Numbered CAD Layering System

Written with the use of AutoCAD in mind, however principles apply to other CAD packages.

Core concepts

All layer names are prefix with a predefined set of numbers is the core of the concept behind this system. The first digit represents the discipline and the following digits refer to the object type (doors, columns etc.).


Multiple drafters can work together on the same projects because the layer list is ordered and structured.
In theory elements from different disciplines can be drawn in a single file - In practice XREF-ing to individual files may be easier to manage.
The preset numbering of the layers allows for CAD programs to filter and manipulate the drawing easier. A program can search for those set parameters.


The layer naming can be just the numbers or with the following extensions:

  • X = eXisting: the objects drawn are existing conditions
  • D = Demolition: the objects drawn have to be demolished
  • N = Non-structural: both Architectural and Structural may require the use of this, for example, defining the structural and non-structural walls.
  • P = Proposed: Generally drawings are for proposed works anyway, however there may occur cases where it may be necessary to make the distinction.
  • -description = the dash and description can be used on all layers; example 105-room names, 105X-room names.

Combinded Disciplines - sample list

Layer No.DescriptionLayer No.Description
000Hatch boundary410Hardware
001All general linework420Paving
021Title sheet439Access Floors
030Dimensions440Base layer for Xrefs
032Room names444Partitions
033Room numbers450Roofing
034Floor finishes459Suspended ceilings
035Detail reference no.460Curtain walls
036Section reference no.461Windows
037General Arch Text465Doors
038General Struct Text510Cladding
040Grids553Resilient Finishes
060Symbols580Graphics, Artwork
062Hatch Patterns591Carpets
072Site Features (kerbs, manholes etc.)610Loose Furniture
140Vegetation (Trees etc.611Furniture
210Groundworks615Furniture Text
220Concrete730Sanitary Services
230Masonry Walls737Plumbing Fixtures
235Stonework740Water Services
250Structural Steel783Fire Protection-Sprinklers
260Metalwork884Fans (ceiling and exhaust etc.)
709General Hydraulic Text725Toxic Wastes
720Drainage727Sewer Treatment
728Special Services740Water Services
741External services - mains742Cold Water Supply
743Hot Water Supply745Chilled Water
747Irrigation880Air Handling Ductwork
749Condensaed Water System887Exhaust Systems
780Fire Protection828Lights
787Fire and Smoke Detection892Lifts
791Voice and Data892Lifts
800General Electrical846Security Systems
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