Category Archives: Design

Understanding LOD (Level of Detail) for Design and Construction

By | Construction, Design | No Comments

LOD (Level of Detail) is the term used to describe how much information a drawing or model contains. Simply put, it is how you choose to show the construction details and materials of a project.

 

When we were designing and drawing with pen and paper only, there was never really an issue with LOD. However, now that technology allows us to model in 3D, the concept of LOD has blurred. There is a reason why Plans, Elevations and Sections are kept as simple as possible (Low-mid LOD). If we need to show a higher LOD, we create 2D construction details. This keeps the design fluid, and saves time.

 

However, now that we can design and draft in 3D, and a large part of what we draw is automated, why not just model everything, right? Imagine if your entire project had every material, product, connector/fastener!? Hell, it would be one giant detail. Surely, this is something that we should all be doing?

 

Wrong. Until our computers become way more powerful, too much detail can hurt you more than it can ever benefit you. First and foremost, it will slow down your computer to a crawl  – even for a small, custom home. But beyond the constraints of technology, it would impact your ability to quickly design and draft, and then make quick changes to your design. This would ultimately consume your time and profits.

High LOD should be saved for 2D/3D details or Actual Construction Assemblies.

But there is a balance. Obviously, if you can see (and are aware of) all of the different products and materials in your project, you can better mitigate design error and oversight. In fact, many of the available 3D BIM/CAD software only add to possible error and oversight. For example, are your walls showing structure only, or are they including surface finishes? We have seen many examples where a plan has been dimensioned from the finish surface, instead of the structure (or vice versa), without even being aware of it.

 

Moreover, these types of software don’t allow you to to see and manipulate the structure and materials, so that you can design and detail better.

Virtual Design and Construction software (VDC)

The good news is that there are emerging technologies that have determined the right balance of LOD. PlusSpec for SketchUp is a design and estimating BIM software that is also Virtual Design and Construction. The difference with VDC compared to BIM is that it provides a higher LOD, whilst still enabling very quick and flexible design changes.

In the above example, the circled elements in the 3D detail are elements that are simplified within PlusSpec. In a 2D/3D detail, you may show each individual brick and block. However, PlusSpec simplifies the required geometry by showing the bricks and blocks with a scaled image of the brick or block product. Why model 10,000 bricks or blocks, when you can show it with a simple surface (and still understand scale, and calculate the quantities)? In the 3D detail, the joist insulation is also shown with a thickness, and has been exactly fitted between each joist. PlusSpec simplifies this by showing the joist insulation with a surface. As the final example from this image, the 3D detail has included each masonry wall tie, and has also included the DPC. Again, PlusSpec simplifies this by showing these elements with a surface. The simplification of LOD in these examples ensures that you will be able to quickly design and make changes, while keeping your model size nice and light. Finally, it will still accurately capture the required quantities for Feasibility studies or a Quote/Estimate. As you can see though, the LOD is still quite high, which means that there is typically only minor work required for the actual 2D or 3D detail, which saves you even more time.

The problem with high LOD, is that you can get addicted to it. Before you know it, you can be yelling ‘MORE, MORE MORE!’ A good example of this is a masonry wall with stucco/render on the exterior, and plaster on the interior (or equivalent). You should not show all three layers (yet you would be surprised how often we are asked how to do this). To keep your model light and efficient, PlusSpec simplifies the wall by showing the structure thickness only. The finish material thicknesses are ignored, and they are represented with a surface material/product or colour.

The trick with LOD is that you want it to be as high as possible, without any negative ramifications (time to model, time to make changes, computer speed, etc). Simplicity is key!

If you use the correct LOD, you will be able to make design changes on the fly – and not get bogged down by unnecessary detail. However, if you use a VDC software, such as PlusSpec, you will be able to design and communicate more efficiently, and with less error. And don’t get us started on 3D details, which you will be able to take directly from your model, or model separately as a vignette. Check out our blog post on 3D details if you’d like to know more.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on LOD!

Inside 3D Residential: Supercharging Design with PlusSpec

By | Design, PlusSpec, User Stories | No Comments

3D Residential is a North American residential design and drafting company based in the greater Charlotte, NC area. In this blog interview with Director, Easton Hunter, we discuss how PlusSpec for SketchUp has changed the way that he is able to design, communicate and control client budgets.

Charlotte Lake House – Rendering of PlusSpec for SketchUp model. All images courtesy of 3D Residential. Read More

Choosing colours & fabric patterns – like a boss!

By | Design, Interior Design | No Comments
If you haven’t engaged a interior designer to assist with your selections and need to make timely decisions for the planning stage or the ordering process, here are a couple of considerations to make before selecting colours and textile design.  

Colour harmonies that are on song

  There is no such thing as a bad colour, only bad colour relationships. Colour psychology plays an important role in the finishing of interior and here are some techniques you may like to consider. They are Analogous, Monochromatic, Achromatic & Complimentary colour sets.   Achromatic colours harmonies have low saturation, therefore utilise white, black & greys.  This scheme is classic, timeless and gives you freedom to change the theme easily by adding accent colours, through coloured throw cushions, floral arrangements, linen, tea towels, etc. You can also add interest by selecting patterns and designs, which I have covered in the second part of this blog.   Monochromatic colours are tints, shades and gradients of one colour. This is usually used if you would like to make the room more of a backdrop to make the views or furniture more prominent and promote the inherent mood (e.g blue for a beach house, pink for a girls room) You can add interest through patterns, designs and unique furniture items. Monochromatic colour set for visual design   Analogous colours are any three colours which are side by side on the colour wheel. One colour is the dominant, and the other two will support the scheme. This scheme is similar to the Monochromatic but offers more colour variation.  The addition of neutrals and adding some low key shades (pastel versions) of the selected colours will aid in achieving balance. Read More

Load paths and weight distribution can make or break a budget

By | Architecture, Construction, Design, PlusSpec | One Comment

Designers can now see load paths at design concept stage to reduce the cost of the engineer.

Hi everyone, I thought I should get a bit technical and talk about load paths and weight distribution and why I decided we needed it in PlusSpec, after all, we are not engineers right?

Diagram outlining a typical load path that an engineer may specify

Why? Isn’t this the job of the engineer?

Is it just me or does anyone else design with point loads in mind?  I build and design and found myself designing unneeded cost into projects and I should have known better. I decided to add in typical point loads in PlusSpec 2017 so you guys can benefit from my experiences., By the way,  I/we have not added notifications everywhere yet we did add them in trusses and wall frames.

What the hell is a point load?

Read More

Sustainable Design and Construction: How to consider the environment with PlusSpec BIM software

By | Construction, Design, manufacturers | No Comments
New Year’s resolutions are often taken seriously for the first few days, but it’s not too long before old habits kick in. If one of your resolutions was to do your part to save the environment (and not just to lose those extra pounds you gained over Christmas) then let us help you make a difference by taking a look at Sustainable Design & Construction!   Our environment (and our responsibility to take action to maintain it) is often not recognised enough. Here at RubySketch, we have been busy acquiring relationships with manufacturers who support, design and supply Eco-friendly products, where these models are free to download in the RubySketch library for your use in PlusSpec! PlusSpec has become a key driver of success for many companies through the use of it’s intuitive technology.  Project stakeholders are able to effectively and efficiently communicate throughout the design & build process – and they can rest easy knowing that they are choosing environmentally safe products throughout the process.   In this post, we’ll focus on some of the Australian brands in PlusSpec that are doing their part to build a better future for the environment.

Taubman’s: Pure Performance

  You wouldn’t think by choosing a brand, you’d also be choosing a more eco-friendly solution when designing! We love Taubman’s Paint. The variety of colors and paint product ranges leave us in awe. Needless to say, they also address the environment and health and safety of the community through their products, too. taubman's_paint_window_in_plusspec sustainable construction design Taubman’s Pure Performance paint addresses many of the concerns of homeowners, such as allergies and chemical contents. It’s 100% water-based, contains Microban antibacterial protection, and is low in VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) – meaning it has a lower odour than high-VOC paints. If you’re not convinced yet, it has also received approval from the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.   Using Taubman’s Paint range inside of PlusSpec is incredibly easy. Edit the wall you’d like to use, then choose ‘paint material‘ under the material that you want to paint.   Colour consultation using Sketchup and PlusSpec Sustainable Design and Construction    

Eco-Friendly 3D Models We’re Proud Of:

Every product in the RubySketch 3D Library is special and has value, due to the time and dedication of each manufacturer to create something truly special for us to use in our construction projects! To name name’s, these are some of the Australian sustainable design construction products that you can currently find in our library and use in your projects:  

Weathertex

Weathertex has been a market leader for supplying external wall timber products since 1939, which are 100% natural and have a better than zero carbon footprint. Check out their models in our Library for you to download for free.  Their product range are also available within PlusSpec.  

EcoBuild Solutions

Ecobuild Solution’s Insulfloor is a durable lightweight insulated floor sheet that has excellent thermal properties and will help reduce your electricity bill. It’s rot proof and unaffected by vermin. Need a flooring option? You can get access to their free 3D models here and also in the PlusSpec software.  

AWS Architectural Window Systems

From paint, to walls, from floors to windows; Even your choice of window suppliers can have an impact on the environment! AWS windows are created from aluminium – a highly abundant, natural occurring mineral unlike fossil fuels. Selecting AWS, you can be confident your windows will last MUCH longer than typical PVC windows, are stronger and light-weight (no broken backs!). When the time comes for an upgrade or replacement, the aluminium can be re-melted, re-purified: RE-CYCLED! AWS in the RubySketch Library.  

Sustainable Design & Construction: Easier with PlusSpec

2017 New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be forgotten! Take action to improve your sustainable design and construction with the support of PlusSpec and our partner manufacturers, who create innovative and sustainable products for the design and construction industry. Create unique designs, estimate, and/or build projects with the added selling-point of “environmentally-friendly products sourced within PlusSpec”.

Tilt panels and prefabricated concrete building components in Design, BIM, Estimating, CAD software

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Estimating, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized, VDC | One Comment

Modular construction comes in many forms. Designing concrete prefabricated panels to suit transportation and load capacity of a crane can be a challenge. There are software packages that do this in a high LOD (level of detail), such as Tekla, which allows the addition of reinforcement and output of working drawings. In many cases this level of detail is not required at design conception and feasibility stages. In these cases software like Plusspec for SketchUp can be a great way to detail and pre-prepare for input into Tekla. The advantages of doing so become evident quickly, especially when it comes efficiency and cost calculation.

 

PlusSpec allows the creation of concrete walls in totality, yet it also has the ability to segment walls to suit manufacturing addition of voids/openings and transportation sizing. One of the many advantages is the output of quantities according to wall segments and connections.

 

The other benefit of PlusSpec is how you can output files. PlusSpec works inside of SketchUp, and for those who know Tekla structure would know that SketchUp files can be imported into Tekla very quickly and efficiently so that the BIM and virtual design and construction life cycle can be completed.

 

For more information visit: www.plusspec.com

The team at RubySketch recently worked closely with Brickwork’s new Pronto Panel system. Check out the construction details on the RubySketch library, which are FREE to download!

PlusSpec and Sketchup VDC BIM detail of pronto panel

We also recently released the Dincel Construction System in the wall tool inside of PlusSpec. So if you love using the Dincel Construction System, there is no better way to design &/or estimate with it!

Dincel Wall Tool

Is there a modular system that you would love to see inside of PlusSpec? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear what you’d like to see!

Check out some photos from a recent visit to a well known manufacturer/vendor:

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