Block walls

Re: block walls: I note that you call up Boral 100/150/200 block sizes in the Material selection but the walls are set to 90/140/190.
Yes that’s the actual thickness of blocks but it is accepted throughout the industry that blocklayers prefer to work to the nearest 100mm and add or drop gauge where they need. Believe me; we’ve had working drawings sent to us from builders prepared by southern architects and ask us to convert to ‘block gauge’

Maybe its saying something about blockies… maybe not.

Hi Andrew,

We are working from actual thicknesses. A block layer can add 100mm but it isn’t actually correct. Changing the sizes could be a bad thing but could also be a good thing.

Ill get back to you on this.

I would be interested in hearing from all in the community on this one.
I do know from experience when timber walls are drawn as 100mm as opposed to 90mm, the headaches that occur onsite can be costly and frustrating.

If a wall is drawn as 100 and the timber is actually 90 which side of the line do we go to? Ideally the centre yet that requires marking out 3 lines instead of 2. On an average house this equates to 2 hours work.
Most of the time the person setting out the job would usually only mark one side of the line and use a cross to symbolise the side of the line the wall is to be placed. This is where the problem comes in. If the external wall was at zero and the next wall was at 3m (frames 90m yet drawn as 100) the set out would be what? It is easy to get the first wall out by 10mm which really has no bearing on the job in most case. The problem compounds when the next wall is out 20 and the next 30 and the next 40 ETC.
Most building are not square so the drafts person would always dimension from the external wall. If the external wall on the apposite side of the building is set back 3m where does the set out start? In the old days we used to use profiles and measure off the profile and in some cases drafties would even dimension to the profile. This practice stopped when milled timber sizes were introduced in the 80s, In my opinion so too should have the nominal size drafting.
I know there are few builders here, if you get a spare minute let us know your preference.

I think that the walls should be drawn as per the structural dimension. Ie. if the wall is 90mm timber, then the wall is drawn at 90mm (exactly for the reasons that you outlined above).

In so saying however, from an architectural/design standpoint - ideally, I would like to be able to have the option to turn on/show the finished wall thickness. This is incredibly useful and important in the design process - particularly when trying to achieve minimum widths/space sizes (circulation spaces, rooms widths, etc). A lot of architects and designers fail to take into account the ‘finished’ wall thickness when working out these spaces. For example, if the minimum circulation space is 800mm for a particuar situation (just as an example), the architect/designer will measure from the structural finish, and not take into account the actual wall finish thickness. Therefore, the required 800mm that they have ‘achieved’ is in actual fact 790mm or 780mm (depending on the finish material/lining)!

Having the option gives one the ability to easily switch between structural and finish wall thicknesses. I understand that this could drastically increase file sizes, etc - but I think that the merits for having the option, outweigh the negatives.

The danger is that someone will set up their floor plans with the finished wall thickness and take their dimensions from that. However, if the default floor plans is to turn off the finished wall thickness, I think this solves the problem - and if someone changes the default to include the finished wall thickness, this is solely their mistake.



In short, can we have a scene set up, which shows finished wall thicknesses? When we go to the floor plan scenes, it would turn off this layer.

I would love to have the ability to design with the ‘finished wall thickness’ - and then in the actual floorplans - revert to the structural wall thickness, for dimensions (construction documentation). This is definitely on my wish list!



The other option is that no walls have materials, and they only have the structural thickness. Therefore in the main wall tool, you can only select the structural elements (single brick; double brick; block; timber stud; metal stud, etc). When you want to assign a material to a wall (external/internal), you use the new wall lining tool (in which you can select and show the material/product and the thickness of that material. Perhaps this layer also contains the insulation choice, so that the insulation is given thickness also. The plan scenes/views only display the structural walls and not the wall linings/materials or insulation.

Just a thought.



@Drew, I like what you suggest. “The other option is that no walls have materials, and they only have the structural thickness” +1
It would seem to be a more flexible method.


I agree. The floor and wall ‘material/product lining’ tool (the wall one being new) are amazing, and seem the best way of applying products/materials (due to the flexibility - eg. being able to create different materials on the same floor or wall). This way the walls are merely the structural elements. The only problem is if you change a wall, the material wont automatically adjust. But I do not see this as being a major problem. The slab and roof tools work in the same way. Just like the slab and roof tool, it would be great if the wall materials/product could be assigned to the external and internal faces by selecting a wall(s), right clicking, and assigning a material/product by face.

This would require a slight rework of the current system though, so I am unsure of its suitability. Also, you lose some interchangeability (easily being able to move walls, and keeping the materials aligned, etc).

The good thing about being made to draw/select faces for floor linings and wall linings (rather than them being automatic) - is that it makes you aware of required set-downs and junctions between materials, corners, etc.

I would like to hear Andrew Dwight’s and the PlusSpec teams’ thoughts on this. Either way, I think that it would be extremely useful for being able to show structural, as well as overall finished wall thicknesses. This would assist in successful design outcomes, as well as speeding up the workflow and perfecting sections and details.



No problem, we will have a mess with it when we get some time. It will add extra boxes to the material list. Currently we have a few major adjustments to make so it will not be in the next couple of releases. Sorry.

Good discussion guys, [sorry, been away for a while]
For me, definitely the structural thickness of the wall. as for external cladding / internal lining I pick that up in more detailed layouts ie: room layouts / door details. I know if goes flies in the face of the original reason for this post but for everything other than blockwork it should be done this way.
Blockwork construction has been always been drawn and dimensioned to a 200mm module.

We will test this out andrew and see what the other guys in the office think and see if they agree.

Thank you everyone for replying to this post. It means a lot, we can see that you guys are behind us and want the best for PlusSpec. Keep the great posts up and we will keep improving.


PlusSpec is amazing! But what is more amazing is how open to ideas and suggestions the PlusSpec team are. Due to this (as well as the quality of the program), PlusSpec will only go from strength to strength!

Keep up the great work guys, and thanks for listening!



Guys, Any more movement on this being changed to 200mm rather than 190mm?

Hi Andrewwc,

Personally, I think that it should remain unchanged (and show the actual 190mm). I think that it would be a problem to diverge from actual material thicknesses!

In my opinion, all materials should be shown at actual material thicknesses. The drawings need to be correct - and reflect accurate structural and material thicknesses. If trades have a particular way of rounding up/down/etc, they are entitled to do so. As what Andrew Dwight stated, a block layer can add 100mm, but it isn’t actually correct. From an architectural point-of-view, I need the walls and materials to be accurate on my drawings. The trades can simply adjust these drawings as per the methodology of the area (country, state, etc).

This is why this thread diverged slightly, in discussing the possibility of showing the structural as well as finished thicknesses of walls.

I agree with you, mate. For all elements other than blockwork. It just won’t work in area of high use of blockwork. Builders/Blockies get the shits with me if I produce a set of plans dimensioning 190 block…