Category Archives: Uncategorized

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:

SketchUp 17 Pro Review

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, IFC, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized | No Comments

SketchUp 2017 Release: What we (the RubySketch team) like best:

At a glance the obvious changes are evident by the little man in the corner (when you open SketchUp). The previous mascot has been replaced with Chris, who’s sporting a nice new blue/grey polo shirt, beige pants, sports watch and slip on shoes. Unlike previous versions though, Chris isn’t Dynamic, so you can’t mess with his colours via the on-click function (but most people didn’t even know that you could do that, so it’s no biggy!).

The  most obvious change to SketchUp is the rectangle tool. You will notice that it now has a small pre-drawn rectangle, which will help you automatically select the axis that you want to draw on. You can even lock the axis by using your arrow keys, which is super useful (for new and pro users alike).

 

One other thing to note is that SketchUp has changed the location in which they save components. This is a big help! Now you can easily load/insert your components into your projects with ease.

 

The speed of SketchUp has improved dramatically (at least 20% to 30%) and this is one of the improvements that we like most. However, our favorite improvement in SketchUp 2017 is the new graphics (line work, transparent materials, shadows, etc) in both SketchUp and Layout. If you want to to see the difference for yourself, open a model in SketchUp 2016 and 2017. If you don’t notice the difference, open > Preferences > Open GL, and then select a higher number in the Multisample anti-aliasing drop down box.

 

All in all, it’s a thumbs up from us over here at RubySketch. Well done to the team at SketchUp, but as always we are looking forward to seeing whats lined up for SketchUp 2018!

 

Andrew Dwight has made an “off the cuff” screen grab video and added it to the RubySketch YouTube Chanel, which I am sure many will get some great Sketchup 2017 tips from.

Let’s take a look at some of the best new features from the SketchUp Release Notes:

SketchUp

SketchUp

  • The graphics have been completely reworked, so everything you draw will look even sexier!
  • Transparent materials quality and speed has been improved.
  • The modeling window is now DPI aware and will look way better on your display.
  • The Offset tool has been improved so that any overlapping geometry is trimmed automatically to create clean boundaries with no overlaps.
  • The inferencing tools have been further pimped so that you can draw easier and faster.
  • A new Component Origin inference has been added so that you can find and snap to a component’s origin.
  • Persistent IDs for entities have been added, which keeps dimensions and labels better attached in Layout when the model changes
  • Smarter Graphics Card Settings have been implemented to ensure that SketchUp runs the best it can on your computer.
  • The UI for the Add Location tool has been reworked. They have ditched the old Google UI and created a new UI by Trimble, which leverages Trimble’s geo-data infrastructure.
  • The printing quality output directly from the SketchUp model has been improved.
  • You can now change the axis colours. This is particularly beneficial for people who are colour-blind.

SketchUp Layout

SketchUp Layout

  • The Graphics in Layout have been improved, so that your drawings will look better than ever before.
  • A Table tool has finally been added. You can now create a multiple row and column table that can be easily customized to suit your requirements. This is perfect for schedules, cut lists (and the list goes on).
  • You can now import .csv, .tsv, and .xlsx spreadsheet files into Layout as tables – and they will be dynamically referenced, so if your link file changes, you can update the reference to display the new data, or re-link to an updated spreadsheet.
  • Dimensions have been improved. You can now drag a dimension line without affecting the dimension’s offsets or connections.
  • A new Offset tool has been added so that you can now have greater 2D drawing ability.
  • It is now easier to do a click-drag sections (to select multiple objects in your Layout file) without accidentally moving anything.
  • DWG exporting has had a major rework.:
  1. You can now export a multiple page document into one dwg file.
  2. Dimensions (and other 2D objects) will be exported as native dwg objects so your dimensions will not be exploded, and circle and arcs will no longer be segmented splines.
  3. Defined linetype scales are now being respected
  4. Clipping masks are now exported (they were previously unable to be exported).
  5. Text will now remain as the correct font, location and stype

PlusSpec by RubySketch

SketchUp keeps getting better, but how much is your time worth?

 

Learn how PlusSpec will enable you to draw 50 times faster inside of SketchUp.

PlusSpec will set up your model for you, 2D drawing in Layout, construction drawing, shadow diagrams and detailed sections have been automated.

PlusSpec is smart, it sets up layers, groups and components for you, just like the pros do: walls, floors & roof are easily modified, hidden & textured.

PlusSpec automatically generate structure, BOQ’s, Estimates & Specifications – all at the click of a button!

The tutorials are built in and PlusSpec is easy to learn, so get your copy while you are here.

What are you waiting for?

Get PlusSpec TODAY!

Please note that the SketchUp 2017 release incorporates a lot of General fixes and improvements, which we have not outlined in our review. For the Full Release Notes, see the SketchUp Website.

 

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Official SketchUp 2017 Video HERE!

PlusSpec v16.3.0 Release Notes

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Estimating, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized, VDC | 4 Comments

So what’s new in PlusSpec 16.3?

This update is packed with new tools and features that we know you’ll love. See the full notes below:

Interior design in 3D is now a reality! 

Introducing the most powerful and easy-to-use  Paint Tool EVER!  You now have a full color atlas, with 5040 named colors at your finger tips. WOW!

  • search color
  • add color
  • see color
  • quantify color

Find out more HERE.

Simply add your color selections to your model, or get your color consultant to do it for you!

 

Don’t forget you can view your PlusSpec models on your Android or Apple tablet or phone!

Ohhhh the joy of communication and technology with PlusSpec……

Paint Tool

Full range of Taubmans Paints for the Australian Material Library:

To coincide with the release of the new  PlusSpec Paint Tool, We have included the full Taubmans range of colours to the Paint Tool – with over 5040 colours to select from. This gives you the ability to apply paints/colours to just about anything inside of PlusSpec!

 

See how this will benefit you HERE.

Splash screen Update

Check out our new welcome screen. It’s the first thing you’ll see when you open PlusSpec.

It tells you when you need to update, and when your Material Library is out of date – so keep your eye on it!

 

We have also added links to all of our tutorials. If you have never used PlusSpec before, get started with our super easy Beginners Tutorials. They only take a minute and they will save you those D’oh! moments.

Learning BIM in Skethcup

Roof Tool improvements:

  • Now includes fascia options.
  • Now includes gutter options.
  • Boxed & raked eave options.
  • Plumb & angled fascia options.
  • Eave/soffit material can now be chosen.
  • Timber/lumber fascia option.
  • Fascia/barge materials for gables can now be chosen and enabled/disabled.
  • Reverse dutch gable option added to the ‘Edit Roof Pitch’ Tool.

 

Eave and Fascia Updates

Plumb Fascia & Boxed Eave

Raked Eave, Angled Fascia

Angled Fascia & Raked Eave

Reverse Dutch Gable

Edit Roof Pitch: Reverse Dutch Gable Option

Sloping/Skillion/Shed Roof Tool improvements:

  • Improved draw method: now each side of the roof will explain if the fascia will be plumb or angled;  if the fascia material will be removed; and if the overhang will be enabled/disabled.
  • Now includes fascia option.
  • Now includes gutter option.
  • Boxed & raked eave options.
  • Plumb & angled fascia options.
  • Eave/soffit material can now be chosen.
  • Timber/lumber fascia option.
  • Raked or flat ceiling option for insulation.

Skillion Shed Roof

Sloping/Skillion/Shed Roof Improvements

Skillion Shed Roof GIF

Wall Tool improvements:

  • When you draw a wall, you will now see a bold, black line. This line indicates which wall alignment has been nominated to draw from.
  • Help text will now appear as you draw walls. This will enable you to better understand which side of your wall is the external material, and which side of your wall is the internal material.
  • Raked ceiling option for internal lining (eg. plasterboard) has been added.
  • External wall reveals around windows and doors now have the wall material applied. Previously these reveals were shown white.

Wall Update: Exterior vs Interior

Wall drawing improvements: External vs Internal + Wall Alignment clarification

Section Hatching Tool improvements:

  • Stucco hatching option added.
  • Existing and Demolition hatching options added.

Section Hatching_existing vs demolition vs proposed

Section Tool Improvements: Existing vs Demolition vs Proposed

General Improvements

Slab Tool:

  • Slabs can now be drawn without a footing.
  • Construction details have been updated to make more sense.
  • Slabs and footings are now one object.

Ceiling Tool:

  • The ceilings now have a thickness.

Floor & Ceiling Joist Tools:

  • The joist direction will now determine the direction of the flooring.

Rafter Tool:

  • The ridge sizing error has been fixed.

Settings Tool:

  • More Takeoff units have been added: Materials & components can be imperial or metric in takeoff  (mm, cm, m, in, ft, yd).
  • The Search Materials feature has been improved to make it quicker and easier to use.
  • The ‘Create Similar’ option in the right-click menus has been added to more tools.
  • PlusSpec right-click menu items are now in capitals to make them easier to find/see.
  • An Arch window has been added to the Component Tool.
  • Updated splash screen and links to tutorials.
  • The ‘None’ option has been removed from some material fields.
  • General Performance improvements and upgrades.

Arch Window

New Arch window

Things you should know

TIPS & TRICKS

Are you regularly using the Sync Tool?

Once you have installed an update,  re-open PlusSpec and click the Sync Tool. You’ll get access to loads of new products that will make specification easier, and will transform the look of your designs.

Remember to click the sync tool every 2-3 weeks. This will ensure that you will always have access to the latest materials. Note: Your old materials will always be there for you. 

Previously drawn Walls

Because we have reconfigured the material libraries, if you want to edit a wall that you have drawn prior to this update, you may need to re-select some of the materials (eg. masonry).

 

Previously drawn Windows/Doors

When editing a model drawn prior to this update, some of your windows and doors glazing may turn opaque if you move a wall. If this happens simply select the windows/doors with the Window/Door Options tool > press submit.

 

Previously drawn Slabs

If you want to edit a slab that you have drawn prior to this update, you will be unable to right click and edit. To edit previously drawn slabs, left click the slab > select the slab tool > make required changes in the Slab Tool Dialogue.

Previous Update Reminder

Geo Located materials:

We want to remind you that in our last update, we added Geo Located Materials:

There is no point in building igloos in the desert as ICE can be hard to come by.Why specifying products that are not available or feasible to deliver?

 

PlusSpec has Geo located materials! This is a game changer. PlusSpec enables USA, UK & AU users to select national products. In Australia it can be done by State and territory.
It’s as easy as 1 2 3
geo located BIM content Australia, USA, United Kingdom

Don’t forget to change your location settings as materials are now geo located

Don’t have PlusSpec yet?

Click on your Profession below and see the benefits:

All or our updates are FREE to all PlusSpec Subscribers.

ARCHITECTS

Architects/Designers

Builder

Builders

Estimator

Estimators

What are you waiting for?

Get PlusSpec TODAY!

Don’t have your building products inside of PlusSpec yet?

Click here to see the benefits:

supplier

Manufacturers

Introducing the most powerful and easy-to-use BIM & Estimating Paint Tool

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments

Paint: The problems faced by Design Professionals

ARCHITECTS

Up until now, most Architects, Designers and Interior Designers have avoided choosing and specifying paint in 3D BIM projects – and prefer to simply use mood boards.

 

This is understandable, as other 3D BIM software are not design tools – and are not about communicating design intent in a 3D format.

 

Physical mood boards and colour samples are valuable tools for Architects and Designers, but they are disconnected from the BIM model and 2D plans, which can lead to error.  More importantly, clients find them very difficult to understand. How can they be expected to see the bigger picture in an abstract form? Clients need to be able to see colour in context – and there is no better way than in 3D!

 

Another big problem arises when trying to communicate paint choices to Builders and Trades. Explaining your color choices with 2D plans or text can easily lead to misinterpretation and error. This costs everyone.

Paint: The problems faced by Builders & Estimators

Builder

Estimator

Paint can have a surprising impact on the price of a project. For a bespoke home, the cost of paint typically ranges between 2.5% to 3%.

 

Due to the traditional communication methods (text format, 2D plans, etc) it is common that errors and oversights are made in cost estimates, as well as onsite. The cost and time associated with painting error can be significant – and it is almost always tied back to communication error.

Cost of interior design

Get it right and the price is insignificant.

Paint graph error

Get it wrong and the price can be significant.

Introducing the most powerful and easy-to-use BIM & Estimating        Paint Tool

PlusSpec for SketchUp is the ultimate design and communication software – and with the addition of our new Paint Tool, our users will be able to design, specify and communicate color choices in BIM, like never before.

 

And every surface that you paint will be automatically quantified and estimated!

How the Paint Tool will benefit You

Architects, Designers and Interior Designers will actually be able to design with color in 3D, and then clearly communicate their choices to their Clients, Estimators and Builders.

 

Estimators will not miss allowing for paint when creating cost estimates.

 

Builders will be able to explain the paint selections to their Painters onsite by viewing the 3D model on a laptop, phone or tablet.

 

Clients (and everyone in the Project Team) will be able to have a virtual walk-through in 3D, room by room – and actually understand the color choices.

Colour consultation using Sketchup and PlusSpec

You NEED to communicate color and finishes in a way that everyone understands!

When will the Paint Tool be released?

You won’t have to wait long! This amazing new tool will be made available in our next big update, which is scheduled for release within the next couple of weeks (if not before)!

 

Watch this space!

PlusSpec Wins the 2016 ABA100 Technology Innovation Award

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments

PlusSpec Wins the 2016 ABA100 Technology Innovation Award

August 2016

ABA100 Technology Innovation Award Winner

SYDNEY, August 12, 2016 – RubySketch announces that its Design, Construction and Estimating software, PlusSpec, has been recognised as the ABA100 Winner in The Australian Business Awards 2016 for Innovation and Technology.

 

“For over a decade, The Australian Business Awards have recognised organisations that provide their clients with solutions to modern challenges by prioritising innovative practices that continually push the boundaries of what’s possible,” Australian Business Awards Program Director, Ms Tara Johnston, said.

 

“Winning this award for Technology Innovation in the Australian Business Awards 2016 is testament to the strength of our vision. I would like to thank all of our team at RubySketch, and our Industry support. We may be a start-up and small in number, but our passion is unequalled”, says RubySketch’s Founder and BDM, Andrew Dwight.

 

PlusSpec for SketchUp is a combination of 3D CAD, Building Information Modelling, Virtual Design & Construction, Estimating, Real Product Integration, and Integrated Project Delivery.

 

PlusSpec is for Architects, Designers, Builders, Engineers, Estimators, Manufacturers, and Homeowners – and it has created the first holistic industry solution that unites all sectors, and finally improves the way we communicate with each other.

 

Visit http://plusspec.com to learn more about PlusSpec and how it would benefit your business.

 

To see the official Australian Business Awards Media Release, click Here.

For more information on the ABA, go to www.australianbusinessawards.com.au

RubySketch Tool

About RubySketch

 

RubySketch is one of the foremost product content providers and content solution consultants in the world. Since September 2010, RubySketch has been trailblazing the industry, by passionately connecting Manufacturers with the Design and Construction Industries, so that real products can be better used within 3D BIM projects. With this drive, it continues to dominate the industry, producing the most intuitive and powerful 3D content, for BIM software.

 

With the release of PlusSpec in 2015, RubySketch has pioneered an innovative disruptive technology solution, which aims to unite the design, construction and building manufacturing Industries, and has resulted in the foundation of the first true Virtual Integrated Project Delivery Software.

 

For more information, visit https://www.rubysketch.com

Brickworks Australbricks now have their full range of bricks available inside of PlusSpec for SketchUp

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments
We are happy to announce to our Australian users, that Brickworks Australbricks have further partnered with RubySketch, and now have their full range of bricks available inside of PlusSpec.   Every single brick! Can you believe it?   Combined with PlusSpec’s new Material Library search function, Australian users can now set their State (Vic, NSW, WA, QLD, SA, TAS) and only have access to bricks that are actually available in their region. This will ensure that you do not accidentally specify a brick that you can’t actually use!   Austral Bricks Full Product Range   Key benefits of PlusSpec for Brickworks Australbricks Customers: Architects and Designers
  • Ability to design with any Australbricks products, with a true representation of colour and texture.
  • Ability to generate unprecedented feasibility studies and/or material quantities, with no extra work.
  • Communicate more effectively with Clients, Builders and trades: Ensure that everyone understands the design.
Builders
  • Ability to automatically generate a Take-off and Estimate, and to select if you want to calculate the bricks by the m2 of bricks, or by the exact number of bricks.
  • Round up bricks to match the pallet sizes. This will prevent accidentally under-ordering, or over-ordering.
  • Other benefits include: communicating with subcontractors, error reduction and human error when interpreting specifications.
Homeowners
  • PlusSpec enables unprecedented Communication. Clients will know what they will get, before it is built.
  • Don’t like the brick now that you see it? Have another brick specified with the click of a mouse!

PlusSpec will have a booth at SketchUp 3D Basecamp

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments

SketchUp 3D Basecamp 2016 is being held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado from June 13th – 15th, and PlusSpec will be there as a sponsor!

 

The 3D Basecamp, by SketchUp, is the place to be to meet and be inspired by some of the best SketchUp users from around the world. This year, the team at SketchUp are also introducing a 3D Bootcamp (being held on the weekend before 3D Basecamp), which is a two-day intensive training workshop. This sounds like it will be a great way of learning how to become a SketchUp ninja.

 

If you are one of the lucky ones to have a ticket (3D Basecamp and 3D Bootcamp are both sold out), we hope that you’ll come find us and have a chat. We will have a booth/table, and we will be demonstrating how PlusSpec is the professional BIM solution that SketchUp users have been waiting for.

 

We will be giving away heaps of prizes, so you won’t want to miss out by being shy.

 

Tickets to 3D Basecamp have been sold out for ages, so make sure that you get in early next year so that you don’t miss out.

 

The official layout has not yet been released, but we won’t be hard to find. In the meantime, please take the time to browse the event page and have a look at the 3D Basecamp Schedule by clicking here.

So what’s on at Basecamp?

 

Monday

Lighting Design using SketchUp | goo.gl/VIo6Pe

Down to the Details: Model Everything in SketchUp | goo.gl/1mGe1M

SketchUp in Big, Data-Driven Projects | goo.gl/NbmmwI

Performance Based Design in Action | goo.gl/UbjtcN

SketchUp Basics Training: Part 1 [3-hour hands-on workshop] |goo.gl/Ch5ARp

Cities and SketchUp: Planning the Future in 3D | goo.gl/bS1LNG

A Complete Residential Project in SketchUp | goo.gl/rqtkRu

Virtual Design & Construction at JE Dunn | goo.gl/9hPSjE

Timber Framing and SketchUp | goo.gl/TBEJcK

SketchUp Basics Training: Part 1 [3-hour hands-on workshop, cont’d] |goo.gl/Ch5ARp

Paved with Good Intentions: When Good Models Go Bad | goo.gl/KWev8t

Information Modeling in SketchUp: An Overview | goo.gl/fpRfkD

SketchUp for CNC | goo.gl/rLeQ2A

SketchUp Basics Training: Part 1 [3-hour hands-on Workshop, cont’d] |goo.gl/Ch5ARp

 

Tuesday

Plans & Elevations 2.0 [3-hour hands-on workshop] | goo.gl/5M2wDV

SketchUp Basics Training: Part 2 [3-hour hands-on horkshop] | goo.gl/1xyiqI

Proposals to Projects: A SketchUp Interior Design Workflow |goo.gl/QrLKbE

Deploying 3D Environments for Education, Virtual Reality, Gaming and More | goo.gl/mdB2Bl

Spreading SketchUp Through an Organization | goo.gl/1c0WMA

Plans & Elevations 2.0 [3-hour hands-on workshop, cont’d] | goo.gl/5M2wDV

SketchUp Basics Training: Part 2 [3-hour hands-on workshop, cont’d] |goo.gl/1xyiqI

Dream Up: Planning, Designing, and Building Amazing Attractions in SketchUp | goo.gl/DsZqaW

Smart Modeling for Complex Construction Documents | goo.gl/cm4Pog

Empirical Sketching for As-Built Modeling | goo.gl/WUBn7d

Building Beautiful Drawings: The SketchUp Arch-Viz Platform [3-hour hands-on workshop] | goo.gl/H4IOwU

Everything You Need to Know about Materials [90-minute hands-on workshop] | goo.gl/HpxA8W

Component Based Modeling Fundamentals [90-minute hands-on workshop] | goo.gl/krASdt

Context is King: Creating Context Models from Concept to Render |goo.gl/qY5QEU

SketchUp in the K-12 Classroom | goo.gl/JHv2bF

 

Wednesday

Extension Open House [3-hours, informal presenations] | goo.gl/wUaO0f

How do I […] in SketchUp [3-hours, informal presentations] | goo.gl/tFs2Gv

Rendering with V-Ray | goo.gl/NP7j3n

Content Quality is King: Making Models that Work Great | goo.gl/qaObh8

Timber Framing in SketchUp [2 hour, hands-on workshop] | goo.gl/TBEJcK

Extension Open House [3-hours, informal presenations] | goo.gl/wUaO0f

How do I […] in SketchUp [3-hours, un-conference] | goo.gl/tFs2Gv

Scripting 101: Learn to Code in SketchUp [90-minute hands-on workshop] |goo.gl/5j5nU5

Rendering with Podium | goo.gl/DD12SM

Quad Modeling for Smooth Geometry | [90-minute, hands-on workshop] |goo.gl/aH5YvT

 

Now that is a great line up, we look forward to seeing you there!

Manufacturer Spotlight: Taubmans

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments

We would like to thank Taubmans for their latest PlusSpec ‘shout-out’, and for their ongoing support.

 

Australian users will be very happy to hear that the full Taubmans colour range is Coming Soon to PlusSpec!

 

Check out their latest Flyer:

Taubmans Coming Soon to PlusSpec Flyer

Taubmans regularly send out flyers with their paint brushout samples – and every user of the Taubmans Colour Centre requesting paint brushout samples will receive this PlusSpec flyer.

 

We recommend that all of our Australian users register to utilise these services from the Taubmans Colour Centre, by clicking on the ‘Register’ link found Here. This is the easiest way to see what your favourite colours look like off the screen, receive other promotional items from Taubmans, and stay up to date with all of their latest news.

This is just the beginning

We’ve been working on a new BIM Paint tool that will change the way you design, estimate and specify paint.

Interior design in combination with design and construction is a huge step forward for our industry.

Find out more here in our latest release.

Deborah Singerman Article: Why Architects and Designers are making the switch from Revit to PlusSpec 3D software

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments

PlusSpec for design and construction

Award winning professionals use PlusSpec!

We would like to thank Deborah Singerman for her article on our latest 3D software, PlusSpec 2016. We liked it so much that we thought we would share it on our blog also:

 

Why Architects and Designers are making the switch from Revit to PlusSpec 

By Deborah Singerman

 

Ian Veroni from Dymaxion Design is a perfect example. When Ian Veroni won a copy of PlusSpec at a design conference, he stopped using Revit, and has never looked back.

 

What do you like about PlusSpec?

I previously used Revit from Autodesk as a design tool, but I immediately found PlusSpec to be very intuitive. It integrates with Trimble SketchUp, but takes it to a new level of BIM: it has the ability to construct everything together, assembling components and generating the build information, structure and BOQ for feasibility, simultaneously. It’s a great tool and has enhanced my ability to produce documents quickly, and better communicate my design intent to my clients and builder.

 

Which features do you mainly use?

You are able to bring in industry standard products from manufacturers, such as kitchen cabinetry, doors and windows. I also use the branded products built into the software. I like it that PlusSpec uses real products and manufacturers. I do not use all of them because I can create my own as well. Because of this, I am engaging more and more with building suppliers. The ‘Building Information Modelling’ aspects are very easy to manipulate (so that I can capture the correct information), and I love that I also can see this information visually.

 

This makes designing so much quicker; mind you, this does not take away from the fact that the design process still takes some time. You still have to do the annotations, dimensions, bill of quantities, though you can generate quantities quickly and with little data input from yourself. I am reliant on the builder giving me cost information to input, which will allow me to tell the client the expected quantity of e.g. brickwork, and they get a good sense of that and can say, ‘ok’. I can apply cost per square metre and see if it comes close to realising the budget, and it means that I can give the client a ballpark figure for their budget purposes – and understand cost implications at any given time, so that I design within their budget.

 

PlusSpec’s new tool for truss design is also brilliant: absolutely amazing. It allows you to create trussed roof framing, which helps resolve conflict and clashes in the roof design.

 

How else has PlusSpec helped you?

The parametric components combined with SketchUp’s 3D environment have made it so much easier to communicate with clients. There is not just the 3D model for them to look at but a 3D model that has built component features within it. For instance, with SketchUp you are creating surface finishes and so forth, independently – but with PlusSpec those components and finishes, the brick types, interior wall finishes and so on, are built in. They are all part of the parametric assembly. You can add your component height and generate the design around that, so it is a lot easier to focus on design work and concentrate on actually designing.

 

My clients are now tending to look at the 3D work more and more, and can anticipate the finished product in 3D format to get their design ideas quickly. This means you can engage a client in the design process from the get-go. PlusSpec delivers highly conceptual solutions so the client can visualise their own building, and you can more easily discuss their requirements. In the past they might ask, ‘what is that little bit over there’ but now they can can see it in context immediately and say ‘oh that’s great, I get it’. Or they can let you know if, for instance, they think a fixture is going to be a bit too close to a bathtub or cabinetry as an example.

 

On a day-to-day basis, how do you incorporate PlusSpec into your work?

I previously worked full time at Woolworths Ltd. as national design manager and started my own business a year ago. I moved up to the Hunter Valley a year ago too. I am mainly doing residential work and one of two small commercial projects such as an outbuilding for a winery and a storage facility for a large property which includes an upgrade to an existing building. I live in The Vintage, a golf course (designed by Greg Norman) development with a hotel and residential component, in the heart of the wine region.

 

I deal with engineers, builders and contractors. I am currently going through a design review and council Development Applications. These plans can vary with their comments. Documents then need to change rapidly and PlusSpec helps tremendously with this documentation. I can also pull a lot of data out of the parametric information and apply that to the specification as well.

 

Builders sit here with me and have been astounded by the information I can give them just with a mouse click. It is very useful for them – especially because PlusSpec automatically generates customisable structure, and allows me to show details of the design in 3D.

 

It is very collaborative software. As a designer using the PlusSpec tool with an owner and builder is absolutely huge. It has really helped me with clients; it has taken about 80 per cent of the work I have to do. You can collaborate, which is difficult to do in an industry that does not change quickly. It’s all there.

 

I am passionate about my work, and that passion has been enhanced by PlusSpec.

 

Deborah Singerman’s original article can be found here.

 

About the author:

Deborah Singerman runs her own writing, editing, proofing and project management consultancy, specialising in the urban built environment, design, creativity and community. @deborahsingerma; dsingcbeat@ozemail.com.au

Architects & builders: Communication is key!

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments
communication-builders-architects-technology-collaberation Design Professionals, Engineers and the Construction Industry need to foster strong relationships. However, I know that this is not often the case.   I have been observing communication breakdown for the last 25 years, and I am still unable to put my finger on the exact reason why this happens time and again. At first, I could only assume that it was due to cultural differences between an ‘office’, and ‘onsite’.   I often hear Design Professionals lament that the Builder has not read the plans correctly – and that Builders are too hasty to criticize. And on the opposite side, I hear Builders conclude that the Design professional has probably never physically built anything, and therefore, that even though they have drawn lines on paper – they do not adequately represent actual construction assemblies.   It is true that Builders are often brash in their verbal communication, and often dismiss the time and detail that has been put into the plans. And this leads to the most common complaint from the Construction Industry: no matter how much experience one may have, 2D plans are difficult to read, and difficult to find information quickly. Big document sets are daunting.   3D CAD and Building Information Modelling (BIM) Software has been seen as the answer to many of the problems faced by the Design and Construction Industries. However, I do not believe that it has solved the communication breakdown at all. The truth is that current BIM software has innumerable complexities and constraints. They are incredibly difficult to learn, cost you a vast sum of money to purchase and up skill staff (which is why the majority of companies do not even provide sufficient training), as well as prolonged periods of unproductiveness. And most importantly, although they allow you to visualise the project in isometric 3D, they are merely a slightly more efficient way to produce 2D drawings.   SketchUp is the first program that has made it easy to visualise and explain detail in an affordable and intuitive fashion. Everyone who uses SketchUp at an intermediate level would agree. Because SketchUp allows you to model in true 3D, it enables the design intent to be easily understood: you look at it on screen, in the same way that you would look at something real. The trouble with SketchUp is that it is often derided for being too simple (missing those much needed parametric, BIM features), and considered as simply a great communication and visualisation software.   Wouldn’t it be great if there was a program that did all of the cumbersome things and automated the process? SketchUp is the ultimate free-form 3D software, yet even SketchUp can be simplified – and that is exactly what PlusSpec for SketchUp has done. I believe that everyone should be able to design complexities without being a computer wiz or spending 9 months learning a software, just to be considered intermediate (which, I understand is the case for programs such as Revit and ArchiCAD).   I believe we could all be collaborating on a model very early in the design phase. I am not just talking about the architect and builder – I am talking about: architect, builder, client, engineer, estimator, interior design, authorities (council), the manufacturers, and even the subs. YES, everyone needs to be included!   I have been in this industry for 25 years and I still shudder when I have been presented with a document set of 50+pages. With technology, we have access to better communication tools, and we have the capacity to use them. And yet we still use 2D. The fact that the Construction Industry is working from 2D documentation onsite is ridiculous. I hear Design Professionals saying that the Construction Industry will not open a 3D model. I hear Engineers saying that 3D software is not viable (unless it is a multi-million dollar job), as it is too difficult and time consuming to model. I hear the Construction Industry say that 3D software is simply too expensive, and that the available software may be good for design, but that it has not been made to suit builders also.   They are all wrong. I held a demonstration last week with one of the country’s largest Design-Build companies, to showcase how PlusSpec for SketchUp is transforming Design and Construction Software. To showcase PlusSpec, the Design Build Company requested that I model one of their projects within their office. However, their concern was that I would make PlusSpec look easy (due to having over 25 years experience), the same way that Kelly Slater makes surfing look easy. I totally agree with them. There is nothing worse than being sold something that has been made to look easier than what it actually is (did someone say Revit, or ArchiCAD?).   To prove its simplicity, I advised them that I would have a 20-year-old intern (who works for me) model their design, instead of me. He has no degree, or certificates – but already had a little amount of SketchUp knowledge. The project that they presented him with was one of the most difficult designs that the company builds. The brief was to view an existing plan set of 6 pages, and then create a model that had all of the design detail, structural detail, pipework, bathroom layouts, site contours & shadows – as well as a 2d documentation set.   I was told that one of their technicians using their current BIM software (which will remain nameless) could do it in 3 days – but minus the structural detail and pipework. Using PlusSpec, my 20-year-old intern did it in half of that – and it included a full structure analysis and pipework integration + a full Material Take-off!   So big deal I hear you say. How does this help communicate and resolve conflict between architect, builder, engineer and the rest of our industry?   This is Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). A VDC model contains and conveys all of the aesthetic and design intent, as well as the structure, details, MEP, white-goods/products – as well as a full BOQ. There is no room for miscommunication of plans, as everything is there at your fingertips and ready to go into construction. The drawing is a master model/plan, so it also means that the time that has been spent creating the model can now be used over and over, and can easily be amended: eg. Changing layouts, materials, products, etc.   PlusSpec for SketchUp is communication at its best. It is the catalyst that will result in reduce waste, higher profitability, better design, and better and built outcomes. PlusSpec is Simple, Powerful, Professional & Affordable. What are you waiting for? GET IT NOW! https://www.plusspec.com/downloads.html
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