A reflected ceiling plan (RCP) is a drawing that shows which shows the items are located on the ceiling of a room or space. It is referred to as a reflected ceiling plan since it is drawn to display a view of the ceiling as if it was reflected onto a mirror on the floor.

Things You Should Know

  • Pretend that you're hovering a few feet above the ceiling. Imagine that the ceiling below you is transparent.
  • Use this perspective to read and understand the ceiling plan.
  • Read the specs and additional details listed on the plan. Check the legend to decipher any symbols.


  1. Pretend that you are hovering a couple of feet above the ceiling.
  1. Imagine that the ceiling below you is transparent (see-through).
  1. Visualize the ceiling over the floor below.
  1. Read a reflected ceiling plan using this concept.
  1. Notice how the reflected ceiling plan relates to the floor plan.
  1. Observe the relationship of light fixtures to the furniture below.
  • In some cases, the items below are not shown, in order to keep the RCP
    from becoming too confusing.
  • When furniture, fixtures or the millwork below are shown,they are shown dotted.
  1. Understand the information. An RCP should contain the following:
  • The construction of the ceiling (gypsum board., acoustical tile, etc)
  • A specification and/or finish (paint, stucco, etc.) of the ceiling material
  • The height of the ceiling above the finished floor (A.F.F.)
  • Dimensions
  • A legend explaining the symbols on the RCP
  • An explanation of any ceiling features such as bulkheads, soffits, raised or vaulted areas, trim or decorative applications
  • Section symbols to further explain the construction of any ceiling features
  1. Look for special ceiling features on the RCP, such as:
  • Speakers from a stereo or other communication device
  • Emergency lighting, exit signs
  • Security cameras or domes
  • Sprinkler heads
  • Smoke or fire alarm devices
  • Return air grilles and supply air diffusers for the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system
  • Exhaust fans
  • Seismic information and/ or details
  • Expansion joint information and/ or details
  1. Refer to the engineers electrical drawings for:
  • Electrical wiring specifications
  • Circuitry layout
  • Connections to the electrical panel
  • Location of switches

You can also check out this comprehensive guide on WikiHow: How to Read a Reflected Ceiling Plan. This resource will equip you with the necessary knowledge to make your ceiling planning process smooth and efficient.