Updated: Nov 16, 2020
According to the results of a survey conducted by Construction Computer Software (CCS) amongst its clients, stakeholders and industry partners, the lockdown has compelled the construction industry to think more strategically about the adoption of technology, especially as it relates to communication and collaboration. With Covid 19 having a globally disruptive effect on a multitude of industries, especially on construction, businesses are having to think strategically in order to survive. The AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) sector in particular is having to find new ways to collaborate, share content, project manage and automate processes in a digital way to promote safety, reduce overheads, grow profit margins and find new business. While new technology and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone can seem daunting, there are a number of hardware and software solutions currently on the market that can not only simplify and streamline workflows but also reduce long term running costs, save time and minimise error. If you are wanting to embrace new technology but aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tools and services that may be a great benefit to your business:
Scan-to-BIM: Everything you need to know
Scan-to-BIM uses 3D scanning to digitally capture volumetric spaces like land, buildings, construction sites, mines, forests, excavations or even waterways and convert them into BIM (Building Information Modelling) models. The primary method of scan-to-BIM is to use 3D laser scanners to capture a high-density point cloud of a physical building, structure, or site, which leads to the creation and maintenance of a BIM model that reflects "as-is" conditions. Applications for using scan-to-BIM can range from as-built documentation, project renovations and additions, or even facility management. Models made with scan-to-BIM are also incredibly useful for comparing against original plans, topographic registration, and tolerance checks on new builds. Here is what you need to perform a scan-to-BIM process…
1. A 3D scanner/camera: There are a number of scanners or 360 cameras on the market which you can use to scan your asset or project. You will need to choose a device based on your needs and requirements ie. image quality, point cloud data vs photogrammetry, size and scale of the project. Our recommendation is the PX-80 Lidar Scanner – this device is ideal for medium to large scale projects, can be used indoors and outdoors, is handheld and mobile, offers both point cloud data and video imagery, and has a scanning distance of up to an 80-meter radius while you walk. To find out more about this product click here.
2. Scan processing / registering software: Again, there are a number of options on the market for processing software as well as a number of free options like Cloud Compare, VisionLidar Limited, and BimVision. Depending on the level of editing and features you require you may need to upgrade to a paid service. We recommend VisionLidar, we find the paid version offers a lot more features and automation which the free version doesn’t. To find out more about this software and package options click here.
3. BIM Software like Autodesk's CAD, Revit or VisionBIM – This software will allow you to convert your processed 3D scan into a final 3D BIM Model. There are a number of options out there you can use – some BIM software will require manual modeling of your design around the 3D scan while others, like VisionBIM for example, can automatically detect assets within your 3D scan and convert to a finished 3D BIM model for you. We recommend VisionBIM because of the flexibility and automation capabilities. To find out more about this product click here.
If you don’t want to invest in purchasing these products, you can always use a service provider to assist with the scan-to-BIM conversion. To find out more about these services click here. Who can use this technology - Applications & Use Cases 3D scanning and scan-to-BIM is not limited to the AEC industry, there are many applications and use cases for this type of technology. Some applications and use cases where this technology is beneficial are:
- Architecture - Construction project tracking - Insurance records - Facilities management - Historic preservation - Forestry - Mining - Stockpile management - Renovations - Documenting and record-keeping - Site inspections and tolerance checks
- Film, media and production
- Geospatial mapping & surveying
What are the benefits of using this technology? This technology, like any other, is designed to make life easier. There are a number of benefits to using these tools depending on your use case, but the most notable benefits are: - Time Saving: Save hours on having to travel to sites for inspections, designing models/plans, and improved workflows and operations. - Money Saving: Saving time means you are saving money on things like staff and operational overheads. - Improved Workflows: Data collection requires careful planning and is time-consuming, even more so if the BIM model of an existing building needs updating regularly. Automating & digitising this process can streamline operations and improve workflows. - Minimise Errors: Accurate calculations, measurements, costings and project management also means minimising errors and saving on costs and time. It also means happier clients and a high level of professionalism. To find out more or demo this technology, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.archi-tech.co.za