Originally the product of a startup company, SketchUp was acquired by Google in 2006 and subsequently changed hands once again in 2012 when it was acquired by Trimble, where it joins other AEC-specific products including Tekla and Vico that are also now part of Trimble. This review explores the key new features in SketchUp Pro 2014, the paid professional version of SketchUp, and, in particular, the increasing AEC-specific and BIM-related capabilities that are being added to it under the Trimble umbrella.
Sketchup certainly has appeal from a usability perspective and because of its low price. However, anyone considering its use through the lifecycle of a construction project would do well to remember that there is more to buildings than architectural modeling, or even structural modeling. There would have to be a useful way to either model MEP systems within Sketchup or a very robust way to export to Revit MEP.
I’m not a fan of the slow pace of development of Revit MEP or the linked-model structure of Revit, but collaboration is the name of the game in building design and construction, and Sketchup is really an orphan right now. IFC remains a kludge for interoperability with Revit.
In AEC, we all need to work together, so we should choose platforms that encourage collaboration, rather than platforms that only give it a nod. If that’s the Revit one platform to rule them all approach or each of us choosing the best in class, they have to work together in a meaningful way.
I agree with Jim. I’m working in a firm in Vietnam, which has concept team and project management team too. Were using SketchUp and CAD before, and now the new boss wants Revit. New Revit experts come and help us to step into the BIM world. But the collaboration nightmare began — construction of 24 storey building, different consultants, both local and overseas, different softwares and versions, and no national standard. We’ve failed a few times and are now trying it on some other projects with early DD phase only.
SketchUp works well for us from concept to construction. We actually don’t use the new BIM functionality of SketchUp. Our current way to create and manage models is something like Revit to help MEP, Structure, and Landscape understand other disciplines. Some of them set up their own models in Revit. Quick and flexible SketchUp modeling saves us a lot of time when there is need to discuss design changes, new design options, site issues, new tender joins, etc.
Revit is a power software but SketchUp has its own place. It’s not only for architecture visualization.
I concurred with both Jim and Minh on their comments, but as Jim has said for a serious use of lifecycle of construction project, Sketchup has a lot to do to ‘Catchup’ and not only ‘Sketchup’ 🙂
If you are just a hobbyist don’t bother trying to get started with SketchUp. I just wanted to sketch a new floor plan for my daughter’s next home and library remodeling for my own home. I’ve used Chief Architect in the past for this sort of thing and found it simple to use and intuitive. Sketchup is the most frustrating program I have ever tried to use. After two evenings I have not a single useful line on paper. I cannot figure out how to get Layout to change scales – I have even tried deleting all except the 1:48 scale on the list without managing to get it to measure consistently – it flips between 1:1 in inches and mm seemingly at whim. Look up Scale in the Help function and it tells you how to scale up or down your “entity” (no definition for that gem) but no mention of how to get the scale you want in the first place. I give up.