Efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. How can your team capture highly accurate data that can be manipulated to fill a variety of needs and utilized across these three disciplines—all on a tight timeline? The answer lies in Building Information Modeling (BIM), a process used for facilities management, design, maintenance, and planning for maintenance costs over time. BIM allows for a more efficient transfer of knowledge and coordination across teams and project phases.
The BIM process is made all the more efficient with the help of 3D scanning. When 3D scanning systems are used in place of traditional hand measuring methods, projects see an immense increase in speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Here’s how the technology paves the way for effective Building Information Modeling.
BIM Before 3D Scanning Systems
BIM models are created by adding specific information about materials for MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) and building structural materials. Traditionally, BIM was utilized without the help of 3D scanning systems. That means that BIM modelers would send a team out with tape measures, and that team would have to measure an often complex mechanical space filled with machinery. That team then returned to the office and the BIM modelers started working—only to discover that they needed additional information to complete their model. The team would then need to return to the site to take further measurements.
As you can imagine, this approach extends a project’s timeline and can also lead to inaccuracies in the final BIM model—not the type of return you’d want to see. Fortunately, 3D scanning systems offer a quicker, higher accuracy and more complete route to creating a model into which critical information can be entered.
What 3D Scanning Can Do for Building Information Modeling
Here are some of the most pertinent advantages of using 3D scanning to create a complete BIM model with end-user added information.
1. Efficient Process
That traditional timeline that we mentioned? Speed it up times seven or eight, and you’ll arrive at the efficiency offered by 3D scanning systems. Incorporating 3D scanning into the BIM process works to eliminate the risk of construction interferences and can ultimately speed up the design process. Instead of waiting on hand measurements or another team’s data, designers and other key players will have immediate collaborative access to the necessary information and be able to make decisions swiftly and efficiently, all thanks to the point cloud data gathered during a terrestrial 3D scan.
2. Accurate Measurements
In the coming years, we fully expect to see more and more companies putting down the tape measures in favor of 3D scanning systems. Demand for quality assurance and reliability drives progress across the AEC industry with 3D scanning to BIM and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) being two powerhouse examples. The use of 3D laser scanners over traditional hand measuring methods vastly improves the accuracy of the final BIM model which also greatly benefits VDC.
When we talk about accuracy issues from traditional hand measurements, we aren’t even referring to micrometers here; we’ve seen far too many traditional BIM projects end up with walls off by multiple feet, or equipment that doesn’t fit the way it’s supposed to. Using 3D scanning for BIM modeling ensures that you have accurate information to begin with—information that will remain useful for years.
3. Compatible Data
Before you can begin inputting BIM data, you’ll need your model. At Laser Design, we use extremely accurate 3D scan data to produce an AutoDesk® Revit 3D model, which provides the framework for information to be added to 3D-modeled objects within that model.
The Revit model includes basic BIM information, such as:
- Length, width, and height of 3D objects
- Basic object definition, i.e., identifying a 3D object as a wall, floor, beam, column, duct, or pipe
The point cloud data captured by the 3D scan of your space can also be translated into a highly detailed CAD model, ensuring that you get the most out of your scan.
4. Versatile Results for Multiple Uses
BIM allows for the sharing of a 3D database between pertinent engineering and maintenance teams for all aspects of construction, maintenance, and systems management in commercial buildings, plants, and manufacturing facilities. The modeled elements within the 3D Revit model contain the fields that teams will be able to populate with pertinent data.
The collaborative nature of BIM lends itself to a number of uses, including facilities management and maintenance. If you’re maintaining or adding onto a facility that has only been documented in 2D prints, for example, Laser Design can produce a comprehensive, as-built 3D Revit model geometry of building elements—allowing your team to grasp the big picture and prepare for current and future needs.
5. Return on Investment
BIM is already streamlining processes, reducing project errors, and contributing to the overall quality of a project. In fact, 96 percent of BIM users achieve a positive ROI. Just imagine how high your satisfaction and quality rates will soar with 3D scanning services simplifying and speeding up the process even further. That’s not to mention the cost savings you’ll see, both in terms of labor reduction and eliminating potential future construction errors.
Ready to Make Use of 3D Scanning for BIM?
If you’re searching for ways to streamline the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of your next project, introducing BIM to your workflow is an excellent first step. The next step? Eliminating lengthy timelines, site revisits, and costs with 3D scanning. The knowledgeable team at Laser Design is happy to talk more about the benefits of incorporating 3D scanning systems into the BIM process or answer any questions you may have about our services. Reach out today to start a discussion.