Develop SU further into Infrastructure Engineering

So my dabbling in SU over the last 12 or so years now has me at the stage where I’m asked to do SU training for our team in one of the top 5 Infrastructure Contractors in New Zealand/Australia.
Maybe I need to shake this thought now, but I still feel that the engineering world see SU as pretty little toy that Architects and Landscapers use. There’s this perception that SU just isn’t serious enough for engineering.
Am I right? Any others of you pushing SU in the Engineering game feel the same?
Even so, this hasn’t stopped me forging ahead and using SU for quantities, method development etc. in the civil space. Even pushing the limits of large scale earthworks quantities.
So I’m looking for something I can use to show others the cool stuff that SU is doing in our world. I have a bunch of examples that I’ve done, but these don’t look as sharp as Aaron’s latest visit to DA Architects + Planners in Vancouver. So I’m looking for some stuff that show’s how far SU is reaching into the Engineering World. And even more specific for me would be the civil infrastructure game. I posted something a while back, if I recall, around large scale earthworks challenges. I think someone mentioned a spot in the community where us infrastructure/engineering types can chat.

  1. Is there a group set up for us?
  2. Can you point me towards some cool examples, stories, clips of how SU is used in our world?
  3. How about a workshop/discussion/summit or some gathering or something where we can share our needs of what we need to bring SU deeper into our world?
    Thanks for reading, and thanks Trimble for allowing us engineers a space to be creative.

I have colleagues who may know of examples. I passed on a link to your post, but it is late on Friday, you may not see suggestions until Monday.

thanks Colin
I’m in no rush, just starting to gather my thoughts on how to train Infrastructure estimators/QS’s on how to use SU.

In the architectural practice I managed here in Vietnam 2003-012 I insisted all our projects have a live accurate 3d Sketchup model running concurrently with the traditional 2d autocad construction drawings.

it was updated with any relevant consultant documents that affected the physical form of the project.

It was immense benefit for the entire project team (client, consultants etc) and the model was a primary reference tool at weekly site meetings…

These projects were not trivial, I am referring to 60,000m2 mixed use towers… with design construct periods going on 4-5 years/

Personally. I would love it if SU had a intuitive tool to do basic structural analysis… not to replace engineers but to give designers during the concept design only phase a means of evaluating different structural systems before passing it onto qualified engineers for qualification and documentation!

eg, 2008 project… live SU file was 16MB… updated weekly, 2 residential towers 32 floors, 6 level retail podium, 12 floor office tower and 5 basements all presented on a Sony Viao notebook on site back in 2008.

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It might be worth looking at a few other products in the Trimble portfolio. Quadri has a SketchUp connector and is focused on the Civil Engineering space and Tekla Tedds has some of the structural capabilities discussed. See these two links:

We are always interested in better connecting Trimble products together to strengthen SketchUp use cases.

I work in this field and am local. Happy to catch up if you want to chat in person.

I am an urban designer so i dont often get i to detailed design /construction drawings or management, but I do prepare concepts that are very large-scale and complex.

My sketchup models are based on engineering parameters and i generate quantities for earthworks, retaining walls, landscaping, structures, survey plans, etc.

My greatest challenge is transferring the sketchup, concept designs into Civil3d or 12d, for detailed civil design, and achieving some interoperability.

Sounds just like what I’m after. Except I don’t have to worry about transferring SU into anything else when I’m done … yet.
We’re taking the engineering detail, anywhere from concept thoughts/sketches to IFC drawings, in CAD/Navisworks/PDF etc. and developing a 3D model so we can figure out how to build it. And then be able to check dim’s, Temp works details, and complex volumes. which all helps us to price the job. And then put together a little video clip of how we plan to build it. Sequencing, temp works playing a key role that’s very important in infrastructure projects, and communicated in seconds which would otherwise take pages of text and drawings to communicate, less effectively.
Guess you know all this already, I just talk too much!
So yeah it would be good to chat and swap experiences. Not sure around the protocols of how we go from hear to chatting. just swamp emails?
thanks Sam

It sounds like we are using SketchUp at each end of the process…me at the concept design, and you at the construction stage, with the middle part ( being the documentation and consenting) done in Civil3d & Revit.

It’s always frustrating for me to design a lot of information in a 3d model only to have it taken and “simplified” by Civil3d etc (because they can’t easily do things like model organic shapes, create bespoke components, or show vegetation)
Likewise, it’s annoying for Civil3d or Revit users to receive something from me that has all this design thinking built in, but no way retrieving the input information (grade lines and strings, superelevation profiles) or documenting it in the traditional format for consent (long sections, cut-to-fill plans, etc).

So there ends being a LOT of re-drafting or re-modelling between these steps.

With the current state of LayOut, the Civil Engineers and commercial Architects aren’t about to start using SketchUp for detailed documentation and design… So I think a tool like Quadri might be the future. I haven’t tried it out yet.

Will send you a message regarding a catchup.