Wearable Technology in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry: Microsoft Hololens

By | Architects, Architecture, Augmented Reality, BIM, Builders, Business, Construction, Design, Estimators, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Technology, Trades | No Comments

Wearable technology is the way of the future, in and out of the workplace. We didn’t realize we needed a smart watch until Apple and Samsung told us we did – and now half of us can’t live without one. Innovative and accurate technology is now at our fingertips (quite literally) more than ever, and that has now expanded into work site technology.

 

We seem to be doing just fine with the technology we’ve got, but wearable technology has been taken to a whole new level with clothing, smart helmets and eye-wear, which have been created to make life easier. Various innovative enterprises are now partnering and delivering worker’s (and definitely compliance officer’s) wildest dreams. These tech-savvy entrepreneurs are improving the way we design and communicate, making our job sites safer, efficient and sustainable. So, what’s the fuss all about?

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Supporting Our Friend: Builders Profits – Workshop

By | Builders, Business, Construction, Estimating, Estimators, Technology, Trades, Tradies, Uncategorized | No Comments

At PlusSpec, we know how important it is to connect industry, and support friends.

Builders Profits Logo_PlusSpec Partner

Our friends Builders Profits are offering a Workshop to help improve your success in 2017.

 

If you have a business in the construction industry (in Australia or North America), and need help growing your business, then this Workshop by Builders Profits will help you get on track fast.

From the words of Builders Profits:
‘Discover the 5 fundamental steps that will make 2017 your best year you ever! This is an online workshop not a sales webinar and there will be a downloadable workbook sent to you 24 hours before the workshop.
In this workshop you will discover…
  • the number one place you should start when it comes to planning (HINT: It’s got nothing to do with business planning.)

  • how to become one of the top 5% of builders by using the 3 D’s that ensure success in all areas of your life.
  • the simple “4 R” process to guarantee your success.
  • the quick & easy 5 step planning method to go from struggling and stuck to having the business of your dreams.
  • how to ensure your motivation holds for the entire year, and it’s not just like setting some New Year’s resolution that rarely lasts past February.
  • and a whole lot more.

From this workshop you will walk away with the tools and templates to ensure you make 2017 your best year ever!’

Click HERE if you are interested.

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:

PlusSpec v16.3.4 Release Notes

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, VDC | No Comments

Minor Update (16.3.4):

This is an update for SketchUp 17 and includes the following improvements:

  • Fixed an issue with the cornice in the Ceiling Tool.
  • Fixed an issue with the MEP Tool.
  • Fixed an issue with the Drop to Wall function.
  • Fixed an issue with the splashscreen buttons.
  • General improvements and optimization.

SketchUp 17 Pro Review

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, SketchUp 2017 Review, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Sketchup tips and tricks, Software, 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 v16.3.3 Release Notes

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, VDC | No Comments

Minor Update (16.3.3):

This update includes the following improvements:

  • Fixed a thickness issue in the Joist & Ceiling Joist Tools.
  • Fixed Takeoff header naming errors.
  • Fixed a custom material thickness error and wall preview error for the Lightweight Multi-Skin Wall.
  • Fixed a Takeoff Export Excel issue with a forward slash (‘/’) in the layer name.

PlusSpec v16.3.1 Release Notes

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, VDC | No Comments

Minor Update (16.3.1):

This update includes the following improvements:

  • Updated splashscreen.
  • A new internal bifold door option (single & double) has been added.
  • Skirting enable/disable issue has been fixed.
  • Slab drawing issue has been fixed. Previously, if you tried to generate a slab from an edge/line made up of multiple segments, the slab would not have been formed correctly. This is no longer a problem.
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