Series GR-2176 - Public Works building plans : aperture cards

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Public Works building plans : aperture cards

General material designation

  • architectural drawing
  • microform
  • technical drawing

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.

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Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [ca. 1970]-1978 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Dept. of Public Works

Physical description area

Physical description

3.8 m of architectural and technical drawings : ca. 23,000 aperture cards ; 8 x 19 cm

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

The Dept. of Public Works was established in 1908 with the enactment of the Department of Public Works Act (SBC 1908, c. 41). The Dept. of Public Works was a successor to the Lands and Works Dept. The mandate of the Dept. of Public Works included construction and maintenance of government offices and buildings, public highways, bridges, wharves, river-bank protection, and maintenance of ferry and steamboat services.

In 1947 the work of the department was divided into district offices, an Architect’s Branch, Accounting Branch, Engineering Branch, and Equipment Branch. The department was also responsible for boiler inspection and electrical energy inspection.

In 1955, the responsibility for highways was transferred to the newly formed Dept. of Highways. At this time, the Dept. of Public Works, under the revised Department of Public Works Act (SBC 1955, c. 65), consisted of the Architectural Branch, Boiler Inspection Division, Electrical Energy Inspection Division, and Gas Inspection Division.

In 1975 the Dept. of Public Works was dissolved and its functions were merged with the functions of the Dept. of Highways to form the Dept. of Highways and Public Works (OIC 3842/75).

Custodial history

Transferred directly to the Provincial Archives in 1978 by British Columbia Buildings Corporation.

Scope and content

The series consists of approximately 23,000 aperture cards created by the Dept. of Public Works between ca. 1970 and 1978 to manage building plans and drawings of public buildings throughout British Columbia. The plans include those for law courts, highways maintenance yards, police buildings, hospitals and health centres, government office buildings, liquor stores, correctional centres and camps, sewage treatment plants, fire halls, civil defence buildings, vocational schools, universities, mental health institutions, provincial schools and the Provincial Legislative buildings.
Each card contains a 35 mm microfiche copy of a plan or drawing, along with Public Works Drawing number and the negative number assigned to the 105 mm version of the plan or drawing. The cards are arranged numerically by the PWD number. Use the indexes to Public Works building buildings plans (GR-2184) in order to determine the PWD number.
Three groups of numbers and/or letters were used to make up the drawing number. The first group consists of numbers only and indicates the assigned area number. The second group consists of a letter or figure which denotes the type of plan.
When the drawing was used as a site plan, topographical plan or services (utilities) plan one of the following letters was used:
A - Architectural perspectives
E - Electric distribution, exterior floodlighting, street lighting etc. systems
L - Landscaping
M - Mechanical Services distribution systems
S - Site & topographical plans, excavation, levelling, roads, parking areas, sewage, water distribution and collecting systems
When the drawing was used as a building plan, the three part number consisted of area number, building number and sheet number.
The third group consisted of a letter/number group denoting the type of drawing and sheet number using the following letters:
A – Architectural
E – Electric circuitry and detail pertaining to the building
F - Furniture and fixtures
M - Mechanical
P – Plumbing
S – Civil/Structural
When an alteration (revision) was made to an existing plan, the new trace bears the same number as the original drawing, followed by an oblique stroke and number indicating the alteration.
When a new wing or extension was made to an existing building, the drawing would bear the first two groups as the original drawing but the third group started at 201. A second wing or addition to the same building would bear sheet numbers starting at 301.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


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Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

These records are restricted. Please contact the BC Archives for information about access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Associated materials

For indexes to Public Works building plans, see GR-2184

Related materials


General note

Accession number(s): M91-007

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