Exporting Architectural Plans to Engineers (Commercial work)

What is best practice for exporting plan information to MEP engineers?
Thinking about taking a stab at trying to generate architectural plans in sketchup/layout but want to have a plan in advance for handing these drawings off to engineers in .dwg format.
Getting them into dwg is not a problem (nice surprise) but when I export a section slice, I end up with lines on top of lines and can’t isolate any of the layers to get rid of the redundant lines.
Similar problem if I export a 3D plan view. All of the info is there (including layers which is a plus), but all of the groups are in blocks (could deal with this probably, maybe even desirable).
So, figured I’d try exporting 3D sketchup model> Open in 3D AutoCAD (ACA)> Export to AutoCad.
When working with autcad files exporting flattens the file into 2D only elements. Found it interesting that the 3D sketchup model still shows up in it’s entirity in the AutoCAD exported file.

So how does everyone handle handing off drawings to engineers?
Starting to like the software but this is a big hurdle for me…

I’ve been going the export to 2D .DWG route and compiling the files as need by each (civil, structural, landscape, whoever). In general we like to send backgrounds to the engineers pretty early in design which makes for simple and quick to clean up .DWG images…

In no way do I claim that this is “best practice!” I’d love to hear what other professionals are doing and how it works for them and their engineers alike. I’ve been working on making the transition from classic CAD documents to sketchup/layout documents over the last year and have just been trying things as I go.

taking a section plane of the detail required, like a plan shot, right click the active plane, and “create group from slice” from active menu. With outliner open, can choose the newly formed group (sections are part of the subs) and right click, make component, rename in entity to an appropriate name “plan1”, then right click and save as component to the folder. Then you can open add a few lines and dimensions to where the beams need to be, then export as 2D dxf…

Note,for labels use the dimension tool and edit the contents to suit, position change via right click and menu
You can change selected dimensions via window/ model info, plus by leaving selected important data the dxf will display the colour

plan.dxf (219.1 KB)

Thanks guys for your insight. I’m gonna play around with some of your ideas once I get a little break here and have more time to try and implement. Haven’t done a project yet in sketchup (mostly just using for sketching out ideas to myself at this point. Have hope that it can be used for my purposes however!

I have a slightly different question. I want to be able to have my plan be used in Layout as a 50% or so background. I want to see the plan, but have the electrical information be black and the architectural drawing be grayed out. I think the way to do this is to create a SU style to be like a half tone, but I cannot figure out how to make the line work all gray.

Any ideas?

Yes. It can be done by creating a scene in SU for the plan and another for the electrical. Use different styles for each scene with the one for the plan set to show the lines as gray. Then stack viewports in LO.

Or you can explode the viewport for the plan to make the edges in the plan, LO line entities and adjust their color as required.

I usually insert the electrical symbols in Layout, but what I want it to be able to create a style that will look much like my construction documents style but has everything grayed out to 50% or 60%. I know there are all kinds of settings to customize styles, but I could not figure out how to do this.

I can’t find a way to do this directly in LO. Although that would be a good option if LO has that capability.

Thank you Dave.

OK. So you just need one scene in SketchUp and you can adjust the edge color for the style. Here’s an example. Open the SU model from LO and examine the style. Or even take it if you want.
Gray plan lines.layout (20.5 KB)


See I knew it was just me not knowing which setting to adjust. I was looking for a kind of transparency, but just a change of color to gray will work fine.

Thank you Dave.

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I layer and stack viewports quite a bit, and instead of trying to manage this with exploding vector art, changing styles (or fog…!) - I resorted to placing a white rectangle in between viewports. Often I’ll have a layer structure built up to make this easier.

This way I can control everything from within LO.


That’s clever Dave!

With a dotted semitransparent screen you can even achieve a limited dashed lines effect.


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