Upcoming SketchUp Guide includes a PlusSpec spotlight

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Software, Technology, Tutorial, Uncategorized, VDC | No 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.

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 | 4 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.

PlusSpec v16.3.0 Release Notes

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, IFC, manufacturers, Paint Tool, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, Uncategorized, VDC | 2 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

Taubmans full range of paint colours inside PlusSpec

By | Architects, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, Paint Tool, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, Tradies, VDC | One Comment

Colour consultation using Sketchup and PlusSpecCommunicate colour and finishes in a way that everyone understands!

Over 5040 Taubmans paint colours to select from!

We are happy to announce to our Australian users, that Taubmans have partnered with RubySketch, and will now have their full range of paint colours available inside of PlusSpec.

Every single colour! Can you believe it?!

Key benefits for PlusSpec & Taubmans Customers:

Architects and Designers

  • Ability to design with real Taubmans Paints.
  • 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 your design.

Builders

  • Ability to automatically generate a Take-off and Estimate with the exact product names and amount of paint required.
  • 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’s built.
  • Don’t like your colour choices now that you see it in context? Change your colours with the click of a mouse!

When can I paint with Taubmans colours?

As soon as our latest version has been released (16.3.0 – PlusSpec 16/17), download the update and start using Taubmans paints!

 

Don’t have PlusSpec yet? What are you waiting for? This is the perfect time to buy!

About Taubmans

One of the oldest paint brands in the market, Taubmans has been painting Australian homes for over 110 years. In 2007 PPG Industries acquired the Taubmans brand. Back in the early 1900s, George Taubman built the company on a foundation of technical superiority. Taubmans’ new owners, PPG, also have a long history of applying global technologies to gain a competitive edge.

 

We love Taubmans paints, and we know that you do to!

 

Taubmans regularly send out flyers with their paint brushout samples – and 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 best way to combine the benefits of seeing what your favourite colours look like on screen, as well as off the screen.

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

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, Paint Tool, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Software, Taubmans, 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!

Our Friends at Builders Profits are hosting a FREE Webinar

By | Builders, Business, Construction, Tradies, Webinar | No Comments

At PlusSpec, we know how important it is to support friends

Builders Profits Logo_PlusSpec Partner

Builders Profits are hosting a FREE webinar for Construction Industry Professionals, and they have asked us to help them spread the word.

 

Dates: Wednesday 24th & Thursday 25th August, 2016

 

There is a morning webinar and an evening webinar to choose from – and it specifically targets the following countries:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • USA

Webinar Topics:

  • How to Attract Better Quality Leads Into Your Business
  • How to Get Paid for Quotes
  • The 3 Most Important Things You Need to Do to Get the Job
  • The 3Cs to Sales Success
  • What Your Time is Worth (And Why It’s Important That It’s Not Just a Number You Pulled Out of Nowhere!)
  • The Steps to Take, In Order to Move Your Business From Where it is Right Now to Where You Want It to Be in the Next 90 Days

There are limited seats left, so make sure that you get in early.

Click HERE to learn more.

PlusSpec Wins the 2016 ABA100 Technology Innovation Award

By | ABA100 Winner, Architects, Architecture, Awards, BIM, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, 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 | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 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 2016+ Release Notes

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates | 4 Comments

PlusSpec 2016+ Banner

PlusSpec 2016+ is here

We promised you that something big was coming – and it’s finally here! PlusSpec 2016+ is packed with new tools and features that we know you’ll love.

 

So what’s new in PlusSpec+ ?

For now you’ll have to read the notes below, but we’ll add some video updates shortly.

New Tools

New Section Tool

This is by far our favorite new feature. Say goodbye to hollow geometry. You can now assign a hatch, colour or texture to each PlusSpec material – and when  you change/move your sections, they will update live! And the best part? It’s super easy to use!

Note: these sections cut fill will only work in new geometry.

Please note that the Section Tool will only work for walls/slabs, etc that have been drawn using PlusSpec 2016+.

New Capping & Flashing Tool

The new capping and flashing tool allows you to quickly and easily add any combination of our flashings, cappings and gutters to your model.

capping and flashing tool in Sketchup PlusSpec

New Ceiling Joist Tool

You can now generate Ceiling Joists from the Roof tool. Draw Ceiling Joists in exactly the same way as Floor Joists.

Ceiling Joists in PlusSpec for SketchUp

New Dincel Wall Tool

Australian users will be happy to hear that you can now model your projects using the Dincel construction system!

Dincel Wall Tool

New Features/Improvements

Truss Tool Update

Skillion & Dutch Gable Truss options have been aded to the Roof Truss Tool.

Skillion trusses in 3d with variable overhangs

Joist tool Update

Until now you have only been able to draw Joists from faces. In this update we have pimped the Joist tool to allow you to also create joists with a 3 click drawing methodology (the same 3 click methodology used for the Truss tool).

 

Lightweight Multi-skin wall

We have added a new wall type: Lightweight Multi-skin wall. This is a very common wall-type in the USA, Europe and Asia – and will make our North American users, in particular, very happy!

Lightweight Frame Wall Example

Updated wall types

The update wall types give you more freedom when creating walls. Masonry products have been joined together so you now have the ability to create more walls like a block and brick wall, block veneer wall and more.

 

Updated Search function within the BIM tool

The updated Search function will make it far quicker and easier to assign your custom BIM components to a layer.

 

Scene Update

With the release of our amazing new Section tool, we have also updated our Scene creator. Orthogonal plans/elevations/sections have now been set to color by default (so you can use section hatching, color, etc). But don’t worry. If you like to draw in the boring old black and white, you can easily modify your scenes, as usual.

 

Round timber post/column option in the Post Tool

Have you ever wanted to build a pole house? Well, it just so happens that PlusSpec now has circular wood/timber poles that you can adjust parametrically to build your home on any level block.

 

Material Search Option

A new Material Search option has been added but is currently only available for AUS bricks. However, it will be rolled out over all products and material libraries in the very near future.

 

Product Geolocation

You can now set your region so that you only get access to products that are available in your area. This geolocation setting is currently only available for AUS bricks. However, it will be rolled out over all products and Material Libraries in the very near future.

 

Full Austral Bricks Product Range

Every single product! Now you have access to every brick that Austral makes and distributes around the world. Austral distributes products internationally. All you need to do is load the latest version of PlusSpec and press Sync. Then go to the materials list and check out all of the cool new products.

 

Takeoff units

You now have the ability to select which units you want to appear in the takeoff when you estimate your model. Simply go to Settings and select the units you want.

 

General Performance Improvements

PlusSpec will have a booth at SketchUp 3D Basecamp

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Sketchup tips and tricks, 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 | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 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.

Supporting our Friend: Builders Profits

By | Business, Construction, Tradies, Waste reduction | No Comments

At PlusSpec, we know how important it is to support friends

Builders Profits Logo_PlusSpec Partner

Our friend Builders Profits has just launched a new Builders Business Academy.

 

If you have a business in the construction industry, and need help growing your business, then this Coaching Academy by Builders Profits will help you get on track fast.

 

Builders Profits are currently offering a 50% discount for signing up to the Academy, so it is definitely worth taking a look.

From the words of Builders Profits:

‘If you are tired of feeing like a slave to your business, working long hard hours, slashing profit margins to compete for jobs and watching your family grow up without you, click the Buy Now Button and take the first step to making the pain of yesterday disappear. 

The Builders Business Academy was created to help as many as possible make the change they want without the hard lessons of trial and error and the lost potential that goes with it… not from text books or theory. 

Life is the best teacher, it doesn’t sugar coat its lessons, but now you have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others, and fast track your success through the use of BBA and its tools, templates and resources that have been created to make it easier for you to make the changes you need to make, so that you can achieve the results you want.

I’m sure you went into business with the aim of securing the financial future for yourself and your family, to provide you with the means to support them in the manner you want, and to enjoy what you do… 

If what you’re currently doing isn’t getting you where you want to be, something needs to change. 

To have change happen you need to take action, if you’re not happy with things as they are, but don’t do anything about it, how can you expect your business to improve? 

The Builders Business Academy won’t stay at this price for long so click here before it’s too late…’

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

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

What’s New – v16.1.0

By | PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates | No Comments

You Asked, We Listened

We believe that PlusSpec for SketchUp is revolutionising BIM and Estimating (particularly within Residential construction). But, we are committed to making it even better.

At PlusSpec, we take the time to listen to what our customers want. We value your feedback, and we would like to thank the PlusSpec community for your ongoing support, ideas, and suggestions.

The best thing about being part of the PlusSpec community is that you can influence the future of PlusSpec. So please, keep sending us your ideas and suggestions.

We love hearing from you. So, please continue to help us, help you.

The team at PlusSpec have been working hard to capture everything that you have asked for, and we are trying to incorporate each suggestion as quickly as possible. However, we also have some remarkable, game-changing plans for the future. We have no doubt that you are going to love each and every update.

What is new in PlusSpec 16.1.0?:

  • Performance upgrades
  • Middle Sliding door has been added to the Door Tool
  • Larger notes field added to the Tag Tool
PlusSpec Sliding Middle Door

Sliding Middle Door

Architects & builders: Communication is key!

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 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

Le BIM pour SketchUp: Supporting our Friends – Adebeo

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Sketchup tips and tricks, Software, Tutorial, VDC | No Comments

Distributor Spotlight

 

Parlez- vous Français?

Venez comprendre les raisons pour lesquelles votre logiciel ne se compare pas et, observez par vous-même comment PlusPec pour SketchUp change la facon dont nous concevons, communiquons et construisons.

 

PlusPec est Simple, Puissant, Professionnel et Abordable – et il devient rapidement le plus puissant BIM et Logiciel d’estimation au monde.

 

Rejoignez la révolution BIM !!

 

Adebeo est le Distributeur officiel Francais et Suisse de PlusPec. Contactez-les directement et obtenez votre licence aujourd’hui !

 

Stramit Colorbond Steel Roofing now available inside of PlusSpec for SketchUp

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | No Comments

We are happy to announce to our Australian users, that Stramit Building Products have partnered with RubySketch, and now have their Stramit and ColorBond roofing range available inside of RubySketch and PlusSpec for SketchUp.

 

John Bull, Stramit’s Marketing Manager, recognizes the value of PlusSpec for the industry. “PlusSpec is the solution the industry has been waiting for. Now anyone can specify our products, while completely reducing error.”

 

Key benefits of PlusSpec for Stramit Customers:

Architects and Designers

  • Ability to design with real Stramit products, with a true representation of colour and texture.
  • Stramit products and the ColorBond® range  can now be designed virtually in 3D, just as it would be constructed on site. This enables 3D details to be easily created to clarify complex conditions, and to better understand products specification, procedures and requirements.
  • Ability to generate unprecedented feasibility studies and/or material quantities, with no extra work.

PlusSpec_Stramit Colorbond Roofing

Builders

  • Ability to create a 3D roof with Stramit products in seconds (including the structure), with simply a few clicks of a mouse.
  • Ability to automatically estimate the size of building products required, including: roofing, guttering, fascia, valley iron, and down pipes, with all the correct ordering codes.
  • Other benefits include: communicating with subcontractors, error reduction and human error when interpreting specifications.

PlusSpec_Stramit Colorbond Roofing

Homeowners

  • PlusSpec enables unprecedented Communication. Clients will know what they will get, before it is built.
  • Stramit customers will be able to see what the Stramit products look like and be able to walk around their home in virtual 3D (unlike 2D plans).

PlusSpec_Stramit Colorbond Roofing

 

Check out the full article by the BDAV (Page 33).

 

About Stramit

Stramit Building Products is a major Australian manufacturer of roll-formed steel building products, including roof and wall cladding, guttering, fascia, purlins, flooring and structural formwork. These products, along with complementary products and services, are delivered through a nationwide network of manufacturing and distribution centres, strategically located to ensure coverage of major metropolitan and regional markets.

 

Congratulations to the three lucky winners who attended the PlusSpec 2016 Webcast

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Congratulations to the three lucky winners who attended the PlusSpec 2016 Webcast and thank you to all those who participated.
Here are your winners!

1 x Free Thea Render for SketchUp Licence           –    Michael Morrisey
1 x Free SketchUp Pro Licence                                       –    Craig Crowther
1 x Free Sketchucation Lifetime Membership        –    John Filinski

Thank you once again to our partners Thea Render, Building Point Australia & Sketchucation for their amazing prizes.

 

Construction Estimating and Quantity Take-off

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

3D model with structural timber Steel, HVAC, and trusses for 3D BIM, VDC & Estimating

 

What is the best estimating software to use in residential and commercial projects?

Estimating a project can be hit and miss, and it takes a long time to ensure you are accurate. There are a lot of programs available on the market these days, and it is tricky to know which one will work for your business.

 

It is hard for a custom builder to actually sit down and do a complete quantity take off by themselves. Honestly, it is very expensive. Larger volume builders offset these costs by building from set plans, which will be used hundreds of times. Moreover,  custom variations are how they make money on each project.

 

The same cannot be said for small building companies. Every hour spend quoting, is an hour of free work. Small builders do not get paid to prepare a quote, so they are forced to spend tedious hours after work, compiling their quotes for free. I remember those days very well, and I will never go back.

 

Many custom builders send plans to a quantity surveyor and pay a premium, with no guarantee on accuracy. Others get their partners to help. I must say sitting down after a day on site to work for free is not something that I would wish on anyone. Cracking a beer, having a game of golf (or any other leisurely activity), and spending time with friends and family is what we should be doing when we get home.

 

Nevertheless, quoting is part of our work, so we need to do it quickly, accurately and efficiently within working hours.

The largest majority of errors when quoting/estimating stem from a 2D plan. Simply tracing over a floor plan may allow you to achieve easy measurements like flooring, plate lengths and approximates on square meters (for internal linings, etc) – but may be fraught with error and oversights. The truth is that most cost estimators and builders can easily miss combining elevations, sections, window layouts, plumbing, electrical and engineering plans. It is difficult to say the least – especially when you have a plan set of 40 or more pages, which is a common occurrence on many small to medium projects these days. We assume that more detail would create more accurate estimates, yet there is a point where over detailing will actually equate to more time and a higher chance of error.

 

Estimation and quantity take-off error, can also be attributed to the fact that builders do not get paid to quote (especially in the residential market). Most builders know from experience the approximate price of a job, by simply looking at the plans. However, this is hubris and should never be relied upon. I guess this is the reason why many builders do not even bother submitting a formal price? Either way, it does not do you or the industry reputation any good.

 

I was browsing through an industry magazine today,  and I read advertisements from 5 different programs, each boasting that they had the best software for estimating and quantifying from plans (4 of them had to be wrong, right?). Some even preached that their software produced 3D.  However, as soon as you dig a little deeper, you realize that you either you need a degree to run the software, or that the software simply does the easy stuff (which you could more easily do with a ruler, calculator and paper).

 

Estimating software needs to produce more than square meter, cubic meter and lineal meter calculations. Estimating software also needs to show you potential issues, so that you can accommodate for them and associate a cost to them. In my 25 years of construction and estimating, I know firsthand that the majority of mistakes were due to inconsistencies in plans, or the unforeseen details that were hiding within the lifeless 2D lines. 2D plans were a necessity once, but not anymore. We now have the technology to be able to watch sport live on our phones, video chat for free with someone on the opposite side of the planet, or perform complex tasks with the click of a button. And yet we still use endless pages to communicate complex structures. This has to stop. It is increasing the costs of construction as well as the risk of error.

 

Some programs come with pricing pre-installed, and it is a big help – particularly for the Design Industry. However, if a builder was to quote off the standard prices, how would he or she know that the prices are geolocated to the project? I am sure we all know that a project in a densely populated area would be less expensive than a project out in the country… If manufacturers are on the East Coast and projects are on the West Coast, common sense tells us that the delivery cost will have a substantial impact on the project cost. Sure the quantities and labour rates may be right, yet the delivery costs will be well short. Furthermore, many of the specified products may not even be available.

 

One way to counteract this, is to add in provisional allowances, to cover the medium price of a product. It gives the client an indication of the amounts that they have to spend on bricks, or finish items. However, we all know it would be so much better to have the finished product in the original estimate. This way, the price is fixed and administration staff can be better used creating a full set of purchase orders according to the quote. So why can’t we simply insist on this?Clients need to see how the products you have estimated will look together. Clients need to see how things go together. It is very unusual for a client to have a full finish schedule before the builder quotes a job. Traditional estimating software does not allow this. However, PlusSpec does.

 

SO, what’s next for PlusSpec? Well, I am pretty confident that we can cover the quantities in very little time, yet real power is achieved when products can be ordered and automatically added to accounting software. Estimating software is one thing, and accounting software is another. A great estimating program is not a great accounting program, and to work well, they need to talk together. The Take-off needs to go directly to the accounting software, and orders need to be able to be placed on site.

 

I am pleased to announce that PlusSpec will soon export orders directly to Xero. You heard it here first!

 

PlusSpec = Design > Engineer> Present> Estimate> Account> Purchase> Deliver> Construct.
‘The future of Estimating Software is here.

Design & Construction efficiency reduces waste and makes industry more profitable

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 5 Comments

Improving  construction efficiency.

After 24 years in the design and construction industry, I sit back and look at how much money is thrown away due to waste.  There are many things that contribute to waste, and I have observed it first hand in large companies, as well as in my own custom design & construct company.  Sadly, I believe that we waste 30% on every project and construction efficiency from the start is where we all could improve.

 

Waste is more than what we throw in the bin.

Where are we wasting money, and where could we improve construction efficiency? Firstly, it is important to look at where waste create is created. Many assume that waste is simply due to design process inefficiencies, or over-orders. In fact, most of us conclude that the rubbish that is thrown in the bin on site is the largest percentage of waste. However, it’s simply not true. In my experience, over/under-ordering & incorrect order-waste, accounts for merely 5% waste for volume builders & 10% waste for custom home builders. Although the percentage is small, this waste is still not acceptable and can easily be halved with the right technology.  

 

Too many plans.

I believe  a large percentage of waste (10% to 15%) is due to communication, documentation and time management inefficiencies.  A set of plans with 40 or more pages is waste,  it wastes design & drafting time,  estimators time, the builders time, and the engineers time. Moreover, it dramatically increases the chance of error. So why do we do it? Unfortunately, our industry does not adapt to change or embrace technology. We (the design, construction  & manufacturing industries) are all guilty of doing it the same way over and over again. The mentality is: if it kind of works, why change it? And without a feasible, hassle-free solution, most would tend to agree. However, I will never be okay with waste – we have the capacity and technology to evolve for the better. Now is the time to look at the possibilities, and change our industry. I believe that 3D Virtual Design and Construction, BIM models, is the answer to construction efficiency.

3D VDC model for construction efficiency and communictaion of structural intent.

 

Waste is included as contingency. Why?

Before I discuss how we can reduce this waste with Virtual Design and Construction & BIM , there’s a large percentage of waste that’s yet to be discussed. A large portion of waste is derived from the way that we perform a Bill of Materials. Smaller builders can spend 40 hours (or more) of unpaid work to undertake a BOQ. Once the take off is compiled and a final figure is reached, it’s presented in the form of a preliminary quote or price. The price is either accepted or rejected, and for the lucky tenderer, the job proceeds to a contract. However, an average project has up to 3 to 5 builders tendering on the job, for free.  That is approximately 200 hours of unpaid work. Now that is some major waste.. Moreover, if the successful tenderer gets a contract signed and proceeds to construction, all of the information that was compiled for the quotation must now be added to a project management application, and also an accounting program. Believe it or not, this is not a click of a button, and in the majority of cases, a builder will spend another 40 to 400 hours to finish this work. Is anyone seeing my point here? This is direct waste, it cannot be recouped, construction efficiency it’s not. It’s also worth noting, the client essentially pays for this wasted time, as it’s add as  contingency into their margin, to cover some of their losses. This is a global problem, and it’s costing our industry trillions of dollars.

 

It is true, the design Industry and  Construction Industry are beginning to embrace Building Information Modelling (BIM). In fact, some governments across the world have now  mandated BIM on public infrastructure. However, large construction project case-studies have shown that BIM has resulted in less than a 5% saving.

 

We need more than just BIM.

I believe, if BIM is to truly change our Industry for the better, it needs to be combined with Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and EstimatingImagine if Builders could quote directly from a comprehensive 3D Virtual Design and Construction model? This would be the ultimate in construction efficiency and a huge advantage to industry as a whole.

 construction efficiency startes with a 3D model with structural timber Steel, HVAC, and trusses for 3D BIM & VDC

The technology is available.

We already have the technology to create a 3D model (in various iterations). However, for some silly reason, we return to antiquated practices by spending endless hours converting it into 2D, just to print it as a huge plan set. This is where the waste percentage rises again & construction efficiency suffers. The tail-end contractors may not have seen the 3D model or understood the project’s complexities. And in many cases, even the engineers will not see it in 3D. In my opinion, Project Stakeholders, as well as the trades should be able to analyse the 3D model at any time (especially on site). I believe that this would lead to far less errors, waste and increase construction efficiency by up to 30%.

 

More than Just a 3D model.

I’ve trouble understanding why 3D models are used as nothing more than a new way to create 2D plans! I can only assume the designer has IP, or liability concerns. If there is a problem, and if the latter is indeed the reason, this leads me to Integrated Project Delivery: ‘IPD’  (stay tuned for our upcoming IPD article). Essentially IPD is where the Designer, Engineer, Client and Builder, all assess the 3D model and collaborate on the best outcome. The main thing to be taken from this is that the liability is now spread over the participants, and not wholly and solely placed on the designer.  It also gives contractors the ability to be up front and charge for all work done instead of adding it as contingency in their margins. Most importantly, 3D  allows project stakeholders to truly understand the design intent, and easily accommodate for specific complexities.

Virtual Design and Construction VDC saves waste and improves construction efficiency

BIM by itself is not enough.

If our Industry is to reduce waste, we need to incorporate construction efficiency via 3D Virtual Design and Construction, BIM & Estimation, in a Design and Construction Delivery Model:

 

  1. Designer preliminary design 3D. (Paid)
  2. Designer uploads model to cloud & sets permissions for access. (Paid)
  3. Client agrees/ comments on design.
  4. Engineer has a preliminary preview and comments. (Paid)
  5. Tendering builders & or Sub Contractors have a preliminary preview and comments. (Paid)
  6. Designer compiles and replies to tagged comments, which have been saved in the draft 3D model. (Paid)
  7. Client agrees on aesthetic changes due to feedback (if any).
  8. Engineer adds in structural detail. (Paid)
  9. Builder & or Sub Contractors A,B,C etc. receive model and perform 1click quantity take off’s, and associate prices. Comments if required. (Paid)
  10. Builder agrees model is complete, or comments. (Paid)
  11. Builder submits tender price.
  12. Authorities are informed of development application and also view model: shadows and neighbouring properties notification. Basic model is shared and approval is given, or objections are sent to designer.
  13. Designer & client choose winning tender.
  14. Builder adds 1 click take off to accounting software.
  15. Builder builds from model, and a small 2D set (if required).

When a Design and Construction Delivery Model, such as the above, is implemented on all size projects, the industry will see huge cost savings and massive reductions in waste (of all kinds).

 

The Results.

As we get more technologically advanced,  time will being freed up and not chewed up in retrofits and last minute plan re-issues.  2D document delivery is ‘old hat’. It’s time to embrace the future by actually utilising the 3D model at every stage of a project.

 

On a closing note, here is the icing on the cake: When a project is delivered in such a way that it has all of the information saved in the 3D model, ongoing facility maintenance and alterations will no longer require redraws (as-builts) or structural adequacy reports. These are the number one contributing factors when it comes waste in the renovate extension sector of our industry.

 

A 3D model has the capacity to be the communicator of past and present design and construction information. It is the vault in which all  information can be stored & found efficiently, at any point in time.

 

I have spent the last 9 years of my life creating a solution for  construction efficiency. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

 

All the best for 2016.

Andrew Dwight, 

🙂

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized | No Comments

From all of us here at PlusSpec (and RubySketch), we would like to wish you a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year. We hope that you enjoy a relaxing holiday break, and we look forward to supporting you in 2016.

 

If you are not yet part of the PlusSpec community, do yourself a favour and buy your Company the ultimate gift this Christmas. Trust us when we say that it deserves it.

 

It’s incredible how many Architects and Building Designers are still using 2D CAD as their primary communication tool..

 

At PlusSpec, we are passionate about changing the industry, and ridding the design profession of the endless hours working with mere lines, and drowning in oceans of paper.

 

Let 2016 be the Year of Change. Spend time doing what you should be doing: designing/constructing – not on modelling/drafting. Work smarter, not harder. This is the gift of PlusSpec for SketchUp!

 

See it for yourself:

 

 

3D Construction Details for Communication

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software | 2 Comments

Traditional 2D construction details are inherently difficult to understand. Why? Because they are not a natural way of viewing the world. Until now, they were simply the only way to represent complex ideas, in a way that could be deciphered.

 

When I first started out in construction I was overwhelmed by 2D plans, let alone 2D details – and it took me years before I acquired the skill set and became confident in my ability to read and draw them.

 

3D construction details are the future – and now that I can easily produce and communicate with them, I hope that I never see another 2D detail again.

 

With the advent of new technology, it is now possible to even create 3D details that animate the construction sequencing and step by step instructions. You will see an examples of such 3D construction details on the RubySketch library. If you download the models, you are able to simply click on the scenes at the top of the page inside of SketchUp. PlusSpec for SketchUp is the perfect balance between design and construction. It allows the user to use the PlusSpec parametric framing and structure, which dramatically reduces the time to draw, and then use the native SketchUp tools to free-form model the custom details. This is Virtual Design and Construction at its best.

 

3d construction detail for BIM VDC in Sketchup Plusspec

This is an example of a construction detail that I drew last week. If you would like to view the model, you can download it, and others, from the RubySketch library, by typing in Pronto in the search:

https://3dlibrary.rubysketch.com/
PlusSpec and Sketchup VDC BIM detail of pronto panel

Creating 3D details like the ones shown in this post can be a time consuming process. However, one model can contain dozens (or more) of individual construction details. And once you have created a 3D detail, they can be used on future jobs, and can be quickly and easily adjusted to suit the requirements of each project – saving countless time and money.

 

However, there are still builders, from all over the world, that are spending tens of thousands of dollars to create real ‘mock-ups’, with real products – simply to explain to their trades how a project is to be constructed. The thought-process behind this is to mitigate future onsite error, by gaining understanding of the potential issues, clashes, and implementation strategies. However, it is my belief that physical mock-ups are no longer necessary, if everyone has access to a 3D model and 3D details. Comprehensive 3D details would save these companies a fortune!

 

3D details are the catalyst for Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modelling, and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the 3D details on RubySketch, that have created with PlusSpec for SketchUp. I would also love to see any examples, if anyone would like to share any work that they have done.

 

Click Here to see a YouTube Video of one of our 3D construction details.

 

The Design and Construction Industries are changing rapidly via the use of 3D technology and new innovation. 2D plans are antiquated; they are slow, and dramatically increase the chance of error. 2016 is a year that should be all about efficiency and communication via BIM and VDC. I urge everyone in the design and construction industry to embrace 3D details (not just 3D modelling) as quickly as possible. Don’t get left behind.

 

This will be my last post for 2015. We hope you have enjoyed our blog, which will only get bigger and better in 2016.

Have a happy Christmas and a safe New Year.

See you in 2016!

10 Tips to Becoming Successful as a Design & Construction Company

By | ArchiCAD, Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Tradies | No Comments

successful design construction for builder architects effective
I have been designing and building for 24 years. Integrated Design & Build firms are a different animal to the traditional Client + Architect + Builder scenario. They are more profitable, but they usually have a larger staff ratio, which can be a bit of a handful and a trap for ‘inexperienced’ players. Essentially the responsibility of a project, from start to finish, resides solely with one company alone – and the blame game does not come into play for clients. This is why reputable design build firms are much sought after.

Not everyone can design, yet most of us can, and the longer you have been in the industry, the better you get at it. There is real job satisfaction to be gained when you build your own designs. I recommend it highly.

It took me some time to get used to the in-house design and in-house build workflow, and there were many things that I needed to do to flourish and become profitable. When I look back and ask myself what the key ingredient to success was, I always come to the same conclusion: Communication.

Here are 10 steps that I took to make my design & build company more successful. After implementing these simple rules and improvements, I reduced waste by over 20% I am not just talking about leftover materials, I am talking about time by becoming efficiency. The end result was clearly displayed in profit margins.

The 10 Steps to success:

  1. Employ youth straight out of School as apprentices. Once they become qualified pay them what they are worth, and reward them when they do the right thing. Young brains can be trained to do things the way you like them, so spend the time needed to train them correctly. Start small, as the biggest killer for new companies is too much work. However, most think it is not enough work.

  2. Concentrate on communication with the client. We all know that out of every 10 people you meet, you are inevitably going to clash with one. That is life. Try and ‘pick and choose’ customers. If it feels bad, gracefully decline the job. Life is too short! It is easy to keep clients onboard when you explain what you are doing, and in a way they understand. Clients do not understand 2D drawings, but they do understand 3D. We were all born seeing the world in 3D, and we only learned 2D because that was the best way to communicate before the advent of modern technology (like 3d CAD software & iphones).

  3. Get with the times! Technology can be a distraction, so take my advice and delete LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter from your phone. These are social apps that the marketing people in your business should use. I am not saying that you shouldn’t use them, just use them at the right time and place, as they can be very distracting. You need to get the technology that works for your business, not the other way around. Checkout www.plusspec.com. PlusSpec was made for what we do – nothing else!

  4. Never employ friends or relatives, and try not to do their work either. Christmas will be so much more enjoyable. Believe me.

  5. Insist on quality. Good enough is not considered good in my book! If you would not have it in your house, do not put it in one of your clients. You will find that your clients will tell their friends when they are happy. I found that for every 1 happy client, they told 5 friends. Recommendation is the best way to get more work. It cuts down on marketing expenses, and more often than not, the client will not bother seeking another quote. People trust their friends, and what they can see firsthand.

  6. Make sure your office is close to home. An hour each way in traffic is 2 hours out of each day that you could be doing something productive (or dare I say relaxing?).

  7. Buy Cheap, buy twice! We have all been guilty of going to the local hardware and buying the $40 drill. If you will use it more than twice, then you should buy quality gear that is reliable. This is the same for every facet of your business, including computers, chairs and desks. If you only need it once, then rent it.

  8. Do not rent equipment. Buy everything that you need, as soon as you can afford it. If you are buying specialised machinery, you should charge it out to your clients at the same rate that you would pay to rent it.

  9. If it looks and sounds too good to be true it is! 95% of the time unbelievable deals are unbelievable. Trust your instinct, not the sales person. Their only job is to get your hard earned cash by selling you their goods. Unfortunately, integrity is becoming a thing of the past for many salespeople, which I find disappointing. Get used to negotiating better buy prices from the people that are trying hard to sell to you.

  10. The biggest advantage I gained was by using 3D modeling and PlusSpec. It sounds difficult yet it is not. I created PlusSpec, and as I developed it, I improved it with the profits I gained from the results. At first, I never told a soul; it was my secret, my advantage, and I kept it to myself. Now PlusSpec is in over 80 countries around the world. Yep word of mouth did the trick.  These days, I really only design and build 1 or 2 homes per year, and the prerequisite for doing the job is that the project must be with 15 minutes from my home.

Take the time to work on your business, and not in it. Do this as soon as you can. Learn better things that will actually help you grow. Technology will boost your sales through communication, decrease your errors via clear plan interpretation, lower your design time, increase accuracy of your quotes for design, and quotes for build.

If you want to know more about PlusSpec, you can check it out here. I am very proud of the achievement, and the improvement it is making to businesses small and large. It is the pinnacle of design and construction technology to date. Yes, it is subscription based, yet the truth is you stay up to date with the latest technology, every minute of the day. And for less than $20 per week you will never look back! I guarantee it.

That is it from me, I look forward to hearing your stories of success.

SketchUp 2016 Review

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Sketchup tips and tricks, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

What’s New in SketchUp 2016

SketchUp 2016 is here, but ‘What does it all mean, Basil?’

It means that there is plenty to get excited about!

SketchUp 2016

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

 

SketchUp

SketchUp

  • The improvements to the Move, Protractor, Offset and Rotate tools are minor, but they have improved their overall user-friendliness. We particularly like the improved rotate tool, which has been combined within the move tool, so that you can now more easily locate and pick an axis. This will save novice users a lot of frustration, and provide a faster workflow for experienced users.
  • We dig the new and improved higher resolution Icons. All icons have now been rendered from vector graphics, meaning that they will look better, size better, and read better on High DPI screens. Although this will not affect most users in the slightest, the team at PlusSpec are looking forward to now being able to create high resolution icons for the PlusSpec tools. Look out for them in PlusSpec 2016!
  • The new Customizable  Utility Trays on Window machines is an addition that may take some getting used to. However, once you have played with it enough, you will probably find the added flexibility to your liking. This allows users to fully customize their workflow, by now being able to organize and group all of the various utility dialog’s, so that they either stand alone, or stack inside customizable and collapsible trays.
  • The ability to now easily inference circle and arc centrepoint’s is going to drastically reduce the amount of swearing in the office. Say goodbye to centrepoint location struggle-ville! Just ensure that you inference an edge prior to searching for the centrepoint.
  • The Textures have been revisited, and now offer a bigger and better list of textures and categories. Check out the latest grass texture, it looks pretty good.
  • The parallel and perpendicular inference display has been improved, which is particularly useful for extending edges on off axis planes.
  • SketchUp 2016 will now recognize intersection points with hidden section planes, with the ability to snap to elements of a SketchUp model in LayOut also.
  • SketchUp 2016 now allows you to Generate Reports, either from the entire model, or from a selected Component. Personally, we find this tool a bit ‘meh’. However, you may get some use from it. We have just finished testing it with PlusSpec and have found that when creating a moderately detailed model, there is an extensive delay. If you want a comprehensive report completed in seconds, we suggest using the PlusSpec Take-off tool.

SketchUp Layout

SketchUp Layout

  • The new Layer improvements are by far our favourite improvement in the 2016 release!
  1. Now when you copy and paste something, it will maintain all of the layers from the original copy. This is a Godsend!
  2. The new PDF export has been optimized, and we can now all breathe a collective sigh of relief! Finally, you will be able to produce smaller PDF exports that still have a very high output resolution. And the difference is mind-blowingly huge. For example, the new enhancements have reduced a 40mb PDF, created with Layout 2015, to a 3mb PDF created with 2016 – with no drop in quality!
  3. Assigning entities to a specific layer has become a lot easier. You can now right click and assign entities to any of your current layers. Previously, you only had the option of assigning it to the current selected layer. This is a big time saver.
  4. You can now group objects on different layers, whilst maintaining your layer management.
  • Layout references are now cloud-friendly. That means your LayOut projects can reference and update files that are stored and synced with services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Trimble Connect Sync, which makes collaboration far more powerful.
  • The ability to differentiate between shared/nonshared layers is very useful. Shared layers are any layer that you assign to be automatically generated on every page. In order to help users understand when they are creating or manipulating entities on a shared layer, it will be highlighted red when you are drawing or selecting elements on a shared layer.
  • The new small dimension leaders is a nifty little improvement, and ensures that text will never interfere with arrows or extension lines.
  • Last but not least, we are very happy to report that Layout appears to run a lot faster! It is still not ‘lightning’ quick (particularly for very information-dense pages), but it is definitely a big leap in the right direction – and will make everyone happy.
  • It is also worth noting that if you do dimension inside of the SketchUp model, the dimensions (lines and numbers) are now displayed nicely (on vector/hybrid). However, due to lack of control, we still suggest that you use Layout to dimension your projects.

 

3D Warehouse

3D Warehouse
The ability to reload or swap out a component with an alternative component from the 3D warehouse is an incredibly powerful feature. If you reload or swap out a component with another component (or an updated version of that component), every instance of that component in your model will be updated, in every file that is open. This is awesome, and once we have integrated it, it will greatly benefit PlusSpec users with the RubySketch FREE online library also (www.rubysketch.com).

 

Trimble

Trimble Connect

  • Trimble Connect has been fully integrated into SketchUp 2016 – and is a tremendous addition! This will allow users to upload, update and remove your SketchUp files from Trimble Connect Project folders. As you’re modeling you can even pull in and update reference SketchUp models, as if they were locally hosted components. With this addition, SketchUp has become more connected than ever before, so that you can more easily communicate, collaborate and interact with models with collaborators and clients, from anywhere in the world.

SketchUp Layout API

Although this does not affect standard users, Layout has now been opened up for API. This is what the team at PlusSpec have been waiting for with baited breath, and we are super excited to roll back our sleeves and get stuck into it. We can’t wait to show you what we can do!

 

PlusSpec for SketchUp logo

Our two-cents

Although this release may appear to focus predominantly on the enhancement of shared collaboration, existing tools, and speed/processing power (Layout in particular), these improvements will definitely make your workflow more efficient. And for that reason alone, it is 100% worth upgrading to SketchUp 2016.

Although the SketchUp tool/function improvements are nice, we see the biggest improvements in Layout – which is exactly what the vast majority of users were wanting anyway. If the intent was to fix the key frustrations that users of Layout were having, then this release is definitely a step in the right direction. Any doubt about SketchUp Layout being a powerful tool for professionals is long gone, and with this release it has become faster, more intelligent, and easier to use.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

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

Learn how PlusSpec will enable you to draw 50 times faster than with SketchUp alone + automatically generate structure, BOQ’s, Estimates & Specifications – all at the click of a button!

 

Click here if you want to know more

 

Please note that the SketchUp 2016 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 2016 Video Here!

The New Ultimate software update: PlusSpec V 1.3.5

By | PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates | 2 Comments

What’s new in Version 1.3.5?:

This update includes the following:

  • Multi-Skin Wall, which allows plasterboard thickness & has the option for cavity insulation
  • Solid Wall, which includes concrete walls
  • Skirting in the Flooring Tool
  • Block & Beam option in the Joist Tool
  • Tag Tool, which gives you the ability to point out areas in your project for easier collaboration & communication
  • More image types able to be used when creating materials
  • Ability to switch between material libraries (AUS, US & UK – with more coming soon)
  • Water Tank, Corner Brick Sill & Round Window components added to the Component Tool
  • Updates to Take Off / Estimation Tool
  • Updates for scenes including the new Presentation scene
  • Updates to tool dialogues
  • Bug fixes

We believe that PlusSpec for SketchUp is revolutionizing BIM/VDC (particularly within Residential construction). But, we are committed to making it even better.

At PlusSpec, we take the time to listen to what our customers want. We value your feedback, and we would like to thank the PlusSpec community for your ongoing support, ideas, and suggestions.

The best thing about being part of the PlusSpec community is that you can influence the future of PlusSpec. So please, keep sending us your ideas and suggestions.

We love hearing from you. So, please continue to help us, help you.

The team at PlusSpec have been working hard to capture everything that you have asked for, and we are trying to incorporate each suggestion as quickly as possible. However, we also have some remarkable, game-changing plans for the future. We have no doubt that you are going to love each and every update.

PlusSpec 16 coming soon:

  • Composite Walls
  • Composite Material Drag & Drop
  • Batten Out feature
  • Paint feature
  • Updated dialogues
  • Updated Splash Screen and more!!!

Check out the images below to see just a few of the new features in PlusSpec V 1.3.5

 

Multi-Skin Wall

Multi-Skin Wall

 

Solid Walls

Solid Walls

 

Skirting

Skirting

 

Block & Beam

Block & Beam

 

Round Window

Round Window

Behind The Eight Ball: Architects and Builders/Contractors need to communicate with more 3D & less 2D

By | Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Behind the Eight Ball

What is going on with the design and construction industry?  It’s time to start talking the same language!

 

Residential design and construction are two ‘peas in a pod’, yet the communication between them is rudimentary at best. Coordinating a project that runs on time and on budget is a rare occurrence. But where does the breakdown occur?

 

Let’s first ascertain the key stakeholders that get a project from concept to completion:

  1. Client/End User (Catalyst)
  2. Architect/Designer (Communicator)
  3. Builder/Contractor (Constructor)
  4. Engineers/Consultants (Technical communicator)
  5. Manufacturers of construction products (Contributor)
  6. Authorities (Approvals and regulatory bodies)

In a perfect world the 6 main stakeholders would have a clear understanding of what is involved in each aspect of a project, and be aware of exactly what needs to be communicated. They should understand the client’s needs and expectations, the design intent, the constructability of the design, the cost associated with the design, the products that are required to enable the successful construction of the design, the regulatory conditions on the land, as well as the costs associated with putting all of the pieces together, within a reasonable time frame.

 

We all know we don’t  live in a perfect world, but improving communication across the 6 main stakeholders is the key to better design, better planning, waste reduction, cost reduction, time reduction, and better built outcomes.

 

Communication breakdown is perhaps the leading cause of all Project failures. We NEED to improve the way that Design Professionals, Consultants and the Construction Industry communicate and coordinate with each other. To put it simply, the most important ingredient of a successful project is communication.

 

The Architect: The architect needs to understand the client’s requirements, and then clearly convey the design intent to the client. Subsequently, they must communicate the design along with the constructability aspects of the project in a clear and concise way, by producing detailed drawings, such as: plans, elevations, sections, and details.

 

The Consultants: Consultants, such as Structural Engineers, need to decipher the architect’s intent and determine what structural elements need to be associated and calculated according to the relevant authorities, standards, and building codes.

 

Manufacturers/Suppliers: Manufacturers need to ensure that the Architect, Client and Builder/Contractor all understand their products, so that they are used in the correct manner.

 

Regulatory Authorities: Regulatory Authorities need to decipher the architect’s intent and understand how the project will fit into the landscape and how the design will impact the environment and neighbouring properties.

 

The Builder/Contractor: Builders/Contractors have to decipher the architect’s and client’s intent, and translate these drawings into the built form, on time and on budget.

 

The flaws of 2D Plans

The problem resides in the fact that a majority of projects are no longer simple. Complexity and architectural expression is a good thing, yet the communication of these designs can quickly become cumbersome. Even small residential projects can blow out to A1 paper format and/or have 15 or more sheets to sift through. It is easy for the builder to miss details or annotations if the plans are not studied thoroughly, or executed in a concise and easily understood manner.

 

Believe me when I tell you that twenty (20) A1 plans are difficult to quote from. If the builder/contractor misses one detail, this oversight has the potential to drastically impact the builder’s profits, or even make the job completely unprofitable. This kind of error, as well as inadequately explained elements of the design, forces the budget to be blown out further, with the builder having to recoup costs by charging the client for over-inflated extras.

 

Many would simply say that the builder should study the plans properly. However, we all make mistakes, no matter how diligent, or how much experience we may have. Moreover, Builders/Contractors do not typically charge for a quote. Imagine spending 40 to 80 hours going through a large 2D documentation set and compiling quantities, liaising with subcontractors and putting a quote together – and at completion, all that they have to show for all of this work is a couple of pages with a dollar figure on the last page.

 

Understandably the first thing the client wants to see is the dollar figure. They have no concept of the time involved to quote, and will happily send the plans out to ten builders. This equates to approximately 400 – 800 hours of unpaid work! Unpaid work is not good practice for anyone in any business, and it is evident that this part of the system is broken and in a big way.

 

Better communication between the stakeholders

2D plans are fast becoming antiquated. They are cumbersome, they get damaged, and they are not easily interpreted. If you give a comprehensive set of plans to multiple highly skilled and experienced Builders/Contractors, you will inevitably get a different built interpretation from each Builder/Contractor. Why? Because 2D plans require deciphering and interpretation. Cross referencing a large set of plans is ludicrous. And don’t get me started on the notion of viewing 2D PDF plans on a screen, as this is actually worse! Have you ever tried to take in every aspect of a building, or search for design errors from an A1 plan on a computer screen? I have, and it simply is not possible to do it correctly or efficiently.

 

Furthermore, not only is it difficult for a Builder/Contractor to accurately decipher 2D plans, but it actually costs Architects ludicrous amounts of time and money to create acceptable 2D plans. The process is a tedious waste of resources and efficiency, and a single page alone usually goes through dozens of iterations and countless hours before the line-weights and readability are adequate.

 

On top of this, the simple truth is that the majority of clients do not understand 2D drawings.

 

3D models need to be utilized to a fuller extent: less 2D and better 3D. In saying this, there is a lot to be done to change accepted standards, and governmental policies. However, there is no time like the present. I recently met with a  local politician to demonstrate the benefits of 3D software, and he enthusiastically espoused the advantages that 3D models would offer the government/regulatory authorities, before I even had a the chance to open my laptop.

 

3D is the key to better communication.


I am not talking about the 3D PDF’s, as they are cumbersome, and simply do not have the resolution, or the ability to interact and change from finished view to structural view (which is  where the majority of mistakes happen). Changing from 2D view to 3D perspective, in colour, with textures, is the pinnacle of communication. Associating information with the textures and the components is paramount. Adding 3D models into a 3D plan allows visual interpretation, clash detection and clear communication. I scratch my head every time I see a set of 2D drawings, even though I have over 24 years within the Construction Industry. Honestly, 2D plans are the bane of my existence.

 

Why do Architects spend so long in the 3D model, but present in 2D? The advantages of a 3D model are immense, as the client has a far greater understanding of 3D CAD drawings over 2D CAD drawings. I could not tell you how many times I have heard the client say ‘If I only knew that was the way it was going to look before we started construction’. As iterated above, 2D drawings require each individual to interpret them in their own way.

 

3D models also allow for better collaboration with Manufacturers. Imagine if Architects were able to design with real products from real manufacturers, and Builders/Contractors could send out purchase orders directly from the 3D model?

 

Even though we already have this 3D technology, it is being grossly underutilized. Because of this, I started asking the following question to my architect and designer friends: ‘Why don’t you deliver plans in 3D format?’ To my dismay, the following answers were espoused time, and time again: ‘It has to be in 2D’, and ‘You can’t deliver a project purely in 3D; it is not doable or possible yet’.

 

Design Professionals and the Construction Industry NEED to understand that it CAN 100% be done, and that it is easy to do. 2D plans are useless in comparison to a 3D model, which has all associated information, details, and 2D orthogonal on-screen plan generation capabilities.

 

If 2D plans were softer, I could think of a far better use for them (if you get my drift)! I recently conducted an experiment on a mildly detailed job, where I refused to provide my trades with 2D plans. I gave them a low-end computer, a BIM/VDC 3D model and a bill of quantities. And it worked better than I could have ever imagined! The feedback from the foreman was that they were very happy without the 2D plans, but the lack of paper meant that they had nothing to scribble on, or do calculations. This summary essentially reduced 2D plans from being a comprehensive document, to a mere source of on-site paper that they could doodle on.

 

How was the execution of the job you ask? The interpretation of the plans was brilliant, the execution of the job was above average, and the profit margin was 10% greater than estimated. Furthermore, the wastage on the job was almost nil (we had 25 bricks left over).

 

How would less 2D and more 3D impact the Industry?

Maximisation of 3D Virtual Design and Construction models would dramatically increase the speed of design and project deliverables, increase profits, and reduce error, for all stakeholders involved within a project. Why? A shared, comprehensive 3D model facilitates better understanding among all of the main stakeholders, and completely eliminates any deciphering/interpretation of a project.

 

Comprehensive 3D communication, in place of antiquated 2D, is the way of the future. Architects are not from Mars, Builders/Contractors are not from Venus, Engineers are not from Saturn, Authorities are not from Jupiter, Manufacturers don’t distribute from Pluto,  and Clients do not come from Uranus. We are all from the same planet, people. We have the capacity to communicate better.. And, the technology already exists!

 

 

If you want to know more about the technology to which I refer, see HERE. If you already have the software, and would like to be trained in how to maximise your 3D output, whilst minimising your 2D output, please see HERE.

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

By | Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Environment, Estimators, 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 | 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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