Construction drawing production

i am using SU 6 and am wondering about the construction dwg / detailing capabilities of the current versions of SU and LayOut. specifically, the dimension, call out, and symbol (e.g. light switches) tools, if any. i have not been able to find any examples of CDs produced entirely with SU. is this feasible (and practical), or is it still best to import DWGs into a CAD program?

I use SketchUp 2015 Pro along with Layout to produce the work of my small architectural firm. SU is my primary electronic design tool and it has performed reliably in my opinion. Prior to this, I had become well versed in AutoCAD, ArchiCad, Revit and Vectorworks, and found SketchUp to be the best candidate for my design and production requirements.

I cannot offer an evaluation on using SU 6 for production because I can’t remember if Layout was an option with that version. Using today’s version of the software should pose no major problems.

Most of the desired symbols can be detailed and placed in a scrapbook for repetitive use (and many may be available already). Dimensioning is a simple process in LO although you may need to adjust text and/or dimension style to suit your taste. It may take a little time to adjuste to any different emerging workflow pattern as your production documents develop, which is to be expected. The only major drawback for me was that most of my engineering consultants do not use SU, so problems are sometimes encountered in the conversions to and from dwg and dxf files. I have found this to be an acceptable scenario because this kind of issue is usually addressed by minor editing or by retransmitting the file in question.

To see excellent examples of construction drawings done with SU and LO, Google “Nick Sonder” and watch his videos.

thanks much for your reply. much appreciated. i ‘came up’ with datacad, for whatever reason. i got to know it for quite a while, and the ‘snap’ functions i found to be very useful, but not applicable to SU. maybe they are there, but i don’t find them. also the dimensioning, scaling, symbols, etc., i just cannot replicate, at least with ease. but i am using an old version of SU. i like old stuff, especially tools and buildings and recipes, so i’m not prone to jumping on with the next version just because it’s ‘move advanced’. there are tons of examples in the tech world of bloated technologies existing for no other reason than to make payroll and maximize shareholder returns, regardless what we hapless ‘consumers’ may want.

but i digress. my question is, does it make sense for me to migrate to SU 2015? … in your opinion. and thank you for your time and consideration.

thank you for resource. checked it out a bit and will look further. all best

[quote=“gregg, post:4, topic:9047”]
does it make sense for me to migrate to SU 2015?

I would encourage such a move. As I indicated, I did just that and have been eminently satisfied with the decision to adopt SketchUp and Layout for our firm’s design and production work.

You can download the free version and it starts with a 1 month trial of Pro, including Layout, so you can use it for a whole month to evaluate how it fits your workflow before you need to decide if it’s right for you.
After that it reverts to the free version, and you lose various tools and Layout.

And you can install it in conjunction with your SU6 version and continue to use both.


I also run an small architectural firm and we stopped using Vectorworks and we now only use SketchUp and Layout to do all our work. Much more fun and much cheaper!

This example is only SketchUp Pro + Skalp for SketchUp:


thank you for the feedback.

Totally! What’s great is that you can upgrade to SketchUp Pro for only: $145

It breaks down like this: $95 for the upgrade and $50 for the reinstatement fee. Learn more here:


Continuing the discussion from Construction drawing production:

Hi Guy,

In your example, is the wool insulation pattern generated by Skalp or using workarounds within Layout?


Layout only used for dimensions and text, all hatchings are Skalp!

Hi Guy,

This is very good news! This is going to be a game changing for architects using sketchUp for construction documentation. I’m going to give Skalp a deep test as soon as I finish my current project.


LayOut has pattern fills for a while now. If you haven’t checked it out recently, you should. There’s a pretty good discussion in the LayOut forum for adding your own, at Adding Pattern Fill symbols to LayOut

Why use pattern fills manualy in layout if sketchup can generate this fills automaticaly when you use Skalp. You win a lot of time instead of updating your fills every time you change your model!

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First, I’m not saying you should do it one way or another. I’m just offering options, and letting users pick what works best for them.

Second, I don’t know the answer, but often times the model is a different form of communication than printed construction docs. In the printed construction docs world, some people may think cheaper black & white large format printing is better than more expensive color. Or color may not even be an option. Hatching patterns exist because we needed a way to communicate more in black and white large format printers. My non-color NeXT computer was wonderful in 1990. What I’m saying is that you may want to keep the model loosely coupled to how it’s printed.

Hello Gregg,

I felt I should add to this thread with some of my experience as I too am a long time DataCad user (1989). Also, SketchUp user since 2003. I have embraced many design attributes of SketchUp and have integrated into my preliminary and design development sets. The process of a complete construction document package through LayOut is getting better in each release. However, the software developments progress curve is still steep. Meaning there is a long way to go when compared to the BIM features of the more well established and much more difficult software packages.

I also, have attempted the “workarounds” Plugin / Extensions that are developed by well meaning third parties with the intent to save time and simplify the CD process. Unfortunately, they still fall short of developing a set of documents anywhere close to a standard 2d cad (established library) setup. Beyond this issue, learning one isolated process to develop Cd’s then finding out a new and improved process comes out 4 months later can be very frustrating.

My recommendation is to certainly upgrade to the 2015 version to keep up to speed on the latest improvements of both SketchUp and LayOut. However, beware of getting caught up with trying to do too much with the current state of SketchUp because you’ll spend too much time as I have done attempting full sets of CD’s. It’s a tool to communicate just like DataCad. Unfortunately it’s not at the level of proficiency for creating CD’s. In no way am I speaking ill will of the Application. It has transformed my practice, and I believe it is the answer to our future needs. I just cannot afford to add 20 to 60 hours to develop my construction documents.

My setup today that provides the fastest workflow is:

  1. Plan development in DataCad.
  2. Elevation concept using SketchUP (Building the model using the cad base but only using solid masses, not concerning myself with the interior walls.) This process is especially useful when having any angled portion of the design. As we know, 2d cad is basically creating each elevation.
  3. Maintaining the elevations in SketchUp and using Layout for all notation and dimensioning of the final elevations.
  4. I have established a detail library in SketchUp from my old DataCad library.
  5. Foundation, Framing, MEP, and HVAC information is still handled in DataCad.

When SketchUp does refine their system to have all the tools; auto-dimensioning, parametric elements, and a fully integrated SketchUp / LayOut world are just around the corner. (I hope)… along with line weight , line type control I feel I am proficient enough to transition my workflow completely to SketchUp. Until then, I cannot make the workarounds a productive workflow for my situation.

iMac, Macbook Pro
SketchUp Pro
Datacad 16


thank you for this, micheal. very insightful. i will keep this in mind.

Barry, I think you should take a look at Skalp for SketchUp ( We use these hatching patterns. But instead of placing them manually in layout we does this automatically, change you model and your hatching changes. You can also use different looks (patterns) for the same section in different scenes.