Augmented Construction Communications

August 18, 2009

Project managers who are responsible for developing competitive marketing strategies, know that having a good idea is not nearly as important as presenting that idea effectively to potential clients.

Quick and Simple Graphic Information

As a new communications tool, many companies have learned that SketchUp is uniquely suited to produce the kind of graphic information that is often critical to explaining a particular approach to a construction contract.  Exploring this communicative potential and staying out in front of its power is essential in today’s competitive markets.

In fact, each of our construction modeling books ( is a research project intended to both explain and explore not only the practical potential of construction modeling, but also to illustrate alternate ways to deliver and transfer construction information.

Presenting Construction Concepts

At the same time, constructors building 3D construction models for their projects also know that almost any model can be quickly cut and pasted from in-house libraries of previous projects.  Once a construction model is ready for distribution:

  1. Screenshots can be exported to illustrate a written proposal,
  2. Sequence animations can be embedded into presentation programs,
  3. Both the images and animations can be posted to the web.

For example, these are low resolution images of a research tool we use to explore alternative concepts for both construction and construction documentation.  The images were Exported from SketchUp and are fast to upload or email and simple to paste into a text editor, or slide show.

A video animation of the model can also be uploaded to You-Tube.  This particular video is a simplified version of a more comprehensive construction model found in our book, Living SMALL.

You-Tube animations can be embedded in an email, web page, or viewed by anyone who visits their site.  Alternately, controls can be set to limit viewers to a restricted group of project players.

The SketchUp construction model

The actual SketchUp file can also be uploaded to Google’s 3D Warehouse where anyone can download it, examine its details closely, or embed it in another construction model.  Downloads are done within SketchUp, but the file can also be picked up directly from the website containing the shared model.

Manufacturers and suppliers working to serve the needs of the design and construction industry use this feature to make models available of their own products.  You can download this model using this Tiny URL link to the Google Warehouse:

Note that because the model is also “geographically located” it is possible to view the model on Google Earth as a 3D Building.  All one needs is the address of the project to search and fly to its location.  As readers of our books know, Google Earth is a powerful program able to contextualize a jobsite and help in site utilization planning.

Hypergraphic Communications

In the end, what we’re seeing is a number of emerging communications technologies, including 3D modeling programs, high level presentation media, and growing social networking sites like this blog, Facebook, and MySpace that can be used to distribute construction information.

Each evolution of these technologies brings new power and potential to increasingly aggressive and innovative companies.  Giving those that understand how to use these new tools the ability to present their ideas clearly and communicate in ways that were once considered not only impossible, but unnecessary in the markets of just a couple years ago….

2 Responses to “Augmented Construction Communications”

  1. RJ Says:

    Hi..Another great way of working on a construction project is to take help from an online resource where you can get updated information about the major construction projects to be held in future. I am a subscriber of Construction Wire (, an online resource where you can get project reports of construction work done in any part of the world. You can also take the help of this online resource.

  2. Bravo for this blog, it’s the first that seems in line with my company’s philosophy regarding construction visualization: It doesn’t need to be complicated, just highly focused and well-organized. (everything else including all the BIM hype falls short thus far). Keep the focus on the construction message, avoid arsenals of nuance as seen in BIM and big 3d packages, get that job. I think I’ve even read that CV is something that is independent of sketchup; bravo: sketchup is but one tool in our toolbox; I’d say it’s the main tool, because of its convenience, though at times it needs a little assistance from its bigger brothers. SU is capable of quite a lot beyond the general construction sequence (GCS). We produce vignettes which illustrate what a user might see on approaching an active worksite, to help prove wayfinding works, to illustrate construction challenges. Coupled with orthoaerials the SU visualization is highly convincing to the audience, allowing the construction presenters to focus on their sales or preconstruction message, and not constant orienting. SU is especially effective when you don’t listen to what Google says you ought to do when modeling, resist the urge to “share” your model, and don’t rely on Google Earth to save you. We’ve produced models as large as a half gigabyte for sites in Ithaca, NY with stellar results. Land and sea can be modeled, even tunnel boring for Texas wet infrastructure. Have been doing CV since 2004, sketchup is increasingly the backbone of our production process; we’re able to turn out convincing CV in one to three weeks, even across entire campuses. I like sketchup because it cranks and isn’t clouded with useless nuance. Nice philosophy, excellent material!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s