A Case for SketchUp
January 30, 2019

A Case for SketchUp

Anthony Pope, RA, NCARB | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SketchUp

SketchUp is the primary design tool used in my practice. I have over 30 years of experience with BIM software including Microstation, Vectorworks, Architrion, Archicad and the original Revit product. I have found SketchUp to simply be the fastest means to a product end. My practice develops shipping container homes and I use the software to design every aspect of the building, furniture, equipment, even the brochures used to describe our work. The price of the software and the ease of training has allowed us to get our clients engaged and using it. Our consultants use the free viewer version to see our design intents.
  • Conceptual studies, master planning, massing studies are fast, ideas can be rapidly evaluated.
  • Does not require significant ram or graphics card enhancements.
  • License cost is dramatically lower meaning more staff using the software at the same time.
  • Ability to import Revit files and libraries.
  • Ability to export true curved vector linework. There are some workarounds, needs to be refined.
  • Create an OPEN MAPS connection. Since the split from Google, the source for high-quality aerials is limited.
  • Ability to dock all menus to the master window on a Mac
  • Ability to develop dockable menu trays on a Mac
  • Increased revenue by allowing our customers to see the final products faster, input comments and finalize design decisions.
  • We develop furniture and the rendering capabilities and graphics found in the basic package allow the fabricators a broader understanding of what is being created.
  • We develop all of our work in SketchUp. I initially felt it was a simplistic cadd software. By re-tooling my thinking I have found fantastic results with the program. I must admit that I learn something new every day. There is a wealth of information on how to do and create things on YouTube. It has a very large community of supporters.
Sketchup is simply not a BIM platform, so if that is truly what you need, then it's not a good choice. Sketchup can provide energy studies, cost estimates, material take-offs, just as well as any other software. We had to look at our practice to analyze how frequently we were merging structural, MEP and civil drawings into a building file that could be manipulated. It simply did not make sense to invest in software that got updated before we could absorb the features.
For our furniture work, we are now producing full-color design and fabrication drawings including the CNC files with the very same program we design and develop shipping container homes. It is by far, the fastest of all of the BIM modeling programs on the market.
SketchUp is well suited for pre-planning, conceptual design, and other modeling style work. It is an excellent tool for creating objects that are too complex to develop with a BIM type software. The learning curve is much shorter than specialized products such as Rhino and Formz and can replicate much of these with capabilities with various plugins from other users and companies. SketchUp is not a BIM platform and must be used with Layout to develop printed drawings. Layout has its own sets of rules and these are very basic at this time. A more robust overhaul of Layout would be great.