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How Does BIM and 3D Laser Scanning Work Together?

by Cindy on June 17, 2015

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been around for years. Now 3D Laser Scanning is becoming the key tool to use for interior projects with no prior documentation to create a BIM.  Many existing buildings do not have as-built plans or even design plans that can be found; yet the owner wants a BIM created in the most efficient and cost effective way.  3D laser scanning is an aid in creating BIM’s to meet those demands.

Typically, on such projects, crews are sent in with measuring devices and sketch pads to create sketches of the areas. That information is reduced and input into a computer program, typically AutoCAD Revit™.  Nowadays high definition 3D laser scanning is being use to aid in this process.  Not only are the key dimensions being captured, but also is a high level of detail.  Ceiling heights, cabinets, cubicles, and other assets are all obtained, not to mention color photos that are collected as a part of the same data collection process.  Not only does this save time on-site, it saves even more time when return trips to the site are necessary.  The 3D point cloud can be viewed right from a person’s desktop just as if they are on the job site. In our industry, we are noticing that this technology, together with traditional survey crews and equipment used to measure less critical areas, is consistently producing BIM models that are very valuable to the owners.

These BIM models are being used for asset management, redesign, facility management, construction management, and future planning.  Being able to use 3D laser scanning not only helps in creating BIM efficiently and in a cost effective way, it allows existing BIM’s to be updated efficiently as well.