PlusSpec Tutorials

Really like what we believe we can see so far with PlusSpec and the product support but we are struggling with video resolution as it relates to component details and tagging. For us these would be a determining factor on if and/or how many licenses we would anticipate. For example we can see that there are wall component selections available but cant tell whether or not they have both dimensional lumber and studs available? Would we have to draw these then tag? We can see cost data is input on BOM but not sure if this is meta data, how it’s tagged or how it’s stored (database).

We are general contractors and most of our projects involve a blend of commercial and wood frame buildings with related site work. Our role (prior to construction) is to establish the construction budget, update and perform a lot of VE. For this we rely solely on our own in-house QTO and cost data. On some areas of our estimate we’d like to add LOD and this is where we thought PlusSpec could be a potential asset (man-hrs req’d for LOD).

Would appreciate hearing from anyone that might have suggestions on resources beyond the training videos and related narrative that we could look at.

Michael M.

Hi Michaelm,

Thanks for your post.

I will have Andrew reply to your comment shortly.

Hi Michael, thanks for commenting, I apologize for the slow reply I have been in the USA for a couple of weeks. I do hope the following helps answer your questions.

I have attached a screenshot on how to deal with resolution on Youtube. All of our video are high res, yet Youtube may automatically reduce the resolution according to your internet connection speed. You can override this yet you may find that the streaming is slower.Youtube resolution on PlusSpec videos.jpg

I am not aware of this terminology ( or where you are placed in the world yet I assume you are talking about nominal lumber size (10050) and actual size (9045 in Australia). In Australia we deal in the actual size of the lumber as this is standard indusrty practice, in the USA we assume the same 2*10 being nominal yet the actual size is 1 1/2" x 9 1/4" however if you do want to use any sectional size you can do this by creating your own material (you may have a timber mill or you may be using recycled lumber). I have attached an image.wood sizes in the USA nominal and actual.png

Basically you select the items or group of items that you want to add prices and PlusSpec gives you the opportunity to save for next time or use it as a one time value. I have done a quick youtube video for you here You can use the tag tool for adding information without having to draw geometry. If you want to add geometry and then add information, use the BIM tool.

PlusSpec was developed specifically for residential construction, in saying that many of our users use it for things I had never dreamed of. You can add in related site work or allowances by using the tag tool or the BIM tool. You can define these as text in a model or a as a physical model/ placeholder. I do this on all of my jobs as I like to have one central location of data. I find things can easily be missed if they are stored in different areas. I would then do a BOQ on the model and export an xml (excel document) and load them into my financial software. Stay tuned for more info on this.

I am not familiar with the term VE, yet I will try and answer from what I do understand
I (my construction company) do (or did, I now 100% work for PlusSpec) a very similar thing as far as cost estimating and feasibility studies. I needed to know where my costs are being incurred and I use the “hide” functionality in Sketchup to break down costs. Basically PlusSpec will only estimate what you are looking at on screen, if you hide something or turn a layer off it will not estimate. This allows you segmentalize the QTO and you can save scenes that help you redo the same after alteration of the geometry.
breakdown the quantities or estimate place holders even text.jpg
I think a lot of people miss one of the most important and valuable things about PlusSpec. Basically PlusSpec does a majority of the construction virtually and this in itself saves 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars in errors or clashes. Being able to see where potential issues or clashes occur virtually gives insight on a project that of which can not be obtained in a 2D drawing. Being able to follow load paths through structure or seeing how materials look and interact with their surroundings is the ultimate outcome. Not only do I use Plusspec to do this I use it to communicate with clients, trades & supplier and the best thing is you can add in information and time stamp variations and have them appear in the take off. Utilising PlusSpec to its full potential raised my construction businesses net profit rise by 15%.

You can use a tag tool to add in extra hours if you so choose. As you would be aware building is a science, estimating projects on Square foot or Square meter ratios is a recipe for disaster. Basically it is a guessing game where someone always loses. PlusSpec works on actuals just the way we order and build. In a perfect world your designer or architect would do the drawing in PlusSpec and Sketchup and then pass the model onto the following people including the client. If the estimate is based on the model there is no room for argument. The builder can do the BOQ and add in structure (for the engineer to approve) or even comment and communicate with the designer or client. The whole aim of what we do as builders or tradespeople, is to understand design intent, implement structural intent, comment on potential issues outside of our control, sort out problems before they hit the jobsite and build the best quality project that money allows us to. Nothing more and nothing less. As you can probably tell I am passionate about design and construction and I aim to produce the best tools to complete projects.

We do provide one on one training and you can do it from the comfort of your own office. You can register through the website, however we also have monthly free webinars that you can attend that are done by Construction software Australia.


Thanks for the quick response to our posting. Our delay in acknowledging was workload driven, since our post this is the 1st day I’ve had time to review/reply. Your resolution suggestion put us in the right direction, we “disabled auto-detect” setting and went with normal speed HD1080 and that seems to have made a big difference. I’ll know more after going back to some of the tutorials.

We are anxious to see if PlusSpec will be a tool we can use in our estimating process. We, like all contractors, estimate with some degree of assembly(s) but our LOD and assembly structure for specific items can be much different than a bidding sub-contractor who is expert in their trade and structuring their bids. For any project there are a number of factors determining how we set up pricing and QTO LOD including; estimate or cost model, drawings (SD/DD/CD), % completion, work division and item. These are all performed to mirror our costing data (an internal and ongoing process for 23 years). Our reference to VE (value engineering) was only in reference to one of our functions in the project process.

Where we think PlusSpec may be an asset for us is in terms of not only “QTO man-hours” but also in visualization where we know it will be a great tool. What we will be looking for is the amount of set up and maintenance time required to build assemblies according to the way we use them (much different between GC’s providing labor vs. not).

Thanks again Andrew for the quick reply and help. I’ll be looking at the “tag” link you posted here shortly and will follow up if we have questions.

Michael M.

Andrew, … Reply to my own comments … (if we can do that?) … I just finished looking at the link you sent for tagging data and also inputting to cost database(s) … very helpful answered a number of questions I had related to assemblies that may be unique to us … that with the screen resolution has helped a lot … I’ll go back and brush up on the tutorials and I think the details will be much clearer now … thanks again and will post back if I have questions …

Michael M.