BIM Modelling from Laser Scanning Surveys
Our background in Engineering has given us a clear advantage in the area of 3D models as the process industry has been using these for the last 30 years. Consequently since our start-up 15 years ago we have developed a particular expertise in all aspects of Building Information Modelling (BIM) utilising laser scanning as the main tool.
BIM is centred around an intelligent multi-discipline 3-D CAD platform and is becoming increasingly adopted worldwide where it adds value to deliver :
- Optimum design
- Clash detection
- Operability and most importantly
- Reduced CAPEX and OPEX costs.
Building Information Modelling is database-building. BIM is changing the architecture and design industry because it creates an environment for architects, designers and engineers to collaborate on a common body of project knowledge. Large or small teams can work confidently and efficiently because project decisions are resolved in one place.
From Laser Scanning Survey to 3D BIM Model
Many industry sectors lend themselves to using laser scanning as the starting point for producing a 3D BIM Model. For example :
Process Plant - Structures, equipment,cable tray, ducting and pipework can be scanned and the relevant areas modelled to allow new equipment/pipework etc to be designed using accurate as-built data.
Buildings - Renovations and New Build - importing the design model into the pointcloud of the building structure can highlight any potential clashes between the structural elements and the MEP services before they cause a problem and subsequent rework on site
Structures - We have surveyed and produced as-built 3D models of numerous bridges and tunnels which allowed the engineers and designers to use accurate survey data for the investigation/repair/renovation work
Civil - We have numerous examples of civil surveys resulting in a 3D or more recently a 3D BIM model in the rail sector including embankments, stations etc.
MEP - These services tend usually to be "hidden" in ceiling or roof voids and are often difficult to trace. We can elevate the laser scanner into the void to scan the area and provide an as-built BIM model of these services. We also have a hand held scanner for "awkward" areas where there is no space to mount the normal scanners.
In an ideal world it is immensely beneficial to have early involvement with ourselves to review the BIM Implementation Plan/Strategy to agree :
- Scope - What is it that needs scanning ? – marked up drawings/sketches – site visit
- Coordinate system - local, site, OS
- Deliverables - Drawings, 3D BIM model, level of detail required - just major features such as wall, floors etc or including switches, services etc
- Final Format
Once the BIM Implementation Plan has been agreed and access to the site is finalised we can commence with the survey.
BIM Models – the initial as-built BIM 3D model created from the laser scan data is used as the initial design model, which can be manipulated, changed, analysed and adapted throughout the project life cycle.
MEP (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing) – we use the scan data to identify the position of existing MEP or space for new MEP and specialised software can then be used to accurately create an intelligent 3D utilities model/plan
Computational Analysis – 3D BIM models can be used for :
- Structural Analysis
- Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and within other
- Computational Analysis tools
Surveys for Revit Terrain - On new build sites
Marketing and Media – BIM models can be visualised and rendered for use in promotional campaigns and media releases
The Government now requires the use of collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic) on all its projects and this will cover buildings, structures and transport projects. We are ideally placed as early adopters of laser scanning workflows with 14+ years specialism in 3D modelling from pointclouds and due to our background experience in process engineering we have over 30 years experience in 3D design environments.
Level 2 BIM requires the adoption of a new workflow as well as detailed collaboration between all project parties. We can assist at the commencement of a project in the production of the BIM Execution plan which should identify exactly how the model will :
- be coordinated
- be created
- be stored
- highlight the level of attribute information or parametric links the final BIM model will require
In refurbishment of older and listed buildings, preservation and protection of the architectural features is a vital issue and by utilising laser scanning to produce the 3D BIM model we can ensure that such features are captured to an extremely high level of detail. Should any damage come about as a result of the renovation an accurate model can be produced from the pointcloud data to replicate/repair the damaged feature.
In many cases we are also asked to colourise the scan data and this is easily done by utilising our iStar Camera to take HDR quality photographs. Our specialist software imports both the pointcloud and photographs and merges the two to produce the colourised pointcloud.
We can also utilise the scanner on-board camera to take photographs where it is not feasible to use the iStar.