Tag - VDC

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.

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!

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:

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!