Sketchup/Layout Designers - What's your standard design time (hours of labour) start to finish?:

Users who exlusively use Sketchup/Layout in design projects:

Hey there! This is something that has always been on my mind. I would LOVE to know anyones total labour hours spent on a design project start to finish. If you would follow the questions below with answers, this thread could be kept simple and provide so much insight to myself and the community and help us all figure out how efficient we really are using Sketchup and Layout.


  1. Please state the design project type, e.g. - is it a deck, a new home, landscape design, etc, how many sq ft and how many stories?:
  2. Hours of labour spent using Sketchup?:
  3. Hours of labour spent using Layout?:
  4. Provide anymore context that you’d like about the project, adding photo context would be GREAT!.
1 Like

:star: This is THE gold standard design time for a house project :star:

Can anyone explain this? It’s got me mind blown…:

Here’s a WICKED reference of a production builder. Wow, these design times are nuts. This production designer in the sketchup basecamp video below mentions his design times for this project seen at time stamp 31:30.

I believe he’s not talking about the thoughout part of design and referring to the fact that he has a home that’s designed and ready to go and now is just modelling it for the right scenes in sketchup and creating the drawings in Layout for it. Since he’s a production builder, I imagine he could design a house like this in an hour anyways since they are probably so similar to all of his other projects perhaps… Anyways, he said the two storey house in the video link below is like 12 hours of design in sketchup and layout. That is insane… Something to strive for.


i tend to price it on sq area of the project at a rate based on complexity in order to create a full project fee. then as far as time goes, it depends on how much of it has mostly “standard” bits to it versus one-off. since i do mainly smaller professional recording studio designs ($150K-$500K to build and acoustically treat, typically), the site can vary significantly (in fact, over 18 years of doing it, no project has been fully reusable). and also depending on “buildability” (for example, an owner with moderate experience versus a professional contractor with experience in isolation and acoustic design builds), more time can be spent on documenting some details so a less experienced person can understand what they’re building versus what they might [think they] know, read about, or see in a video.
in general, preliminary designs usually about 2-3 weeks for finalizing the design model and key parameters, then 2-4 weeks creating the final model and documentation. most of that depends on responsiveness of the client and number of design iterations. so 1-2 months per project (designs typically 40-80 D sheets of which 10-12 may be “stock” details on treatment construction, 5-6 demolition and prep, 10-12 on structure, 8-10 on MEP plans and detail, 5-10 on architecture plans, elevations, sections, 4-8 on schedules, finishes, safety, and perhaps another 5-8 on something else - integration, alternatives, etc).


@Sonder , I would LOVE to know what your times are? @AK_SAM @paul.mcalenan @simoncbevans , @JQL , etc.

1 Like

Killer!! Thanks Glenn! That’s awesome. I have very similar times to you and a very similar process. Awesome insight into what you do and what it takes.


My times are very similar to my lengths of string. 42 generally.


A building project, anything larger than a garden shed, takes generally up to a year and a half from first contact to finish. Actual construction takes about half of that. Whether the project takes 100% or 5% of an architect’s time during that period depends on project size and complexity.


Follow up on Annsi’s note and Duane’s video.“Design” time is really variable and probably hard to pin down. Learning the time to produce drawings, say’ from design development to final sets is probably more valuable. I think Duane was in a perfect position to grapple with this and create good solutions.

Personally I don’t think I could come up with a real number. In custom design every project is different, and the real key in managing time (overall and in production) is working with the client.


I think this is quite simple really. The intent of this post is to help designers who care about their production times, to guage where they are at roughly with their own workflow production times. As an exmaple for this post and how easy this is to define a project, i’ll now post my times below:



1. Please state the design project type, e.g. - is it a deck, a new home, landscape design, etc, how many sq ft and how many stories?:

New Home, 2 stories, 2000 sq ft with a landscape design for a site of approximately 20-30 acres of land.

2. Hours of labour spent using Sketchup?:

50-60 hours.

3. Hours of labour spent using Layout?:

For us to create a full set of construction drawing documents for our projects, it takes us roughly 1-2 days of documenting time in Layout. 16 hours.

4. Provide anymore context that you’d like about the project, adding photo context would be GREAT!.

We typically come up with 2 building envelope options for a new home design project in the schematic phase, during the design development phase we will come up with 2 or 3 options for facade styles, window styles and other furniture/object layouts and styles. In total we spend around 50-60 hours in Sketchup. We provide a lot of detail, site infromation, site sections, terrain plans, exisitng conditions plans, etc so we are quite thorough with our process and what we provide. As a result of creating very deep templated systems for our projects, we think we can get those times down to something like 20-30 hours of sketchup design time for this coming year 2022. These times do not include construction detail creation times in sketchup, we create 3d details and if a detail has to be created for the project, it adds time to the sketchup hours total for us. For example, a 3d construction detail will take us around 1-3 hours to create and document. Our details are very detailed, for example a foundation shows the entire foundation details, a slice of the earth beisde it with all drainage information, a floor ontop of the foundation since a foundation will always have a floor on it, we include that as well into that detail. We than have to document it and number it, this is the reason for the 1-3 hours per intensive detail, simpler ones are easy, say 30 minutes in total.


I am just completing my second design project in sketchup and although I am now quite proficient in both sketchup and layout, I still spend about half of my time fiddling with templates, creating scrap book details and rereading Sonder and Brightman workflows. I use a combo of their methods.
Current project: small 600sf one story guest cottage with foundation , deck and covered porch entry.
I completed a detailed site plan and did the survey myself, including contours.
Site Plan: 14hrs billable time. 10 hrs unbillable.
Schematic Phase: 25 hrs billable and about 20hrs unbillable. This included 3 client visits. Multiple emails, 4 versions of drawings published on 8.5 x11 so client could print.
Design Development: 12 hrs billable. (some of above happened during this phase). Again many unbillable hrs.that I could not justify billing for.
I am now working on the construction documents (18x24 sheets in Layout). These will include final Site Plan. Floor, Foundation, Roof Plans. Exterior Elevations, at least three Sections. and a number of details, some of which I can use from a previous job, others I have to draw and create scrapbooks.
I expect I will complete this final Phase in about 25 hrs, but realistically I will be at it for longer.
Especially if I indulge in this forum when I should be working!
Total (billable) time =76 hours.


Haha, love it.

Quick rule of thumb for urban designs here in Asia 10 years ago
$1000 usd / hectare for each design phase… concept 3d, schematic 3d, construction 2d
generally in the range 20 to 300 ha
first two phases, SU 90% LO 10%. last phase DWGs
Excluding tax

1 Like

do we have the makings for an International Trade Union of Sketchup Designers (ITUSD) here :slight_smile: or maybe Sketchup Trade Union of Designers (STUD) :slight_smile:

Haha! It’s already being started! At the very least, you should really subscribe to this website, my friend Keith founded it and it’s sparking attention @KeithBrooks

1 Like

Signed Up!

1 Like

Here are a few data points for us.

Project 1

  1. 8000 SF modern passive house, this was a big project for us, and a lot of time
  2. ~200 hours in SketchUp in SD and DD
  3. 10 hours
  4. We did our CDs in Archicad. Total of 1310 hours so far for me, the project is halfway through CA. We have one other employee that put in 940 hours on the project

Project 2

  1. 3000 SF modern net zero new home, also a difficult project
  2. SD ~150hrs, DD ~100 hrs, CD ~100hrs, Redesign ~100 hrs (client wanted to do a second floor)
  3. SD ~20hrs, DD ~50 hrs, CD ~200hrs, Redesign ~100 hrs
  4. Overall we have spent 1,160 hrs and are just about to start framing.

Project 3

  1. Kitchen and sunroom addition, a more simple project for us
  2. SD - 0 hrs, DD - 25 hrs, CD - 25 hrs
  3. SD - 2 hrs, DD - 10 hrs, CD - 30 hrs
  4. Total of about 200 hrs and about to break ground

So cool! Thanks for pitching in!

For me, that’s a difficult question since all my projects are different. Much depends on the project site, client interaction and whether or not the GC is involved.

On average, I spend anywhere between 120-400 hours on a project. This is of course spread over several months as I will run multiple projects at the same time. When things get tight like last year I produced 9 projects in 9 months with 4 of the homes being over 6500 sf. The other 5 were between 2000-4500. But that was pulling 10 hour days, 6-7 day weeks.

Most of my time is in SU hours, probably 80%+.

  1. **Please state the design project type,
    a. Mostly woodworking projects, saw sleds, counters, concept wood projects
  2. Hours of labour spent using Sketchup?:
    a. My general plan is modeled behind I only want to spend 1 day in real-world assembly. So concept and completed art and printing plans I only give 16 hours no mater what.
  3. Hours of labour spent using Layout?:
    a. Answered in Q2. 1 day 11 hours.
  4. Provide anymore context that you’d like about the project, adding photo context would be GREAT!.
    a. All my sketching takes place in Sketchup, and print layouts are to scale if the project is smaller 30cm squared. I hope this helps.
1 Like

@Sonder I bet there are a ton of people wondering how long you spend doing drawings! Thanks for sharing!

Nice to get another perspective that isn’t just about homes, thanks @kp252