Deployments found: 4

Hidden user logo
Hidden supplier logo
Peter Wells is a Glendale, Wisconsin-based independent remodeling designer serving Milwaukee and the southeastern part of the state. Working through builders or direct with homeowners, Wells creates award-winning residential design solutions for kitchens, bathrooms, lower levels and additions. He belongs to the local NARI chapter & his new company is in its fourth year of production.

In the remodeling business, every new project brings its own unique design challenge. Solutions often have to be submitted with in very short window of time. For one project, the Milwaukee Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC) sent out an RFP to area contractors for a whole-house remodel on a foreclosed property on the city’s north side.

The deadline was a very tight two-and-a-half weeks from the issuing of the RFP to the submission of proposals. My time frame was made even shorter as it took several days for us to determine the feasibility of the project after meeting with the director of the program at the contractors’ open house.

Using SketchUp Pro provided us a way to meet the short deadlines and easily communicate our design ideas in detail in order to fulfill RFP requirements.
When we decided to give the project a go, the site was measured on a Tuesday. A rough ‘as-built’ model was created and preliminary plans were reviewed with my builder on Friday (three days later). By the following Tuesday, the “proposed” model was completed, and the next day the LayOut documentation shown below was finished—two days before deadline!

We were not allowed to present our design in person at the first stage of the review process, so we wanted to include as much information in our documentation as possible. Using LayOut’s ability to annotate the drawings, we made our case page by page.

The floor plans show all of the descriptive text boxes explaining where we met the RFP requirements, as well as where we proposed changes to enhance the plan or simplify the construction.

The house itself was in good structural shape, but the interior was pretty rough, with the RFP acknowledging that the north end of the 1st floor and the entire 2nd floor would need to be gutted and refurbished. Using the Google 3D Warehouse to best effect, I was able to quickly populate the model with furniture and appliances to provide a human scale and clues as to how the home might be lived in.

The exterior elevations and sections are created from the same model, continuing the annotation that would satisfy the RFP. The section cuts are “enhanced” with shaded geometry created in LayOut as the time frame didn’t allow for what I might normally more carefully model in SketchUp Pro.
Finally, I added several perspective views to help the committee get a complete understanding of our proposal. One page shows an overhead view of the first and second floors with the ceilings removed to see the home from end to end, and then the final page shows an eye-level perspective from the key rooms on the first floor.
With SketchUp’s powerful modeling features, I was able to set all of these plan, elevation, section and perspective views using Scenes. With the model dynamically linked to LayOut, final tweaks and edits done in SketchUp were automatically updated in the LayOut document instead of having to rework entire drawings.

In this instance, the SketchUp Pro and LayOut features enabled me to create a comprehensive presentation under a very tight deadline that impressed both the committee and my builder.
Once our clients see it in 3D, they instantly get the concept. This allows for better feedback and generally leads to a quicker arrival of the final design solution. My favorite compliments come at the end of a project when a client says, “Iit looks just like the model!”
... Learn more
Northpower Stålhallar logo
Hidden supplier logo
Company. Northpower Stålhallar is a construction company based in Stockholm, Sweden that specializes in warehouse construction. They build industrial warehouses using SketchUp from concept design all the way to the construction phase, including LayOut for construction documentation. Northpower Stålhallar was started in 2006 by two brothers from the northern part of Sweden. We were something completely different from the company you see today. Our founders were sitting in a small office by themselves. Since then, the company has grown to almost fifty employees. Fifteen people work in the office, five people weld in our manufacturing department, and the rest are on our work sites building the projects.
Challenges. In the beginning, the two brothers were looking at other construction companies working in 2D and thought, “We don’t want to use 2D, we want to use 3D because you can visualize designs so much better”. They started to look around to understand what types of tools were on the market. A company delivered a staircase to them for a project and one of the founders noticed it was drawn in SketchUp. He thought, “If they can do it, I can do it.” So he downloaded SketchUp and tried it. He found it to be fantastic. The cost is much lower than some of the other programs, so that was great too!
Solution. In a typical project, our customer will have some idea of what they want to build. We sit with customers and discuss their needs. Our team will draw an initial idea live in SketchUp. We get a sense of the size of the space and we say, "Do you want a wall here or here? Do you need a window here or here?" That's the best thing you can do with SketchUp - we decide everything directly and very quickly. If the client has a good sense of what they want, you can draw and deliver this initial idea in a couple of hours. It's super. It's always interesting when you start working with a customer and they see the 3D models. In the beginning, they see how much you can model and how quickly. They are accustomed to doing sketches on paper and they have to erase, draw it again, and do it that way. And when they see how much we do in SketchUp they say, "Ah! I have to learn this too". Once we finish the initial design, we have to do the drawings. We use LayOut to present drawings to our customers. It's easy to update our documentation with LayOut as we make adjustments to the model. Our clients normally need to submit architectural drawings to the government for planning approval. These help the government understand our design. From these, we get permission to build. When a client gets that permission, we begin the construction drawings. Our engineers take another week or so to work on the construction documents. In the meantime, we order and begin sourcing materials from our suppliers.
Result. We always push our manufacturers to deliver everything to us in 3D. If you can't draw it in 3D, we won't buy from you. We've done this for a couple of years and almost everyone has followed. So today, when we order something, we send them our model and show them what we need. They look at it and can say, "We can deliver these parts for this price". Once we agree, they send us the 3D model for specific parts, normally as IFC files. Then we’ll import the IFC file into our SketchUp model to see if there are any clashes. It’s much easier to look around a 3D model than 2D drawings with measurements, for example. All of this is checked in SketchUp directly. We implemented standard measurements that we apply to models as much as we can. It’s much easier for us to use SketchUp this way, like a grid system. We push customers to use these standards so that we can design it and build it more easily. We copy solutions from project to project. When you’re designing in 3D, it’s so easy to pull these things in. We started a library in SketchUp to help with this where we collect the solutions that we’ve come up with before. Now, you can just drag it directly from the library to the model.
"Before I started at Northpower Stålhallar, all I heard was people using SketchUp to design an idea of what something would look like; the outer shell let’s say. However, I learned that you can use it to design exactly what and how you will build.As engineers, if something is 3 millimetres wrong, it won’t fit. So for us, we draw everything down to the millimetre precision. We order components from our suppliers to the millimetre. For us, SketchUp does this perfectly."
... Learn more
Meet Glancy Nicholls Architects Founded by Lyndon Glancy RIBA and Patrick Nicholls RIBA in June 2004, Glancy Nicholls Architects (GNA) Ltd. is a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Chartered Practice. GNA is continuously involved in high profile public and private sector developments, working with many repeat clients, including blue chip organisations, across many sectors.
GNA is active in education, student accommodation, residential, healthcare, leisure, industrial, offices, and numerous master planning projects. For more than ten years, GNA has had a close working relationship with Excitech, expanding the practice's ability to respond to new opportunities presented by new technologies as they become available or as they refresh.
Excitech consultants, for example, worked alongside the GNA team to migrate over to Revit as the platform of choice, helping the practice to establish a BIM platform in pursuance of BIM Level 2 accreditation.
"They come in regularly just to update us on developments in architectural software, design tools and related areas that they feel it's to our benefit to at least take a look at," says Neil Carter, BIM Lead at GNA. "More often than not, we follow Excitech's recommendations not just because we know they are familiar with the environment we operate in, but also because they take time to explore our business and match their suggested solutions to our identified needs."
One instance of this proactive approach has been in GNA's expanding use of SketchUp as a conceptual modelling tool for early stage design. GNA had already started using SketchUp prior to working with Excitech, but both companies have explored its deeper capabilities with the goal of increasing the sophistication of how GNA presents concepts to its clients.

The challenge – How to portray conceptual ideas in a way that clients understand
"SketchUp has helped us address a fundamental requirement in how we communicate ideas to our clients," explains Paul Hutt, Director at GNA. "This notion of communication – getting the concept across to the client in a way that's so detailed and 'lifelike' that they can share the vision you have about how the project can end up – is something all architects have to contend with."
Hutt looks back at how concepts were traditionally presented not so long ago and suggests that the approaches once used now look archaic. Handmade models, 2D drawings, artist's impressions, materials samples, and reference photographs of other projects using similar materials, were put together at considerable expense to demonstrate how the final project would look.

Picture this, if you can…
Changes at the initial design stage would lead to the whole conceptual visualisation process starting over; or at least parts of it.
"It was a lot of effort", says Hutt. "It involved numerous skills and disciplines, and even then, would not necessarily convey the vision with complete and reliable accuracy or much of a realistic feel. Clients had to exercise a degree of imagination to view the potential outcome and architects had to tell the story to make it come alive. It was more 'talk-through' than 'walk-through'."

The solution – Easier, faster, higher quality, 'walk-through' models achieved with SketchUp
Taking clients on a journey: SketchUp and Virtual Reality
The GNA team have become committed users of SketchUp for design concepts. In the intervening period since they first adopted the software they have observed that clients expect models to be presented in the far more customer-friendly fashion that SketchUp makes possible.
It's easy to learn and easy to use. It's also a flexible platform; offering an 'Extension Warehouse' that contains over 400 plug-ins that can layer additional tools and features on top of SketchUp.
One of the additional tools that has proved of great value in driving greater client understanding of the model at the conceptual stage is Enscape; allowing real-time 3D walk-throughs with live integration. Different design options can be called up in a meeting, on the spot.
"We can offer an immersive experience in one of our conference rooms. On a very large screen we can guide clients on a tour round the project, simply by using an X-box controller. We conduct the fly-through and they watch everything either on the screen or through HTC VR headsets. This truly is the 'wow' factor in action," says Hutt.
He points to the advantages SketchUp brings, in showing not just single buildings and similar structures, but also large scale master planning of development proposals. GNA can now send models produced in SketchUp to 3D printers to create 3D models, a process that used to involve external skills and outsourcing of processes. "You just send it to the printer overnight and when you come in the next day the model is ready and waiting," says Hutt.

New ways of seeing and believing
Carter says that the ability to change features of the design (shadowing, materiality, size, shape, literally any aspect of the design or how it is presented to make it come alive) in real time, dynamically, in response to client requests and suggestions, does more than simply expedite the project:
"It adds a dimension to our relationship with clients too. Technology of this nature fulfils a multiplicity of functional needs for sure, but it also delivers a huge emotional benefit for all parties. Clients feel far more involved. They see that we can take their ideas on board and adapt the design to more closely meet their requirements. They feel part of the process. We all become more of a team."

The shape of the future

"When we started using SketchUp, about ten years ago, it was a new idea; it was out in front as an innovative way to present early stage design. Now clients expect it," says Hutt.
"Equally influential in our adoption of SketchUp, however, has been the fact that new starters at GNA expect it too. Graduates learn about SketchUp at university so they arrive knowing how to use it. Even if they didn't, it's easy to learn in a short space of time. I'd suggest that SketchUp hasn't just changed the culture of GNA, it has changed the culture of the architectural profession."

Keeping out in front
When asked about the role that Excitech play in GNA's evolving use of technology solutions, Carter says:
"With Excitech we're moving forward all the time, keeping one step ahead of changes in the industry. This is the value that Excitech add to our business; constant awareness of what's going on in the technology sphere, what changes we need to know about and what tools will keep us out in front competitively.
They are always interested in what we're doing. They look closely at our workflows, and where improvements can be made they advise us, drawing on their deep insight across the industry. As a company, we are always keen to explore and use new technology and Excitech get that. It's what makes the relationship so fruitful and mutually beneficial.
With regards to SketchUp, from our perspective it enables us to make the client a part of the process. This is regardless of skills or experience levels on the client team; nobody has to be a design expert to see the final result. Any team member has a say. This inclusiveness enriches the design process and brings us closer to our clients."
... Learn more
McCarthy Building Company logo
Hidden supplier logo
Challenge Buildings and jobsites are becoming more and more congested and difficult to envision from just a set of 2D drawings. Designers and Engineers are creating structures in a 3D environment for placement in a 3D world. Building systems are rapidly evolving to implement new technologies that have not yet been implemented into construction before; resulting in challenging interfaces. It is no longer acceptable to go into a meeting with an owner with a hand-drawn site logistics plan. As a result of these challenges, McCarthy has instituted the use of Google SketchUp as a virtual construction tool to adapt and overcome to the challenges of the ever-evolving construction environment of the 21st century.
While working in conjunction with BSA LifeStructures this model, presented through LayOut, was used to communicate the site logistics during construction.

McCarthy is committed to continuous innovative improvements to our building process. Utilizing SketchUp, our teams have been able to convey critical information in all phases from pre-construction to close-out, enhancing our Virtual Design and Construction services.
Site logistics - We have found that by creating a site logistics plan utilizing SketchUp, we can now show owners where we will be, and how it will impact their employees and clients.
RFIs and Virtual Mock-Ups - Our field staff is now finding solutions virtually, using SketchUp for RFI’s, mock-ups, self-perform concrete, and other details.
Virtual Construction Visualization - SketchUp has also been used to create concrete lift drawings to help the trades visualize the task from start to finish – potentially catching any accidental omissions before starting actual construction.

By modeling our RFI’s, site logistics plans, building mock-ups, self-perform concrete, and many other details, we have found increased efficiency, better quality, and reduced costs. The aforementioned products have allowed us to improve our relationships with Owners, Architects and Subcontractors creating a collaborative environment that is beneficial to all parties.
As a leader in BIM technology, our vision is clear and we have been able to reduce cost by utilizing SketchUp to pass those savings onto our owners. One of the reasons Google SketchUp is such a powerful tool at McCarthy is the small learning curve and low cost. Most of the BIM systems out there have a larger learning curve and higher price. SketchUp’s ease of use and the availability of extensive online training, has allowed our teams to remain on-site and implement their new tools faster. SketchUp has allowed our quality department to standardize and visualize our best practices for our Building Enclosure Program, allowing these models to be used as a baseline for future projects. McCarthy holds an annual SketchUp contest throughout the company to enhance SketchUp’s use. Google SketchUp is now being utilized in almost every department from owner presentations to RFI’s. SketchUp has allowed us to continue to have the hands-on approach we need to be the best builder in America.
... Learn more

The ROI4CIO Deployment Catalog is a database of software, hardware, and IT service implementations. Find implementations by vendor, supplier, user, business tasks, problems, status, filter by the presence of ROI and reference.