BIM plugins and features in SU

Curious… Are there any BIM plugins available? I am new to BIM and looki n g to add this knowledge. Thanks in advance for any/all suggestions.


To create 2D drawings from your SketchUp BIM model you can use Skalp for SketchUp

Mostly SketchUp is not BIM in the sense that it would have tools to create “intelligent” objects and then to manage them and produce the necessary documentation “automatically”. What can be done is much more “hand-made”, like classifying objects using IFC categories, and then exporting to a fairly usable IFC file, but, frankly, that is not quite BIM yet.



This might be of some interest.

@Lopaka I too would like to someday know what BIM means, as so many define it differently.

Usually “Building information modelling” denotes the approach to creating documentation for a building project by first building it as a computer simulation using realistically determined building materials and parts, so that the resulting model database can be queried for all the same properties that the finished building will have. A 3D representation is only a part of the process, and some of the other parts do not have a physical representation at all (like the workings of the various building automation systems).


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So does the classifier do anything to assist with that? If you tag all of your materials or use profile builder or similar, and add in Sefaira, does that do something similar to Revit?(I have no experience with Revit)

How significant are the trade-offs between using SU and plugins vs. something like Revit?

This all really comes down to what you actually want out of your model. “BIM” has become a catch=phrase that is thrown at every aspect of the building design/planning/construction/maintenance process.

I have talked to people who meant “create a 3d model of the building” as BIM. Others are talking about adding classifications to 3D objects as BIM. Still others mean scheduling when they say BIM.

All in all, the answer can usually be, “SketchUp has BIM functionality”

As for SU vs Revit, it really depends on what you want to get out of it. companies looking to plan, construct and maintain a 200, 000 SF commercial building will prefer to use a suite of software packages, including Revit. If you are looking to take an existing mode, and want to add tags to the model, allowing you to export and IFC to work with a sub-contractor, or create a report of data on a single family home, then SketchUp may be more than enough for you.

Like @jesse_s suggested, it really depends on what “BIM” means.

/rant :blush:


Exactly. The idea of the dedicated BIM applications like Revit or Archicad is to take your project and manage it. They have added integration and automation to the whole documentation process, making, for instance, revisions much easier than they are with general drawing or 3D modelling tools. If you don’t expect to need such functions, you don’t need them. I would perhaps draw the line significantly lower than 200 000 SF (some of my BIM projects have been 1/20 of that) .


Go big or go home!

Yes, to be honest I learned long ago that square footage is a poor indicator of complexity. an aircraft hanger is huge, but may have far less detail/information requirements than a custom home. In the case of BIM, especially, the information needed out of the process is really what makes a structure “big”

Im interested in advancing my career. I see that BIM is often discussed in the arch/eng world.

For me there is really nothing to discuss. Our clients require BIM so we use BIM.


Firstly, we need to know what we are talking about when we say BIM. This link is among the better descriptions:

From what I gather from that, BIM is a process of information modelling and sharing - not a feature of any particular software. Also, good to bear in mind that an “information model” does not necessarily mean geometry has to be involved - it can just be an organised text document (like specifications).

SketchUp is indeed good for achieving several aims of BIM:

  • interoperable, so geometry can be shared (IFC export/import works nicely between several programs).
  • components are taggable, and information can be added to geometry
  • information added to the model can be used to generate reports (this feature is newly revamped, and will hopefully develop).
  • is extensible, so a model can be used/reused in different ways (renders can certainly be regarded as part of a BIM structure, Skalp can fill in sections for output to 2D drawings)

I think when other architectural software says “This is BIM”, they are normally saying: “we have so many features in our software that you don’t need anything else to design a building with! That’s why it costs so much!”. To me, that’s another way of saying “we do lots of things, badly”.

So, to answer the original question “are there any BIM plugins available” is a little tricky, because any plugin may have a part to play in BIM! So I am going to take the liberty of changing your question to: “What extensions are available to help making construction documents”, which I hope is close to what you are thinking. My answers to that would be:

  • Skalp (as mentioned above)
  • PlusSpec - it builds all the building components with real building products
  • ProfileBuilder - can build wall assemblies as well as profiles
  • also native SketchUp tools - you can generate reports of specifications, if you are willing to tag your model with content

Those are what I have tried - there is more out there.


As people have said above, and in addition to what has already been mentioned, it very much depends on what you mean / require in terms of BIM, however you can take a look at:

  • BimUP
  • 4D Virtual Builder
  • BIMobject

I’m sure there have to be more…

Do you have any suggestions for drawing documents? This step has become the bottleneck of my workflow. I think that productivity with Layout is still not satisfactory. The program is good but still has a lot to evolve, especially with the user experience.
I tested models made in sketchup (exported in dwg), Revit and Autocad Architecture. Geometry looks okay, though very heavy in Architecture. In Revit, it works fine, but it’s difficult to add properties to the imported components.
Does anyone use other software for drawing documentation?

Before we switched to BIM, and before LayOut was introduced, I took 2D DWG exports from SketchUp to plain vanilla AutoCad and finished them there. The same works, of course, with any 2D CAD that can open or import DWG or DXF files.

But so I would have to repeat the process every time there is some modification in the project. I’m looking for an alternative that works on the 3d model more efficiently. That might be better than the layout.
Thanks .

There really is only one way to avoid re-doing at least part your documentation when the design changes. Switch to a BIM package. Yes. they are expensive. It is for you to determine if the saved time is worth the increased software costs.

This is what I intend to do, however I love the ease of modeling in SketchUp, this is my best skill at the moment. So I want to reconcile the modeling in Sketchup linked, if possible, with some other software to develop the documentation drawings.

Have you tried Skalp for your documentation drawings? This way you won’t need another program, just a plugin. It’s able to produce dwg’s.

It looks like a good alternative, since Skalp exports the lines in their respective layers of the SU. So if I have a file with the preconfigured line widths in Autocad, I can be more productive. I think of creating a file linked with Xref, which can be updated with the views exported in dwg.
What slows me down is the lack of fluidity of the layout, ease of scaling, copying and pasting, scale, and insert symbols into the layout.
Thanks to all, in the next projects I will still be looking for the workflow more suitable for me.