Framing is only a small part of the bigger construction picture. Let’s not forget concrete, finishes, trim, moldings, fixtures, electrical, plumbing, decks, landscaping, HVAC, and the list goes on.
As John mentioned, Didier Bur was probably the first to really broach the subject with his Housebuilder plugin. Before I wrote my own wall plugin I actually used Housebuilder extensively. Even with its limitations it still was leaps and bounds above trying to model everything manually.
Now the SketchUp designer has more options at their disposal. Of course I am partial to my own offering but it should be noted that Plusspec has done a magnificent job of bringing a lot of the entire structure together with their extension(s) and John Brock has furthered his Estimator’s reach by offering an integrated framing and slab solution. However, I do think that these products and even my own are still in their infancy and much work remains to be done.
This is only the beginning of SketchUp’s entry into the architectural (BIM) world. I predict there will be many more plugins/extensions that will further extend SketchUp’s capabilities. No one has really even covered the structural engineering fields for example.
With the ruby backend and even the C API the gloves really come off, anything is possible. I would like to see someone put together a matrix analysis engine that runs inside of SketchUp (RISA 3D equivalent). I actually coded a simpler 2D version in Perl a couple years back that now runs as a web based app. Ruby and SketchUp are certainly up to this type of complex task and more.
A reinforced concrete plugin would certainly have some utility in the commercial and industrial realm. I’ve got all sorts of ideas for extensions that can literally make SketchUp compete with a myriad of engineering softwares out there, and would knock your socks off.
I think the point here is that SketchUp is a wonderful 3D drawing environment. It is simple and easy to use with a minimal learning curve. You couple this with a full on programming language like Ruby and the blank slate now becomes anything you want it to be.
Comparing Revit to Sketchup is like comparing a (farm) tractor to my toaster. One of these you can throw on a different implement and now you are planting instead of plowing. The other, well, you can make toast, that’s about it.