Architects/Design Builders

I’m curious how many architects and design/builders are using SU as an end to end tool for all design and construction docs, and how many also use studio.

Not sure if asking here would make sense, or if folks know of a better way to ask. Not wanting any official numbers, just more of a general sense.

And what are the best training materials/books, to implement?

And if not being used as a end to end tool, what are folks using for Mac architectural CAD these days?

Anyone using it for theater design? I know Vectorworks has that covered, including lighting.

Please, just share what your use is if you are in the mentioned realms (architecture/design build and/or theater). No debates please about what’s best.

Thank’s in advance for any insights.

Yep. I use from end to end. Sketches, concept design and development through to planning submission, then on through integration with structural scheme for building control and construction document purposes.

I also use twinmotion and Vray for visualisation of the SU models.


Thanks for the thorough response bifterx.

Yes, I use SketchUp/Layout end to end including Condocs and CNC router and plasma cutter files and 3D printing files. It’s a solid tool if you put in the time to learn it. It may be “intuitive” to learn the basics but to get professionaly proficient still takes time and dedication. I design for theater among other things, I no longer use Vectorwork, many in the industry still do but I’m able to work collaboratively with lots of other CAD programs just fine. Braceworks is still great and for lighting the streamlined workflow available in VX is king, it’s a great program. But my workflow is entirely in SU/LO and it’s faster cleaner and looks better.

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Thanks for sharing endless fix.
I’m curious what resources you might have used to become more proficient?

Wow, I would have thought this thread would have generated more activity than the suggestion for Trimble to consider a new pricing model; I guess time will tell…

I’m using SU and LO beginning to end. I should say I use morpholio trace to n an iPad Pro for sketching and conceptual design.

Sorry for being a bit discouraged from voicing an opposing opinion here, but I don’t use exclusively SU/LO for everything. Certainly, in the 18± years since I first picked up SU, the percentage of time I’ve spent in SU has increased, and the percentage of time I’ve spent in PowerCADD has decreased to the point where the majority of time is in SU, but it’s still not 100%. My workflow starts in PC, goes to SU, and finishes mostly back in PC. I have successfully done a couple things so far with Layout as the last step, but I mostly find it frustrating. If it works for you and gets your job done, then great!

I use it for architectural design end to end. I used to use it alongside AC LT but I stopped using that about 6 years ago when I discovered that others were using SU as their sole CAD system. I wouldn’t have vey much use for AC now, although you do have to be able to import and export to DWG if you want to work with others in the industry as the SKP file format is not widely used. As the conversion is not quite like for like, if you were doing a lot of work with others and you mainly worked in 2D, I guess old fashioned 2D CAD would be a better bet.

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I find it interesting that there is a representative number of the usual suspects here that do use SketchUp and LayOut end to end. (I don’t myself.)

I can tell you that there are a LOT of Architects and Design Builders using SketchUp. Many of them do not use SU/LO exclusively, though. In a time where BIM workflows are more and more important, people use SketchUp as a part of a workflow that includes multiple packages. There are a special few who are able to use JUST SU and LO, though.

As for not getting more interest in your thread… it’s really just a, “let me know if you do this” thread… not a whole lot of reason for people to get involved. For more interaction, try offering something and ask for feedback or input. Tell us YOUR workflow and let us know how you would like to modify it. That will get forum members interested and involved!


You mean the old one :wink:

I do domestic residential and my workflow is entirely SketchUp to Layout for Planning and Building Regulations and SketchUp export to DWG for the engineer… and more recently SketchUp model exported as DXF for an architect who imports the DXF into Rhino.

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OT: no need to do that. Rhino reads SKP quite well (depending on version, not the latest SketchUp format, though).

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Yes, on the last recent model I did for him I mentioned this and I he said he had upgraded to version 7 and indeed he was able to import the SKP

Apart from the usual sketch design modeling and texturing, planning + client presentations, scaled 2D documentation sets, I use SU plugins for quantifying sunlight and for daylight simulations.
As a Passive House designer, I also use the Plugin DesignPH that feeds the Passive House software PHPP (a big excel spreadsheet).
Vray rendering is next on my list to master!

I have been TRYING to make SU +LO work out as the Allrounder tool for my residential architectural work throughout all phases for the last year.

Swapping software (i.e SU for massing and then rebuilding it elsewhere) half way through the project life seems inefficient to me. The Trimble package seemed to be capable of being the start to end tool, at first sight at least.

In summary, it has been a struggle and a long road to get efficiently documentation drawings done.
Whilst it is refreshing that SU allows you to work the way you want - i.e it does not have modeling constraints that some more specialized architectural software imposes - it takes some decent effort to develop a workflow. I totally underestimated how long it takes to build yourself an ‘office standard’ , the ‘structure of doing things’.
Learning from gurus in this forum was helpful but also confusing. Everybody seems to work differently and has different workflows for different desired outcomes. Only now I understand that the flexibility of SU is an amazing thing, but initially it has irritated me so much.

After 16 years of technical Revit-ting experience in a fast pace commercial archi office, I am very very very reluctantly putting up with silly and slow daily SU workarounds (managing structural grid for example), reliance on plugins, the dual nature of SU+LO (reloading too see the latest changes come through) immature Layout (rediculous to have to split larger projects into several files in order to manage performance of the program), lacking automation (level markers, numbering of details on sheets, etc). I cannot say that dimensioning is a joy (having to reconnect to model so often, erratic LO inferencing).

Well, it’s still a love/hate relationship with SU/LO. I am seriously considering to use Revit again.

Nevertheless, I am attracted to SU’s immersive space and effortless 3D modeling. As a designer, these features are important to me. Fast 3- dimensional expression is still my number 1 love for SU.


This is what’s happening with us too. Working in Sketchup through start to finish, including construction documentation with Layout.

However we just work with Layout because we have no viable alternative. It yields good looking output but It’s painful and very hard to extract standard output besides pdf files.

We are considering BricsCAD, but will only transition with higher scale projects.


We are 2D cad users; a SketchUP model is only produced if the Client wishes a 3D presentation/animation.
We did try Layout, but it didn’t have the tools we were used to - it was similar to using a desktop publishing application to create drawings - possible, but not desirable.
We also have to share our drawings with MEP & Structural Engineers, so one format (DWG) is a safer way to go at the moment.

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We are architect studio. I am responsible of the cad tools (and other tools). We use SU+LAYOUT from A to Z :slight_smile:

It means : first sketches, definitiv plans, technical plans, plan for the painter, woodworker, electricians, … AND for the clients (lot of 3D).

We use also Skecthup viewer for mobiles and tablets.

For 3D photo rendering, we are working with TheaRender.

The only other plugin we are using is SKALP : definitely usefull.


Yes I use SU/Layout and nothing else from start to completion.
BTW I have also issued my model to contractors on two relatively small (,€250k) projects and both were completed with hardly a query during the course of construction, Interestingly in both cases one of the Contractor’s kids interrogated the model as required.

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