Traditional dimensions in Layout to studs (or structure) on SU models that are best modeled to finished wall surfaces

The best model for SU buildings utilizes the outer most surface of a wall composition. For example, a face for the inside layer of gypsum board on a gypsum board and stud wall. Or a face for outside layer of face brick.

But traditional dimensions are to studs or other structure.

Are workarounds out there to show dimensions in Layout to the stud wall?

You haven’t filled in your profile so we don’t know what you do or much about your setup. However, this is an odd question if you are a seasoned building designer. Normally, you would create a section through the building to show construction. Then you can use dimensions in LO to any point in the sandwich you like.

When setting out a building, you would normally use the structural dimensions to determine size. A timber frame would always sit on a masonry base and the outer face of the masonry and timber frame usually coincide. So the dimension across the building from outer face of structure to outer face would be the critical one. Any internal or external cladding would then be referenced back to that.

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Profile done. Thxs. I offer a better explanation. Take, for example, an exterior wall composed of face brick, air space, brick sheathing, wood studs, and gypsum board. The only approach I have seen is to Push/Pull the face brick into a solid and Push/Pull the wall. The traditional plan dimension are to the studs. So, the gypsum board and brick sheathing would be ignored so that the Section Cut outline displayed in Layout is the studs and so, will dimension to studs. The issue gets more complicated with some wall structures (rainscreens for example) where the exterior finish is further from the structure to be dimensioned.

Other CAD programs address this issue with wall components that can be turned on and off.

I have only see two approaches from architects using Sketchup. Nick Sonder says just draw the stud wall and ignore the finished surface. Bob Borson (Life of an Architect) says dimension to finished face. Neither approach is attractive to me.

I have played with Profile Builder with parts of the wall on different layers to turn on and off. I tried using the Offset tool after creating a Group from the Section Cut. Both are very cumbersome and difficult to adjust to changing floor plans.

I am wondering if any architects have developed workarounds.

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Understood. It’s another case of GIGO, meaning, if you want to know where finishes are and dimension to them, you need to draw them, and if you want to know where framing is and dimension to that, you need to draw that too. BTW, it astonishes me what passes for acceptable in the world of mail order plans. Walls are dimensioned as 4" which isn’t correct for either finishes or framing.

I agree the problem comes to editing and making changes. If finishes and framing and what not else are all isolated in there own groups, it’s a pain to do something like make a wall 2 feet longer. In my 2D CAD program, I’m used to a “Move Points” tool that ignores groups when moving geometry. After decades of producing drawings in this program and using this tool constantly, I really miss such a tool in SketchUp. There are a couple plugins along the same lines: Fredo6’s FredoScale and Tak2hata’s T2H Stretch by Area

There is Medeek’s Wall tool. Still in development, he’s doing parametric wall building within SketchUp and seems promising.

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I like to draw most everything with its true thickness, that way you really know what you’ve got. You can always assign cladding and sheathing to its own layer and then turn off those layers as needed.

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But did you use alll the possibiltities from PB? The profiles are handy, but the real benefit is use of the assembly builder.
If you have a path, you can adjust it very easily, if you want to change the assembly parts (component studs or profile members) you can change them to, without recreating the whole inner wall.
While the Medeek plugin gives you a lot to choose, PB lets you choose your own

To be clear, for an architects workflow, the only scene that requires showing a graphic representation of the stud wall (or structure requiring dimensions) is for the floor plan and only in 2D. I have never seen a reason to show actual studs or framing members in walls. Trusses, rafter, and joist, sure.

Really, the Follow Me tool applied on a 3.5 inch by 3 foot rectangle (representing short the stud wall) following one side of a Section Cut line but offset by 1/2" (or whatever wall finish thickness) works well for me for now. The 2D nested portion of door swings and windows placed above the layer with the stud only short wall works well for line weights and dimensions in Layout.

I am just hoping for a more elegant solution.

I have the Medeek extension and I am looking forward to learning the abilities. But I think this is more of a graphic representation issue versus the more technical layout in Medeek. No?

Nathaniel gives users of the Medeek wall plug-in the option to draw in 2D and the option to show drywall or sheathing as lines or guides, he may even add the option to display brick veneer or other types of wall assembly items in the future.

So to dimension to wall stud (plate) with his plug-in is easily done w/2D active.


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Short version - outside face of finishes, everything else center lines.

Traditional architectural drawings would show a detail of all of the Wall Types as Plan detail, specifying the framing material, dimension, o.c. spacing, sheathing(s), insulation thermal or acoustic and finish(es) dimensions in thickness and layout.

Coordinated with the structural Wall Types which include connections and further specs for the members and layers. Layout within wall type? Example would be an acoustically insulated stagger-stud nominal 2x4 wall on 2x6 plates for a plumbing wall.

These occur in the most economical subsidized housing complexes or hospitality structures.

Each Wall Section is given an Alpha-numeric key, which is then applied to each on the floor plan. Usually each Wall Type would also have a section detail showing top and bottom conditions, plates, beams, connectors,

unless the wall type is conforming to the minimum standard 1 and 2 family dwelling code requirements and construction is noted as such or is detailed that way in the S sheets…

Floor and framing plans are traditionally laid out showing outside face of finish at exteriors and center lines of walls and columns, on an overall grid if new construction (do yourself a favor).

Openings are laid out with center lines, assuming they also are labeled as Door and Window Types in a Door and Window Schedule which shows their RO dimensions and other information.

Trades starting with foundation and carpentry know how to layout edges of framing from the Wall Type details. The designer for floor plans would have provided and know the information to achieve an overall wall thickness

for the Push/Pull or other operation which creates the finished wall in plan view. If interior space dimensions are a consideration for interior design/casework/trim/furnishes/fixtures then just add those dimensions in your CAD program.

The most common error by the Architectural drafter/designer will be not allowing enough space between a door or window RO and an adjacent corner for the trim specified as casing.

The same error occurs when insufficient space is allowed for switching or fixtures.

Bigger errors occur when the A sheets and the S sheets are not adequately reconciled by the Architect/designer.

God invented GC’s to coordinate the information and trades and the designers to figure it out, short of submittals which are another whole topic.

Backgrounds for the shop drawings and other design consultants?

Another big WIN for the industry, huh!!!

After YEARS of using specialized, and expensive CAD Programs… small details like surface finishes and wall thickness toss everything into the great sink hole. Fingers being pointed as to who’s at fault… or what responsibility one should have (if any) for detailing their own work.

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The cladding thickness and material can be varied to represent any type of cladding (ie. brick, cultured stone, stucco etc…), the optional air gap is designed specifically for a brick veneer finish. Wainscoting allows for a dual cladding arrangement.

I guess I wasn’t as clear as I could have been.
OP I think wishes to show all wall materials and dimension to stud (wall plate)
I was simply pointing out when using your wall plug-in 2D function you let the user specify whether or not to show: sheathing-cladding-drywall as a solid line or a guide line.
I was not aware you now allow Wainscoting (brick veneer/other) to also display in 2D “mode”.
Either case, I think OP should give your wall plug-in a try, especially the 2D mode.


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The cool thing is that with the API and programming in general anything can be done, you just have to ask. I think that is why I find programming plugins so addictive, anything is possible, you just need to be sufficiently motivated and have a need.

I’ve tried to make the 2D representation as useful as possible however there are always other guides, lines, annotations that can be added. I think the cladding and wainscoting are shown with a similar dashed line but if need be I could also make this more granular and utilize different line types.

The one thing I find missing with SU is the ability to utilize more line types (like AutoCad). It would be nice if I could draw a line with double dashes or a water line with a -w- shown in evenly space intervals. Maybe there is already a plugin for this?

This is actually a great question and am important one. I don’t agree with it being an odd question at all. Seasoned or not this is a big ticket item to have a good workflow on when designing or documenting.

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Whatever you dimension probably will not be the same on site!

I don’t know how that’s a useful comment to make…? The point is that if you work with good contractors, they should layout what you have dimensioned. Of course nothing is perfect, but that doesn’t mean a designer shouldn’t dimension with accuracy. I wouldn’t design based on assumptions like that. Put the intent into the drawings and let the builder be responsible for following through. If a designer or architect is worried about there builder not being able to layout the plan accordingly, than the architect or designer should maybe look into finding another builder instead.

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Any decent carpenter should be able to work with just center lines for windows and doors. There is no need to dimension every stud. Just a 16" OC or 24" OC, should be sufficient. You might describe your preferred corner style, headers, the normal stuff. . .

Just an reminder that regardless what you dimension you should allow for tolerances and flexibility in your design…joints, scribe pieces etc

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From my experience of 35 years, I find the primary dimension in the plans and elevations should be set according to the process of construction. For a wood or steel stud with a brick veneer, the dimension goes to the stud. The stud wall goes in first and the brick and sheathing are set after. The face of the brick is set by the brick ledge that is dimensioned in the foundation plan. A 1/4"/1’ plan or elevation cannot show any helpful references to layers of gyp, sheathing, etc.

Details are shown on a completely separate model at scales of 1-1/“2 to 3” per foot and up. Every detail will show the primary dimension as a reference.

If the building is a steel or wood column structure (preengineered etc.) then the primary dimension is the centerline or maybe the outside line of the columns.

This process also makes the models easier to manage and changes easier to make.

Just my thoughts.