Category Archives: Construction

3D Virtual Design & Construction Models can save lives!

By | Construction | No Comments

Plan out your site with PlusSpec and reduce error, identify hazards, and boost your productivity.

How often does site safety fall to the wayside?

 

2.3 million workers die every year by work related injury at a staggering cost of $3 trillion, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

 

Is part of the problem that site safety is traditionally just another report of endless (meaningless) paper?  We can’t tell you how many times we have received a generic risk assessment by a sub contractor, or how many times we have seen trades simply signing without reading, just so they can hurry up and start. To put it simply, paper, spreadsheets, and data are disconnected – so it is easy to see why this problem is perpetual.

 

Builders/Contractors have a lot of crap that they have to deal with. Adding more paper with big blocks of text is not the solution, Virtual construction with hazard identification is.

It is far easier to plan the setting out of a site and to identity the hazards with a 3D model. There is no need to decipher or interpret things, which we all need to do when we receive a 2D plan. Moreover, if something doesn’t work or fit – it is made perfectly clear in the 3D model.

Easily plan and quantify all of your site requirements in PlusSpec, such as scaffolding.

This is just another reason why PlusSpec for SketchUp is taking the lead in residential construction.

 

With PlusSpec, safety officers and Builders/Contractors can visually see potential hazards, document them for future reference via our tag tool, or simply suggest a safety driven cost saving design alteration during the planning phase. Identifying risks and reducing hazards associated with a site specific design, was not possible, feasible or accessible in residential construction up until now. Understanding site specific risks will help identify low, medium and high-risk areas and potentially eliminate costs due to problematic site access, sloping sites, deep excavation, public safety, etc. Although this is the ideal time to start identifying these site specific factors, if a Builder/Contractor is not able to provide input during the planning phase, they can tag/add an allowance for this in the quote or tendering stage and communicate this back to the project administrator for consideration.

 

How often do Builders/Contractors include these additional costs that are due to risks or hazards in an estimate? The answer is, nowhere near enough. But why you ask? The answer is because it is a difficult thing to do unless you physically go to the site, or you see it in 3D. And when most Builders/Contractors are still quoting for free, site visits are too costly.

 

Just as a mistake made on site is 100 times more costly than a mistake made in a 3D model, so too are accidents. Identifying risks and hazards before a project commences will reduce injury and ultimately save lives.

If you’re not using PlusSpec to design or estimate, or improve safety on your projects, start your free 30 day Trial and transform the way you estimate and build.

Understanding LOD (Level of Detail) for Design and Construction

By | Construction, Design | One Comment

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!

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?

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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”.

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

By | Architecture, Construction, Technology | 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 | Construction, Estimating, News | 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.
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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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