Construction Abbreviations Commonly Used in Blueprints

Blueprints can be up to 50 pages long, with a lot of intimidating symbols, abbreviated text, and lines. But in fact, each diagram in an architectural package is a simple concept, and blueprints are a set of diagrams that stack those concepts on top of one another.

Why are abbreviations used in construction?

Building architects and designers are responsible for communicating countless things about a building’s construction: where it should be located on the lot, how it should be built, what materials should be used, what it should look like, and where the MEP systems that make it function go. To save space on blueprints and simplify information sharing, designers use a set of abbreviations and acronyms. 

Most of these abbreviations are standard across the trades. But some architects might use their own abbreviations that aren’t standard or well known. So the title page of the architectural package includes an abbreviations block to help you decode these custom abbreviations as you read the plans.  

Architects commonly abbreviate measurements, such as edge distance (ED), far side (FS), and inner diameter (ID). Materials are also often abbreviated such as gypsum (Gyp.), laminated veneer lumber (L.V.L.), and masonry (Mas.). Items to consider when you read a floor plan are abbreviated, such as not to scale (N.T.S.). And you’ll also find home appliances and control panels on this list, such as water heater (Wtr. Htr.), smoke detector (S.D.), and fire alarm control panel (FACP).

Recognizing abbreviations and acronyms is a first step towards reading a property’s blueprints. Learn everything you need to know about reading blueprints in MT Copeland’s online class, taught by professional builder and craftsman Jordan Smith. 

Commonly used abbreviations and acronyms on blueprints

A/C: Air Conditioner

A.C.: Asphaltic Concrete

ACI: American Concrete Institute

Acous.: Acoustical

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992

Adj.: Adjustable

A.F.F.: Above Finished Floor

A.F.G.: Above Finished Grade

AIA: American Institute of Architects or American Insurance Association

AIEE: American Institute of Electrical Engineers

AISC: American Institute of Steel Construction

AISI: American and Steel Institute

Al.: Aluminum

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

APCIA: American Property Casualty Insurance Association

Approx.: Approximate

Arch.: Architectural

ASCE: American Society of Civil Engineers

ASME: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials

AWG: American Wire Gauge

Bd.: Board

Bldg.: Building

Blk.: Block

Blkg: Blocking

Bm.: Beam

B.O.F.: Bottom of Footing

B.O.M: Bill of Material

BOT: Bottom

B.O.W.: Bottom of Wall

BP: Blue Print (or B/P)

Brz.: Bronze

BV: Butterfly Valve

Cab.: Cabinet

CAD: Cadmium or Computer-Aided Drafting

CBORE: Counterbore

C.C.: Center to Center

C.D.: Construction Document

Cem.: Cement

Cer.: Ceramic

C.F.M.: Cubic Feet per Minute

CFS: Cubic Feet per Second

C.I.: Cast Iron

CL.: Closet

CL: Center Line

CLG.: Ceiling

CLR.: Clear

CMU: Concrete Masonry Unit

C.O.: Cleanout

Col.: Column

Conc.: Concrete

Cont.: Continuous

CRES: Corrosion-Resistant Steel

CSINK: Countersink

Ctr.: Center

  1. FT.: Cubic Feet
  2. YD.: Cubic Yard

Dbl.: Double

Dept.: Department

D.F.: Drinking Fountain

Dia.: Diameter

Dim.: Dimension

DN.: Down

DR.: Door

DP.: Deep

D.S.: Downspout

DWG: Drawing

DWR.: Drawer

Ea.: Each

E.D.: Edge Distance

E.F.: Exhaust Fan

E.J. Expansion Joint

Elec.: Electrical

Elev.: Elevation

EQ: Equal, or Equally

EQMT.: Equipment

E.W.: Each Way

E.W.C.: Electric Water Cooler

Exc: Excavate

(E) Exist.: Existing

Ext.: Exterior

FACP: Fire Alarm Control Panel

FAO: Finish All Over

F.C.O.: Floor cleanout

F.D.: Floor Drain

FDN.: Foundation

F.F.L.: Finished Floor Level

F.G. Finish Grade

Fin.: Finish

FL: Floor Level

Fluor. Fluorescent

      F.O.C.: Face of Concrete

F.O.F.: Face of Finish

F.O.S.: Face of Stud

FRPF: Fireproof 

FS: Far Side

FT.: Feet or Foot

FTG: Fitting

GA.: Gauge

Galv.: Galvanized

G.C.: General Contractor

G.F.C.I. or G.F.I.: Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter

GL.: Glass

GPM: Gallons Per Minute

G.T.: Glazed Tile

Gyp.: Gypsum

H.: High

H.B.: Hose Bib

H.C.: Hollow Core

HDCP: Handicapped (better if referred to as “Accessible”)

HDPE: High-Density Polyethylene

HDWE.: Hardware

H.M.: Hollow Metal

Horiz.: Horizontal

HRS: Hot Rolled Steel

HR.: Hour

HV: High Voltage

H.V.A.C.: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

H.W.: Hot Water

IAW: In Accordance With

ID: Inner Diameter

IE: Invert Elevation

IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

In.: Inch

Insul.: Insulation

Int.: Interior

Inv.: Invert

ISO: International Organization for Standards

Jan.: Janitor

J-Box: Junction Box

Jct.: Junction

Jst.: Joist

JT.: Joint

Kit.: Kitchen

kW: Kilowatt

Lav.: Lavatory

LDD: LImited Dimension Drawing

LFT.: Linear Feet

LH: Left Hand

LL: Live Load

LM: List of Materials

Lt.: Light

Ltg.: Lighting

L.V.L.: Laminated Veneer Lumber

Mas.: Masonry

MAX: Maximum

MBW: Measurement Between Wires

Mech.: Mechanical

Memb.: Membrane

MFG.: Manufacturing

MFR.: Manufacturer

MH: Manhole

Min.: Minimum

Misc.: Miscellaneous

MOW: Measurement Over Wires

MTL.: Metal

MTD.: Mounted

NEC: National Electrical Code

N.I.C.: Not In Contract

NOM: Nominal

N.T.S.: Not to scale

O/: Over

OAL: Overall Length

O.C.: On Center

O.D.: Outside Diameter

Off.: Office

OPNG.: Opening or Rough Opening

PCC: Portland Cement Concrete

PCI: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

PCS: Pieces

PL.: Plaster

P.L.: Plastic Laminate

P.L.: Property Line (or Parts List)

Plywd.: Plywood

PR.: Pair

P.S.F.: Pounds per Square Foot

P.S.I.: Pounds per Square Inch

Ptd.: Painted

PT.: Point

P.T.: Pressure Treated

PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride

QTY: Quantity

R: Radius

RC: Reinforced Concrete

RD: Roof Drain, Round, or Receptacle Distribution Panel

R.D.L.: Roof Drain Leader

REBAR: Reinforcing Bar

Ref.: Refrigerator

REQD: Required

RH: Right Hand

RI.: Riser

R.O.: Rough Opening

R.O.W.: Right of Way

Reinf.: Reinforced

San.: Sanitary

S.B.N.: Surface Bullnose

SC: Sharp Corners

S.C.: Solid Core

S.D.: Smoke Detector

Sect.: Section

Sht.: Sheet

SH.: Shelf

Sht’g.: Sheathing

Sim.: Similar

Specs.: Specifications

  1. FT.: Square Feet
  2. IN.: Square Inches

SS: Stainless Steel, Setscrew, Soil Stack, Service Sink, or Slop Sink

S.SK.: Service Sink

Std.: Standard

Stl: Steel

Stor.: Storage

Susp.: Suspended

S.Y.: Square Yard

Temp’d.: Tempered

T&B: Top and Bottom

T&G: Tongue and Groove

THK.: Thick

TLT.: Toilet

T.O.: Top of

T.O.B.: Top of Beam

T.O.C.: Top of Curb or Top of Concrete

T.O.F.: Top of Footing

T.O.J.: Top of Joist

T.O.M.: Top of Masonry

T.O.W.: Top of Wall

TR.: Tread

T.S.: Top Set

TTC: Telephone Terminal Closet

TYP.: Typical

UON: Unless Otherwise Noted

UNF.: Unfinished

VA.: Voltage

V.B.: Vapor Barrier

Vert.: Vertical

V.I.F.: Verify in Field

W.C.: Water Closet (Toilet)

W.: Wide

Wd.: Wood

Wdw.: Window

W.I.: Wrought Iron

W.I.C.: Walk-In Closet

WL: Water Level

W/O: Without

Wp.: Weatherproof

W.R.: Water Resistant

WS: Weatherstripping or Water Stop

Wt.: Weight

Wtr. Htr. : Water Heater

&: And

L: Angle

@: At

L: Centerline

O: Diameter

#: Pound/Number

O/: Over

MT Copeland offers video-based online classes that give you a foundation in construction fundamentals with real-world applications. Classes include professionally produced videos taught by practicing craftspeople, and supplementary downloads like quizzes, blueprints, and other materials to help you master the skills.

Avatar Photo of Jordan Smith

Featured Instructor

Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith is the CEO and Founder of Smith House Company, a design+build firm based in Austin, Texas. He learned to build and weld while working on the farm with his grandad, and after earning a degree in Welding and Materials Engineering, he spent the next 10 years working in the heavy construction building everything from robots to ships to offshore oil rigs before transitioning to residential construction. After spending a couple of years working with industry leading builders in Austin, Jordan and his wife Veronica struck out on their own to form Smith House Co. Smith House Co. strives to build more beautiful, functional and resilient spaces which are self sustaining and harmonize with their natural surroundings.

Explore Classes

Build Smarter

Get the latest updates about new courses, special trainings, resources, and more.