An accurate model of existing conditions in a building or plant is worth its weight in gold to the designer of a renovation or equipment installation project. And that’s created incredible opportunities for automated scanning and modeling technologies.
Accurate as-built models provide compounding payoff.
Just about every project planned for an existing structure can benefit from a high-quality representation of the as-built environment. Architects can design expansions and renovations more precisely when they know exactly where walls and support features are located. And pre-fab HVAC and plumbing systems can be installed much faster and at less expense when they fit perfectly into the as-built space.
The payoff is a project completed on time and on budget with minimal change orders.
This demand for accurate 3D as-built models has been a driving force in the rapid emergence of advanced scanning and modeling technologies. Just a decade ago, designers documented existing conditions on project sites with tape measures and eyeballs, a time-consuming process rife with measuring errors, omissions and inconsistencies. These mistakes compounded with each step in the model-design-build process, often resulting in expensive re-designs.
We now have laser scanners that capture unbiased point clouds of interior and exterior structures with millimeter-accuracy in a matter of minutes. Availability of these now-affordable devices has provided remarkable benefits to the AEC industry…along with challenges. Human nature being what it is, we now scan increasingly complex environments that never would have been attempted in the past.
Technology speeds transition from existing conditions to accurate model.
As a result, the modeling of structural, MEP and architectural features from complex point clouds quickly exceeded the capabilities of manual methods. Computerized modeling technologies have been created to process these massive point clouds and properly exploit their amazing detail. This has driven development of automated algorithms that extract accurate 3D models from laser data faster and more accurately than was possible before.
Just as errors in manual methods of documenting existing conditions once snowballed from drawing board to field, automated technologies are amplifying the benefits of 3D as-built models. Architects and construction engineers alike are confident every phase of their projects will proceed as planned when existing conditions have been accurately modeled.