IFC

PlusSpec 2016 – More than just BIM

PlusSpec is the first software solution that has been made for the Design, Construction and Manufacturing Industries, equally. It is not BIG-BIM, and makes no claim to be. PlusSpec is BIM for Residential Design + Construction + Estimating. But, they are even more than that. In fact, they have left other 2D and 3D CAD software in the dirt.

SYDNEY, March 02, 2016 – RubySketch announced today the latest version of the world’s only true Virtual Design & Construction Software solution for Architects, Builders, Estimators and Manufacturers. PlusSpec has evolved the concept of BIM, and is radically changing the way that the Design and Construction Industries communicate and deliver projects.
PlusSpec is a combination of 3D CAD, Building Information Modelling, Virtual Design & Construction, Estimating, Real Product integration, and Integrated Project Delivery. Other 3D BIM software solutions allow their users to use 3D modelling simply as a more efficient way to create 2D plans. However, PlusSpec produces a 3D model that can be used by all Project Stakeholders, at every stage of a project, whether it is in an office, or onsite. It is the ultimate communication tool, and will drastically reduce the amount of required 2D documentation, as well as error and waste – both in the office, and on site. The core ethos behind PlusSpec is communication as a catalyst for improved efficiency. PlusSpec communicates design, structure, and product information like no other software – making it the first true Virtual Design & Construction, BIM software. This technological breakthrough is what the Design and Construction Industries have been dreaming of.
‘PlusSpec 16 is an important milestone in its evolution. Although we continuously release new tools and features, this is the first major update since it’s initial release in April 2015’, said Andrew Dwight, BDM & Founder of RubySketch. ‘Although this release will introduce some amazing new tools, as well as a plethora of improvements to existing tools – we are most excited about the new Roof Truss tool, and the MEP tools. We see this release as merely a small step (although an important one) toward a much bigger picture. And you won’t believe what is coming next’.

What’s New in PlusSpec 2016

Do you prefer to watch videos, than reading? If so, you may like to take a look at our What’s New in PlusSpec 2016 in depth video, instead:

Improved Settings
Inside the Settings Tool you can now set which material package you wish to use (country), select the currency symbol that suits your region, as well as what units (metric or imperial) you want to draw in.

Imperial Measurements
The PlusSpec dialogues have been pimped so that US users can input Imperial measurements (feet and inches) in all of the tool dialogues, instead of just inches. Users can now also select from either degrees or ratios to select the pitch/angle of a roof.

Advanced Structure
Although PlusSpec automatically generates customizable structure, such as: timber stud wall framing, window headers/lintels, floor joists, masonry bars, roof rafters, ridges, footings, etc
– PlusSpec 2016 now allows users to also generate Roof Trusses.

MEP BETA
The brand new MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) tool is intuitive and easy to use. Communication is the driving ethos behind PlusSpec, and the inclusion of MEP, provides Engineers with the first MEP software that is easy-to-use. Design Professionals and Builders will also be able to better understand and account for these provisions, which are typically left out of the BIM process in 3D form – and often lead to unforeseen, and costly errors on site.

New Cutting tools
PlusSpec 2016 has become even closer to reality by allowing users to quickly and easily cut voids in concrete slabs, add penetrations (for pipework), recesses, and drop edge beams. All of these tools are parametric, and allow users to edit or move them, at any time. The Take-off also automatically deducts the voids and penetrations, ensuring that quantification is 100% accurate. The Joist tool also got a makeover, so that users can more easily add stair voids and openings, whilst automatically updating the structure. And to make the cutting tools even more powerful, now you can cut voids through the wall and floor surface cladding tools, which cuts through every layer (the material, the underlay and the glue).

Superpowered VDC
Virtual Design and Construction is the core premise behind PlusSpec, so it is important that your designs are as real worldly as possible. Now, all internal linings are drawn accurately (with nominated thickness). Brand new metal roofing, fascia and gutter options are also now available (Australian users will be happy to hear that they will now have access to all of the roof products and colours from Stramit/Colorbond™).

The Ceiling tool has also been updated so that users can now generate cornices.

Dimension Guides
Intuitive dimension strings now guide the insertion of windows and doors. These dimensions can be toggled so that doors and windows can be inserted or offset by exact distances, and from different points (exterior wall, interior wall, frame, etc).

North Tools
The new North tools allow users to geo-locate their site, and then set Project North, which will adjust the site and North Point accordingly. Sun and Shadow Diagrams will be set at Project North, but accurately capture the sun to real world conditions. Users will now also be able to automatically generate Sun & Shadow Analysis plans, with the addition of a new scene set.

Communication & Collaboration Improvements
PlusSpec 2016 has enhanced the Tag tool, with the addition of a reply field, so that it is easier to track the communication between the Project Stakeholders. Communication between the Project Stakeholders is also recorded within the Take-off, and time and date stamped for easy reference.

Microsoft Excel Integration
PlusSpec is more than just a 3D CAD design and construction BIM software. Part of what makes PlusSpec so revolutionary, is that it is a full quantification and estimation software. Feasibility studies and price estimates have never been this easy, or accurate. Everything that you draw in PlusSpec is quantified (lineal meters, m2, m3). PlusSpec 2016 has taken the power of its estimation a step further, by now allowing you to export your Take-off directly into Excel as an XML file, so that you can take your feasibility and/or estimating to an even greater, more controllable level of detail.

See the full Release Notes here:

PlusSpec 2016 Release Notes

THE PLUSSPEC 2016 update is a FREE update for all existing subscriptions. If you do not own an active licence, purchase PlusSpec 2016 for less than AUD$20, US$14, £10, €13, per week!

About RubySketch
RubySketch is a passionate advocate of a stronger and more unified approach between design professionals, the construction industry, and building product manufacturers – and has established itself as 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 a new 3D revolution, which unites the design, construction and building manufacturing Industries, and has resulted in the foundation of the first true Virtual Integrated Project Delivery Software.

PlusSpec has been designed by architects, builders and engineers, for architects, builders and engineers – and it is the only design and construction software that truly adopts the use of real products from building manufacturers.

Get PlusSpec for SketchUp Today!

10 Tips to Becoming Successful as a Design & Construction Company

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

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!

Revit Imports How to use a Sketchup Model in Revit

This is the easiest way to get a Sketchup model into Revit

Many architects and building designers use Sketchup for mass modelling and concept work and then export the Sketchup model and import it into Revit. Up until the release of Sketchup 14, 15 and 16 there was an issue with triangulating. I won’t go into the reason for this all you really need to know is it looked terrible  and was difficult to work with.

This is how to Export to Revit from Sketchup without any bother.

Select File menu top RHS of Sketchup, hover over Export  in the menu, select 3D model, go to the bottom of the dialogue box and click the drop down next to save File As,  you will see IFC File (*.IFC) and a list of other export formats. Select IFC and then click export.  Remember to save the file in a location you can easily find.  NOTE This option is only available is Sketchup Pro. Sketchup has 2 versions, Sketchup Make and Sketchup Pro. You can download them both for free here http://www.sketchup.com/download/all

Select File export 3D model IFC for Revit import

Select File export 3D model IFC to Revit

Once you export your IFC model you can import in Revit

This is what it looks like in Sketchup Pro 15

 

Sketchup pro has a free 30 day trial so you will be able to export IFC, DWG and many other file formats that come with the pro version.

IFC is by far  the most accurate method although the textures you use will not come out in Revit.

If you want to test or find a Sketchup model that is low in poly count you can get a good quality model from RubySketch here Get a Sketchup model here these models are also free.

Once you open your model in Sketchup  you can simply go to File export 3D model IFC and then import the IFC model into Revit. Depending on the version of Revit you are suing you can also import Sketchup files.

You can also find more information here http://www.revitcity.com/forums

There are also Sketchup Plugins that can automate the IFC classification

You may also be happy to know that Sketchup has Plugins. I am not sure if you are aware of PlusSpec? PlusSpec it is a parametric modeller that automatically attributes individual items, walls, roofs, stairs, windows and structure so that when you bring your model in to Revit it will automatically be classified which essentially means you can extract vital information that will optimise your workflow.