Drawing to Conclusions

Hello BIMfans,
You will be happy to know that my graphical models are nearly ready to be delivered.  I have considered how to do Mindful Modeling, what to do about Objects within my graphical models, and even had not one round, but two rounds of COBie consideration. I thought I had considered everything I needed to.  However, I’ve realized that I haven’t really considered one of the most important deliverables; my drawings.

Yes, drawings are still needed when following the BIM process!

To produce objects for my graphical models, I have the BS 8541 series; to produce COBie I have BS 1192-4, but if I want to produce drawings what support do I have?  In fact, a lot.

Drawing Sheet:

For this project, I wanted to create several drawings including the plans, elevations, and sections.  To be appropriate for my house (where I have no large format plotter) I have opted to use A3.  Now A3 has a standard size, defined in ISO 216 as 297x420mm.  Ok, so I know how big my paper is; but how big should the drawing border?  Well, there is a standard for that too.

ISO 5457 states that the drawings space for an A3 sheet is 277x390mm giving 10mm of clearance on each side, except for 20mm horizontally on the left to allow for filing. It also states that drawing sheets should have centre lines, a grid reference for identifying locations on the drawing, and trim markings in the corner; giving me a sheet that looks something like this:

I like the ‘A3’ the bottom corner to indicate size, but to be honest, this sheet does feel a little over the top; no matter it’s in the ISO, so it goes on my sheet!

Title block:

Right, I have my drawing sheet, I now need a title block to go with it. Luckily for me, there is a standard for that too. ISO 7200, specifies the mandatory fields required for a title block which are:

  • Legal owner
  • Identification number
  • Date of issue
  • Segment/sheet number
  • Title
  • Approval person
  • Creator
  • Document Type

In addition to these codes, I want to include the following optional fields within ISO 7200: Revision Index, and Technical Reference, as well as the BS 1192 specific field Status Code, and the project’s name.  So taking all of these fields and trying to put them together logically gives me a title block that looks like this:

Where space permits I have included the attribute that controls each box.

Note:  To better align with the approval gate process in BS 1192 I have changed Technical Reference to ‘Checked by’ and renamed Approval Person and Creator as ‘Approved by’ and ‘Drawn by’ respectively.

Now that I have an ISO 7200 title block, I can use this on all my drawings as well as my Employer’s Information Requirements, BIM Execution Plan, and model splash pages to consistently convey information about them all.


I also need to select the proper symbols and annotations.  Luckily for me, there is even a standard for that too.  BS 8541-2 includes standard symbols, annotations, hatch patterns, and even specifies what my north point should look like. Using this standard I can ensure that I convey my information in a nationally consistent manner.

If there is one thing that every designer likes to do, it is to design their own north point.  Why when we have a national standard that provides one?


Finally, no annotations are complete without a good font.  Now when I first released this post I hadn’t considered a font and had just used Ariel (#Mainsteam) but through closer inspection of the standards came across ISO 3098 Series and the compliant ISOCP fonts. These have now been used to annotate my drawings.


Now that I have put all of these standards together, I am able to complete by drawing properly, which you can access following the links below:

NOTE:  All of these international standards are conveniently summed up in a single British Standard, BS 8888.  Thank you to John Ford for pointing me towards it!

And there we have it, by thinking about how I am going to produce my drawings I have been able to apply several international and national standards to produce a standard drawing sheet, title block as well as use standard symbols.  A big help towards the completion of PLQ2.5!

Model Generation:
2.1 What existing information is available?
2.2 Is there sufficient information to produce a BEP?
2.3 What is the layout of the house?
2.4 What assets are contained within?
2.5 What asset information can be linked to the graphical model?

Now that I have a system for producing each deliverable in place, It’s about time I shared them with you…

6 thoughts on “Drawing to Conclusions

  1. I guess you could say why should people design their own northpoints, but similarly you could say why standardise it? Standardising infers that there is one ‘right’ way or a good reason to do it one way, there isn’t one right way when it comes to taste and design, I would hate to see someone come and paint your walls a standardised BS 4800:2011 colour (I checked, there is a BS for paint colour). I’m all up for standardising fire alarm symbols, because no one benefits from people inventing their own arcane symbology, but north points? Surely not.


    • Hi Henry. I agree with you that there is no ‘right’ way but firmly believe there should be just one way.

      What’s the difference between North Points & Fire Alarm Symbols? They are both symbolic representations. Unless we standardize these items, the message can be lost. Doing a quick google of North Points, some of them are useless! Obviously, there is flex in what colour you paint with, but we have standard terms for colours through CMYK, RGB, and Hex codes; so not even colours escape standards conformity.

      I guess my point is that why make a new North Point is the National Standard clearly points to North?


  2. If we are debating what’s right or wrong – have we missed the point?

    Why re-invent the wheel? Why spend time designing a new CAD/BIM standard when you can use the existing one?

    Wouldn’t you rather focus your time on tasks that add value to your customer?


    • Exactly. When you consider time to create, maintain and train others on how to use them, making your own standards is a very expensive process!


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