floor plan creation can also be significantly simplified now, with all kinds of architectural software capable of assisting in producing detailed floor plans without requiring a high level of expertise in the field. The software in question can be a specialized rendering solution, a general-purpose CAD software, or even a relatively small application that can only work with floor plans in the first place.
What’s important here is to have the correct assumption about the differences between a floor plan and a building plan. This is how we define a basic floor plan – a simple yet informative blueprint of a specific floor in a structure. In this context, the total number of floors in a building does not matter since a single-floor plan can only cover a single floor of a building.
The primary purpose of a floor plan is to provide a visual reference for the layout of a specific floor in a structure (the first floor of a building is the one that gets created the most when it comes to construction projects). It is also the primary purpose of a building plan – an entity that is very similar to a floor plan by nature. The most significant difference between the two is the fact that a building plan represents the layout of the entire structure, including all of the floors that it may or may not have.
A building plan also has its share of use cases – offering a clear reference for all project participants regarding the future building, including its shape, size, and so on. A building plan can also be expanded and improved upon to be able to calculate and predict material consumption and perform many other valuable actions – which essentially turns it into a BIM model at some point.
In this context, the scope of capabilities for a floor plan is much tamer, although just as important. What is essential to understand here is that a lot of 2D architecture floor plan software also offers a number of other capabilities, including the ability to operate with multiple floors within the same project model. As such, “floor plan” and “building plan” are used interchangeably in the context of the architecture software.
As a field of work, the architecture industry can be intimidating and overwhelming to newcomers. The situation with architectural software is very similar – although it is not as bad in comparison. There are many examples of architecture software that are user-friendly and easy to navigate, making the onboarding process a lot easier for less experienced employees.
Many different solutions in the architectural field can create and modify floor plans and building plans to a certain degree. It can be a specialized architectural software or a general-purpose CAD solution, depending on the purpose of the task and many other factors. As such, it is possible to present a number of examples for the field of floor plan software.
AutoCAD is a very well-known name in the construction field. However, our first example is called AutoCAD LT. It is a lightweight version of the aforementioned AutoCAD incapable of operating in 3D – keeping its capabilities within two dimensions. It is a great example of a floor plan solution since it is much cheaper than its “full” counterpart while offering a very competent feature set with drafting, technical diagramming, and easy integration with other Autodesk solutions for better results.
SketchUp is the second example of this topic. It is a well-known sketching, drafting, and modeling solution that can be used in many different industries, including construction. One of its most significant advantages is its ease of use, making SketchUp an extremely useful solution for architects, engineers, designers, builders, and more. Its basic version is also free, which is practically unheard of in the construction industry.
Other examples, such as Revizto, do not even need the ability to create floor plans to be on this list – simply because of how beneficial they can be in managing these plans. Revizto is the ultimate collaboration software specializing in features such as clash detection, issue tracking, visibility control, and even support for VR walkthroughs for project models, making it very useful for floor plan and building plan management.