Tag - architecture

3D Construction Details for Communication

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!

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!

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

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.