Category Archives: VDC

PlusSpec 17: What’s It All About?

By | Architects, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, SketchUp 2017 Review, VDC | No Comments

We are super excited about our next update: PlusSpec 2017 and so are many of you! We have never had so many people reach out to us and ask, ‘What’s new in the next release, and when will it be ready!?’

 

So, we thought we would share a sneak peak of some of the improvements and NEW features that will be making it inside PlusSpec 2017, which is due for release in the coming weeks (yes, weeks!).

 

The PlusSpec team have worked incredibly hard, and we would like to thank our whole team (especially our developers) for putting in the hard yards and making PlusSpec 2017 another successful journey. However, there are still plenty of milestones and ideas that we are working towards – some which will appear in the next update, and some that will need to be fine-tuned for the one following.

 

PlusSpec 2017 will improve your ability to take full control of your model by having more freedom to customise, edit, add and change elements of your model with greater ease and efficiency. We’ve improved many tools/features, including the beam tools, roofing tools, flooring tools, windows and doors – and we’ve even added some new materials from one of our Australian Building Suppliers (Stramit).

 

roofing_options_gif

New roofing options coming soon with PlusSpec 17

 

 

But what does it all mean?:

✓ Work faster

✓ Better Communication

✓ More efficiency

✓ Better Project Results

✓ Make informed decisions at concept stage

 

 

Okay, sounds great, but what’s NEW?!:

 

✓ NEW Handrail Tool: Have the ability to add handrails to stairs and balconies

✓ IFC Tool; Room Quantities: Feasibility studies for air conditioning, Reporting and Measurements (cubic/square)

✓ Beam Tool: Allowing users to add structural and non-structural beams to their models

✓ Load bearing point identifier: Visual identifier that outlines areas where reinforcement needs to be allowed for

✓ Hip Roof Tools: Dutch gable, Mansard, dual-pitch ability, Dormer options, and optimised use of the edit roof pitch tool, allowing users to add and remove roof edits

✓ Sloping Roofing: Trace any sloping roof from 2D or 3D, with the ability to change overhangs mid-draw

✓ Create a 2D roof plan: Project your roof plan onto your floor plans 

✓ Floor & Ceiling Joist: Add structural steel beams to the model to customise and edit

✓ Joist Tool: Specify more beam or joist types

✓ Windows & Doors: Add architrave lengths to windows and doors as well as improving existing functions for more customisation and estimating abilities

✓ Foundation Tool: Draws multiple items in less time (e.g. footings, walls, top plates)

✓ NEW Materials: Added Stramit products to the Australian Material Library (Floor & Ceiling Joist Tools and Beam Tool)

✓ And much more!

 

We will provide a comprehensive list of ALL features and functionality of PlusSpec 2017 when it is released towards the end of April 2017. We’ll be posting these on our Release Notes and Blog pages.

 

Share your thoughts and share this page with your colleagues and friends!

Introducing FREE weekly webinars

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, Technology, Trades, Tradies, Tutorial, Uncategorized, VDC, Webinar | No Comments

Did you know that we now hold a FREE Webinar EVERY week?!

 

Our Webinars have already become extremely popular, and our limited seats fill up quickly. Each week we have people from over 20 countries attend, from every profession: Architects, Designers, Interiors, Builders, Trades, Engineers, Estimators and Manufacturers. We are super happy about this! Uniting the design and construction Industry, so that we can all be more efficient and profitable, is one of the main reasons we get out of bed. What other software can say that?!

 

These live, interactive webinars have been designed to help you. It doesn’t matter if you are a PluSpec user, or if you just want to know more.  This is the best way to get answers to your questions and see why PlusSpec is the right choice for your business.

 

We hold our Webinars every Thursday @ 9am AEDT / Wednesday @ 2pm PST. However, we understand that this time may not suit you, and this is why we also record each session. As long as you register (even if you can’t attend) you will receive the recording so that you can watch it at a time that suits you. If you don’t register, you won’t receive the recording, so please check out our webinar page at the beginning of each week so you don’t miss out!

 

Our Webinars last 40-60 minutes and each session will discuss a specific topic. However, we have limited seats, so please register early so you don’t miss out.

 

We recommend that you bookmark our Webinar Page so you always know what’s coming.

 

If there is a topic that you would like us to hold a webinar on, you can make requests for upcoming registers when you Save Your Seat for a Webinar.

 

Click HERE to see our Webinar Page and stay up to date with your FREE learning.

There is a reason why Hollywood Designers use SketchUp

By | Architects, Architecture, Augmented Reality, BIM, Builders, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Technology, Uncategorized, VDC | No Comments

Image by Luke Whitelock. Copyright owned by Marvel Studios

And the answer is simple.

 

No other CAD or BIM software (or any other acronym that you want to use) has actually been made as a design tool. Our competitors are merely ‘virtual drafting boards’, and have been created so that their users can create 2D drawings in a slightly more efficient way.

 

SketchUp on the other hand, is the first 3D CAD design software. The Trimble SketchUp team believe that Architects and Designers should be focused on design (above everything else), and that’s why they created SketchUp as ‘a pencil with superpowers’. It enables you to design in 3D, in the same free way that you can design with a pencil and pen (the traditional, and only other way to truly design). But most of us can’t really draw anyway, right? Well, drawing with SketchUp in 3D makes you look like a pro. And no other CAD software comes close.

Luke Whitelock is an Assistant Art Director with over 12 years experience working on large movies for clients as diverse as Marvel, Fox, Universal and Disney. Luke plays a major role in bringing movies to life and realizing the finished movie sets. He has worked on some ‘big name’ movies, such as “Inception”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Doctor Strange” (among many others). Check out his IMDb bio. He is currently finishing work on “Avengers: Infinity War”.

Image by Luke Whitelock. Copyright owned by Marvel Studios

Luke has now used SketchUp in his work for over 10 years. In the last 5 years, he made a transition from 2D board drawing to using only SketchUp and Layout for his work. Aside from dreaming up the sets of block buster movies, he also helped to design the “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” Theme Park at Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida.

 

Luke has been very vocal about how great SketchUp and Layout are, and within the Film Art Departments he has converted many of his peers.

Image by Luke Whitelock. Copyright owned by Marvel Studios

As you can see from some examples of Luke’s work, his designs are not only highly creative and emotive, but also very technical. Because the 3D model is so complete, and illustrative, he is also able to quickly turnaround projects within a couple of weeks and then see them go into production immediately. This is because SketchUp enables him to do three things seamlessly:

  • design
  • communicate his design in a way that everyone immediately understands (3D, colour, perspectives, etc).
  • communicate technically (so that the designs can be built)

Movie Draftsman and Art Directors need vivid imaginations, and ensure that they use the best mediums to help them design, and then communicate their vision.

 

In the words of Luke, ‘Much of what we do in the Art department relies heavily on everyone being able to understand the design, not just from a construction point of view but also from the perspective of all the other departments, whether thats rigging, SFX, Visual Effects, Set Dec or the Director of Photography. A SketchUp model can be viewed by everyone and immediately everyone knows what they can expect to get with regards to a finished set. Quick turnarounds and last minute script changes are not as painful as they once were, as the beauty of SketchUp and Layout means I can change the design and the drawings will automatically update saving hours of labour and stress. I love SketchUp!!’

We share Luke’s statement, and we believe that these same principles that are so important to being able to successfully design movie sets have exactly the same importance for the design of buildings.

 

So why do Architects and Designers use software that have not been made primarily to help us design, and then communicate the form and feel of our designs in ways that everyone understands (especially our clients)? Why are we using ‘Virtual Drafting Boards’ and trying to communicate the old way (in 2D)? 

 

Shouldn’t we be using software that helps us design (first and foremost) – but also communicates the form, feel, and function? Just like in the movies, design is all about emotion. You should be able to communicate directly in your immersive 3D model – more 3D, less 2D!

 

However, we also understand that Architects and Designers also need smarter ways to draw, specify products, and capture information/data in the model. We understand the power of BIM – and being able to model parametrically (having the ability to adjust every element in your drawing through attributes, rather than having to redraw, or manually adjust). We understand that you need to be able to design and specify real building materials and products. We understand that you need to be able to be able to work with consultants and be able to update your work to suit their specifications. We understand that you need to be able to easily manage the cost of your designs so that they meet your clients budget. And we understand that you are supposed to do all of this and more within strict deadlines.

 

This is why we created PlusSpec for SketchUp.

 

At RubySketch, we don’t think the same way as our competitors. We want to change the way that we design and build. We believe that 3D technology should be more than just another way to create 2D plans.

 

We challenge the traditional ways of doing things by creating software that ends the communication breakdown between architects, builders and manufacturers (not to mention clients).

 

PlusSpec for SketchUp gives you total design freedom, as well as the best of Building Information Modeling, Virtual Design and Construction & One-click Feasibility studies. This is the ultimate design tool for Architects and Designers. With PlusSpec for SketchUp, you will create 3D ‘Virtual Design and Construction Models’. These are exact, virtual replicas of what will be built, and contain all of the information about the project within the model (everything that anyone would ever need to know). And because it is true 3D, you are able to communicate the feel, form and function a ‘natural way’ (from within the interactive and immersive 3D model): the same way we see the world with our eyes; the same way that we lose ourselves in movies. If you have highly bespoke/complex elements in your design. use the easy SketchUp tools and 3D sketch it, then ‘BIM-it’ with PlusSpec – and you don’t need to be a guru or BIM Manager to do it!

 

It just so happens that our software is simple to use and user friendly.

Become part of PlusSpec HERE

 

See some more examples of Luke’s work HERE.

SketchUp also recently interviewed another Hollywood Visual Artist, by the name of Chris Rosewarne. Check out this very interesting article HERE.

Upcoming SketchUp Guide includes a PlusSpec spotlight

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Software, Technology, Tutorial, Uncategorized, VDC | 2 Comments

We’ve just heard that the first Italian Guide to SketchUp with a PlusSpec spotlight is Coming Soon.

Here’s what we know:

 

SketchUp. Progettazione architettonica BIM, is the first Italian guide to Trimble SketchUp 2017, ranging from the introduction of the software to the BIM-approach with PlusSpec, and GPU-rendering with Octane Render. It provides users with step-by-step tutorials exploring all aspects of SketchUp, from simple tasks to advanced ones.

 

After exploring the SketchUp interface, the author shows every aspect of the software:

  • Visualization & Navigation
  • Objects creation & editing
  • Model organization
  • Printing & Layout
  • Plugins & Extensions
  • BIM with PlusSpec
  • Rendering with Octane Render

Alessandro Barracco, aerospace engineer, PhD, is Assistant Professor at SUPINFO – École Supérieure d’Informatique, Paris, where he teaches Algorithmic and Programming Languages. He is also a Research Fellow at University of Enna Kore, Italy where he teaches courses in AEC BIM/CAD modeling and visualization, as well as structural design with SketchUp at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. He his an active member of the SketchUp community. He founded, with prof. Arch. Maurizio Oddo, the BOMAstudio, winning several international architecture competitions and realizing many buildings in Italy (House Ditta[1], the New University Library of Kore[2], the new Arena of Selinunte[3]). He is now also an avid PlusSpec user.

[1] http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2009/09/30/boma-studio-house-ditta-erice.html

[2] http://www.ppan.it/stories/oddo/

[3] http://www.domusweb.it/it/notizie/2016/08/27/nuovo_teatro_triscina_di_selinunte.html

 

We have been advised that the book will be in Italian only. Comment below if you would like to see them publish an English translation also (we know we would)!

RubySketch Partners with Simpson Strong-Tie

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, manufacturers, Partnership Announcement, PlusSpec, Press Release, Sketchup, Software, Technology, VDC | No Comments

We are proud to announce that as of today, RubySketch has partnered with Simpson Strong-Tie – the world leader in engineered structural connectors and building solutions. With offices located throughout North America, Europe, and Australia, Simpson Strong-Tie is the most recognized global connector brand in the residential construction industry.

 

In the words of our Director, Andrew Dwight, “We believe that a partnership with such a global, reputable and like-minded company allows us to continue rapidly innovating and developing our software, whilst greatly extending our reach to new customers, particularly in North America.”

 

In fact, Andrew Dwight is currently attending the NAHB International Builders’ Show (January 10-12, 2017 in Orlando, FL), at the Simpson Strong-Tie booth. So if you’re attending the event (or in the area), make sure you drop by and say hello. Booth W4641

 

For you, our customers, nothing has changed. Our family has simply become bigger – and our mission is as strong as ever. RubySketch and Simpson Strong-Tie share the same goal of creating a stronger and more unified approach between design professionals, the construction industry, and building manufacturers. 2017 will be a big year for us, and we can’t wait to show you how PlusSpec will evolve. Our next update is scheduled for February 2017, so stay tuned.

 

We would like to thank all of our customers for your continued support. We are working hard to make your experience exceptional, and with Simpson Strong Tie’s support, we look forward to making it even better.

 

For those of you who are yet to get your copy of PlusSpec, there is no better time to join the gang!

 

You can read the official Press Release and learn more about the partnership and Simpson Strong-Tie HERE.

Young people are snubbing the construction industry – but why?

By | Apprenticeships, Builders, Business, Construction, Estimating, Estimators, PlusSpec, Software, Technology, Trades, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 7 Comments

Does the construction industry have a disconnect with GenY?

Many of us wrongly think that the new generation of young adults entering the workforce are afraid of hard work and physical labour. However, statistics show that they’ll go to the gym, jog, and do more sport than we ever did. So if it’s not laziness, or the fear of getting their hands dirty that is disenchanting our younger generation from entering the construction industry, then what is it?

 

Workplaces have changed significantly, yet the construction industry has not. Most of us in the industry still think that technology is a luxury, or that it has no real benefit. There also remains the ‘apprentice’ culture. Even I was guilty of this. In our industry, I think that we tend to bark at newcomers. It’s probably not even intentional – it’s just the way we learned (as well as an opportunity to let out some stress!). However, things have changed. This kind of workplace does not stimulate or encourage the new generation. It’s simply not the way that any other industry teaches new staff, and I believe that this is one of the main reasons why we are seeing a steady decline in new construction employees.

 

Students and apprentices thrive on technology. It is what they are brought up on. And yet, the construction industry, as well as the Educational Institutions (based in construction) are not embracing construction technology as much as they need to. In fact, most apprentices are still learning in the exact same way as our grandfathers did.

 

Education in other industries has been transformed because they understood that the old methods of communication didn’t work. They understood that they needed to embrace technology. However, the Construction Industry is yet to find a solid solution to newer, more innovative ways to teach a declining wave of our industry’s participants.

 

Could the answer come down to training? The prioritization of technology, training and implementation (instead of merely barking orders and blindly following the ‘old ways’) may just be the solution our industry needs. And guess what? It’s an easy fix.

These guys do not realize how much they know about our industry, it's amazing.

These guys do not realize how much they know about our industry, it’s amazing.

I can only assume the rationale for the UK considering to call on the British Army to plug the skills gap in the skills-starved construction industry is that the construction industry in general needs more tech-savvy recruits, who also possess the fundamental skills and background needed for a successful career in construction? We all know that the army are at the forefront of technology, so it makes perfect sense to me that military leavers are an incredible, yet largely untapped resource that could help advance the construction industry and propel it into the future.

The army helping construction design and implementation

They might be tougher yet we all have to learn the fundamentals.

Technology holds the answers to encouraging our current and future generations of construction professionals.

Designing virtually on a computer and communicating construction methodology in a different environment is the answer. I’m convinced of this. I’ve been working with the “new generation”, “our future”, and it made me change the way I do things. I’ve  introduced technology to new employees for some 10 years now, and I find that this enables young people to actually understand construction, as well as why different construction methodologies cost more money and why some projects are more difficult to build than others.  

 

It took my hands-on experience to learn these things, yet to convey this experience to a new employee takes a lot of time, frustration and hard work. For me, the writing was on the wall, and I knew that I needed a better, more intuitive and appropriate system to teach my new employees. I drew a line in the sand and started a technology arm to our design and construction based company. My skills and resources were now being channeled into technology development and computer programming. These skills had to go into an existing platform that was proven to work for the next generation.

 

Plusspec for SketchUp is the result of my continuing work, and my experience has been rewarding and fruitful for the industry. Thousands of students and apprentices are using PlusSpec, and I am proud that it is helping them to better understand and prepare for their careers.  

 

When students/apprentices understand (and see) why they are doing something, they make less errors and gain confidence very quickly. With less error also comes less frustration, and ultimately less barking from the leader. This creates a friendlier and more productive workplace.

 

My generation (I’m 41) is not traditionally good with technology, yet my children adopt and embrace new technology without batting an eyelid. Working to their strengths instead of to their weaknesses is the obvious and easiest choice. If we ask ourselves why we barked at newcomers to the industry, was it due to their inexperience? Would we bark at someone who understood more in the beginning? Well maybe because we are old school, but nowhere near as much! A better, more informed generation of employees enables more efficiency and will encourage more workers to our desperately understaffed industry.  

 

If the UK decides to utilize their armed forces, they will also need training – and they will expect technological solutions, such as PlusSpec. We need to think outside the square and implement better technology today.

 

If you are interested in learning more about Plusspec you can contact my office on (02)9679 2429 during business hours or visit the PlusSpec Website. I am looking forward to a more productive and youth inclusive design and construction industry.

Andrew Dwight Designer Builder

Andrew Dwight: Designer & Builder.  PlusSpec creator.

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

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, manufacturers, modular, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Tradies, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 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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