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A beginner’s guide to reading a floor plan

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A Beginner’s Guide To Reading A Floor Plan


When you’re in the market for a new apartment, floor plans are one of the most useful indicators of whether or not you’ve found your dream home. 

For an off-the-plan purchase, being able to read and understand a floor plan is essential. For established apartments, floor plans come in handy when access is limited. Floor plans for off-the-plan apartments are part of a bundle of information that includes building location and aspect – relating to both planned and existing buildings. Individual floor plans need to be read in conjunction with floor-plate plans so that you can understand access to lifts, foyers and distance to car park spaces, storage and garbage shuts or garbage rooms and recycling areas along with other facilities like a gym or pool.


Here’s where to start


Firstly, it’s important to remember that marketing floor plans are not the final detailed constructions plans, so the finer details are limited. That’s why you should always check the floor plan that’s attached to your sales contract – because it may not be exactly the same as the marketing plans, and the contract form plans are part of the legal obligations between the vendor and yourself.


The basics


With any floor plan, make sure you can measure each room and check any details you need, like the width of doors and windows. Make sure you check the full details of the plan scale as there may be some tricky maths involved. If the location of things like power points, light switches and appliances are not shown, ask for details.


Another thing to look out for are sightlines. Do you open the front door and look straight into a bedroom, bathroom or toilet? Think about the layout of your furniture against the floor plans, too.


Understanding scale


One of the most useful steps to understanding scale is to go and compare your floor plan to your existing place. Measure the rooms and spaces around your current home, along with the furniture, doorways, windows and even the width of appliances, height and depth of cupboards, and the width of wardrobes. This will instantly give you a very real-life understanding of space.

It’s also a good idea to create simple scale cut-outs of your furniture to place over the new floor plans. If you’ve got the skills, you can do much the same thing by scanning your plans and then try your hand at cutting and pasting some furniture layouts. And you can do the same if there’s a sales display apartment.


Take yourself on a mini tour


Take yourself on a mini tour through your floor plans, using your finger or a pen to “walk” through it. This will give you a good sense of the flow of the space and how you’ll move around it. Think about access and keep referring back to your scale ,and write the measurements of individual rooms on the plans just so you have a full appreciation of the space.


It’s important to consider how you might use the main living areas, outdoor spaces, balconies, terraces and courtyards. If your new apartment is over two-levels or has lift access, double check the lift and bed sizes carefully.


Check your dimensions


It’s handy to plan out how your space will work, so it’s a good idea to check all dimensions. While most appliances will be provided, you may want to bring your own washing machine, refrigerator or large-format TV. Most critical dimensions like accommodating a washing machine will be based on Australian standards, so it’s easy and wise to double check. And remember to check the plans for your parking space or garage and any storage areas and include the height of these spaces. Check all internal, external and remote dimensions and that includes common areas like the entry foyer and the lift, and don’t forget to check lift access.


If you take the time to study and understand floor plans properly, you’ll be able to make any changes that are necessary and possible before construction. Discovering unexpected surprises when you move in isn’t ideal, so analysing your floor plan will make moving into your new home a smooth and enjoyable experience.


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Natalie Larbey

Associate Director, National Marketing & Communications


Natalie is equipped with the knowledge and skill to implement strategic marketing initiatives for the national residential team. With over 13 years’ experience in residential and project marketing, Natalie is responsible for the positioning of the Colliers brand ensuring a consistent high level of brand integrity is maintained across the corporate and residential team nationally.

Commencing her real estate career in London, Natalie worked for one of the UK’s largest real estate firms Countrywide PLC. Since relocating back to Australia she joined McGrath, providing strategic sales and marketing support to top agents then leading to transition into the projects division where she was responsible for implementing and executing strategic marketing campaigns across NSW, Qld & Vic.

Natalie then joined The Agency Projects at its inception assisting with brand development and positioning at the initial stages of development and taking the brand to launch. Natalie was responsible for all corporate marketing and communications ensuring brand integrity across the division and managing all facets of project marketing campaigns across NSW, Qld & Vic.

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