Last edited 11 Nov 2016

Detail drawing

Detail drawings provide a detailed description of the geometric form of a part of an object such as a building, bridge, tunnel, machine, plant and so on. They tend to be large-scale drawings that show in detail parts that may be included in less detail on general arrangement drawings.

Detail drawings may be used to demonstrate compliance with regulations and other requirements, to provide information about assembly and the junctions between components, to show construction details, detailed form and so on, that would not be possible to include on more general drawings.

They may include dimensions, tolerances, notation, symbols and specification information, but this should not duplicate information included in separate specifications as this can become contradictory and may cause confusion.

They may consist of 2 dimensional orthogonal projections showing plans, sections and elevations and may be drawn to scale by hand, or prepared using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. However, increasingly, building information modelling (BIM) is being used to create detailed 3 dimensional representations of buildings and their components.

Detail drawings may be confused with ‘detailed design drawings’ which might describe the drawings produced during the detailed design stage, (sometimes referred to as 'developed design' or 'definition'). Detailed design is the process developing the design so that it is dimensionally correct and co-ordinated, describing all the main components of the building and how they fit together. Not all drawings produced during this stage will necessarily be detail drawings.

They are also distinct from the definition of ‘working drawings’ which provide dimensioned, graphical information that can be used by a contractor to construct the works, by suppliers to fabricate components of the works or to assemble or install components. Again, not all working drawings will necessarily be detail drawings.

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