Sketch Up Help/Construction Modeling

Hello Everyone,

I’m in the Heavy Civil Construction Industry, and have been teaching myself Sketch Up for the past few months with fairly good success. I mainly use the software to build models straight from PDF drawings in order to visualize the project, sequence construction activities, visual aids with proposal type bidding projects, and hopefully creating accurate takeoffs on concrete and earthwork items eventually (not to that point yet). I’m struggling with some of the more technical projects when trying to create an accurate model, being self taught, i’m sure i have a ton of bad habits and find myself in a mess a lot with no clue how to fix it. Online videos only get me so far and i don’t have anyone to reach out to when i run into road blocks. My ultimate question is can anyone recommend any specific online classes or resources that i would benefit from? Also if they’re was a business out there that could assist in building models i would be very interested in recommendations.

thank you,

Is it just 3D models? Or are you also using Layout to create presentations or construction documents?

Do you want to become faster, more production or are there things that you are struggling to do with the software?

I’m self-taught and have got to where I am by just diving into the software, watching YouTube tutorials, reading forum posts and asking questions and reading the SketchUp Doh book and a book by Nick Sonder.


Mostly just building models to visualize construction projects especially in the bidding stages, to be able to more accurately price the work. We mostly do federal projects focused on dams so i don’t need to create construction grade documents those are always provided. In a perfect world if i could build accurate models and pull volume quantities from the model id be a happy camper.

The biggest thing i struggle with right now is working outside of the 3 axis and creating radius’s. for example dam spillways that are sloped with differing widths and with a slight radius gives me the most difficulty. most of the videos i come across are residential flat floor plans with common angles and don’t really translate to what i’m trying to do.

i’ve only been at it a couple of months but the software is very intuitive just thinking there has got to be some stuff out there to accelerate my learning curve. Thanks for recommendation on the book ill give it a shot.


Probably the Sonder book won’t help you but I’m sure there are some on the forum who could help particularly with your dam spillway radius’s.

When I think of a dam I think of a cross section and a path of some sort that uses that section over a certain length, with ‘Follow Me’.
Could you give one or more better picture what you are trying to model?
Added: examples of the spillways I mean.

Have you looked at any of Daniel Tal’s stuff? He’s an authority on landscape, cityscape issues in SketchUp. Just about anything to do with landform.