* 2D plans are filled with grey areas, and there are always stuff in the plans that are not fully resolved. Because I give a fixed price, if I don’t resolve them before I start building, they will be coming out of my pocket on site.
* PlusSpec helps me pick up things that are easily missed, like where the water pump will go and where will we bring the water feeds in and how it would interact with where the hot water service is. These are often not marked on any plans that I get, so PlusSpec forces me to think about those things and really consider all of the implications. And because you are looking at the built house in 3D, it’s much easier to visualize things.
* I don’t want customers to pay for something that they simply didn’t understand (and they don’t understand 2D drawings). PlusSpec allows me to show my customers exactly what they are going to get and how things are going to look. I don’t know how many times this has already avoided potential problems long before they would have become a problem on site. Other software (such as Revit) don’t come close to being able to do this.
* I now get my trades to come into my office and I have the PlusSpec model open so we can actually strip everything away so we can look at the structure and work out how things are going to go together and then work everything in with the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing.
* It’s easy to think that you don’t have enough time on a project to use PlusSpec, but I had a big wake up call on a job where I chose not to build a virtual model, which almost became a massive disaster. Since then I made it a rule to always build a virtual model before getting on site.
* On a recent project I broke my rule and decided not to use PlusSpec. But when we were on site we discovered that the Architects and Engineers drawings did not align. Unfortunately we had already started and although it didn’t cost much to cut a column down, I decided to build the whole house virtually before going any further. This uncovered a bunch of other discrepancies between the plans and the engineering. Luckily we were able to resolve most of these issues before going any further, but this has reminded me that it is definitely worth the time that I spend upfront on the PlusSpec model.
* If the Architect and Engineer were using PlusSpec, these problems would never even happen.
* I constantly hear stories from my trades about other jobs where things haven’t been thought of, such as air conditioning, which would require the addition of bulkheads. These things completely change the look of the home. For me, this is unacceptable and reinforces the power of a virtual model.
* If Architects designed with PlusSpec it would save so much time for the Builder/Contractor, but it would also be so much easier for the information to get shared with everyone involved with the project, including tradespeople. I always felt as a carpenter that we were a bit forgotten in the design process because there is often a lot of detail missing from how things are going to go together. Until you build it virtually, you’re not actually answering these questions. This is why I am such an advocate of Architects or Designers using PlusSpec, because it would allow everyone to communicate so much better, avoid conflicts, and allow for better quoting/costing.
* It is just as important to me as it is to the Architect and the client to make sure that I deliver the design intent that the Architect wants. If an Architect and Builder/Contractor shared a PlusSpec model, it would reduce and eliminate (for the most part) any misunderstanding on the design intent. It is a team effort to get a job built and communication is key.
Drew Povey joined RubySketch in 2015 and now heads up the Melbourne Office. He has a Masters of Architecture, a B.A in languages, and a Diploma of Business.