Construction Documents

I am trying to figure out if SketchUp Pro is what I am looking for. I want to build a cabin for some land I recently purchased in Alaska. I have a floorplan I have created and want a program that will generate the construction documents for me after I build the model in 3D.

Can SketchUp Pro do that automatically or is a manual process after creating the model? I need it to show close ups of each wall, rafters, etc along with all measurements.

Although SketchUp is used by many architects and designers to produce technical documents it is not capable of automatically generating condocs. If you own SU Pro, you can use the companion program, Layout, to create working drawings from the model and this process is somewhat automated in that the model scenes are imported directly into the Layout drawings.

To be totally honest, no software is able to replace the human involvement in design and construction documents, at this time so your inquiry may constitute an impossible desire to fulfill considering the current state of technology.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, we may be able to speak to our computers and have a fully detailed set of building plans, elevations, sections and specifications ready for permit approval teleport directly to the local building department with no need for input from engineers or architects.

Yes. The process is automatic to some degree, but mostly manual. I do it every day by using scenes to set up the various drawings that I want to produce and then import into Layout to add the annotations and dimensions. However, you need to become familiar with creating scenes in SU which will require a fair knowledge of how to use the outliner and especially a good grasp on the function of layers. The proper use of the Layer function is key to creating the scenes and ultimately the construction drawings. You will have to learn the various functions of Layout and the proper way to import the SU model. Good luck.

I do all my construction drawings in Sketchup and Layout. You do have to put the effort in building the model, though.

Having said that, I find the process of building the model as a builder would build a house very useful in an exercise in and of itself. When you build the model, you start to see all of the issues that you would have on site, and it forces you to make certain construction decisions in the design stage as opposed to on site.

If you are going to be building your cabin yourself, you would find this very useful.

Below are examples of the construction drawings that I have made with Sketchup and LayOut, as well as the paid plugin “Skalp” - essential for construction drawings.


For people who don’t want to / can’t spend money on a commercial plugin:
if you use TIG’s SectionCutface plugin you can make solid section cuts. After that you can either:

  1. apply your own texture patterns manually
  2. draw your own real edge vector patterns and just use Jolran’s 2dBoolean to cut them to the right contours

Granted, it might take just a bit more time but you keep full control over own personal workflow and scene management.

If you make a living of making construction documents, the price of Skalp 69€ / 79$ is nothing in comparison the saved time.

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You may want to have a look at these youtube videos, they are free and give a good overview on the topic.

(link) Nick Sonder Workflow for Construction Documentation