All successful building construction or renovation projects depend on initial planning and design work. For projects to run smoothly with limited errors and minimal health and safety risks, we must rely on the latest technology to improve efficiency and productivity while reducing costs. 3D laser scanning is a construction technology that has become popular in the building industry due to its ability to quickly produce highly accurate 3D measurements.
3D laser scanning is an innovative technology that offers construction professionals a way to replicate a building in 3D to improve accuracy and efficiency from start to finish throughout the construction process. A 3D laser scanner is a device that allows the builder to scan the entire building without physical contact.
The 3D laser scanner emits a laser that bounces off the surface of the building, creating point clouds, which are the connected points in a 3D coordinate system. These point clouds capture the exact shape and dimension of the surface, generating an extremely accurate representation of the building.
Backed by powerful software, the 3D scanner translates the measurements it captures into a digital three-dimensional replica of what it measures. 3D scanners not only capture generic surface sizes, they identify precise details about the surface, including subtle contours and complex geometric differences from point to point. This range creates a wealth of useful data that construction professionals can use to design and build accurate projects, including custom modifications, renovations, and new buildings.
The laser scanner works by projecting structured light onto the surface of the object it is scanning. As the object is captured, the scanner's camera sensors record the changing distance and shape of the object that the laser line passes by. The cameras record the continuous change of distance and shape in three dimensions. These shapes and distances are converted into millions of data points. The person using the scanner must ensure that the laser is at the correct angle and aimed directly at each part of the object's surface to fully capture it.
Using software, these points are merged into a complete object data file, that is, a complete three- dimensional representation of each scanned object. From there, the 3D image can be loaded into various drawing or building information modeling software – BIM (Autodesk Revit, Graphisoft Archicad, Autocad, Navisworks, …). Where the data from the 3D laser scan can be compared to the designer's CAD drawings and show any discrepancies between the two models. This comparison allows designers to update their drawings according to the accuracies produced by the scanner.
3D laser scanning in reforms of buildings, homes and commercial premises
Most building, home , and commercial renovations are done on older buildings that date back to before the existence of modern building information modeling software. The original drawings of these houses were probably drawn in a 2D computer-aided design (CAD) program, at best, or entirely by hand, at worst. When planning a renovation project, contractors should check these drawings and make sure they accurately represent the current state of the home. Traditionally, contractors visit the site, take measurements by hand, draw the house on a notepad, and recreate the drawing using BIM software.
By using 3D lasers in building renovations, we can avoid the inefficient process of taking measurements by hand and transferring your hand sketches into a software program. Instead, builders working on renovation projects can use the laser scanner to measure the entire existing building and work with the generated 3D model to carry out renovations. This ability makes it possible to get an accurate picture of the house compared to existing drawings or manual measurements.
Ultimately, 3D models dramatically improve the accuracy and quality of the final product, especially in renovations, which aim to update homes with the latest mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or other improvements.
Laser scanning of buildings for BIM models
Modeling Architecture / Structure from point cloud
Detailed modeling of MEP installations from point clouds
Advantages of 3D laser scanning in the construction and remodeling of homes, buildings and commercial premises
Here are some of the main advantages of 3D laser scanning in home construction and renovation:
Collect accurate construction documentation
3D laser scanning in construction and renovation provides a solution to collect the most accurate construction documentation possible. Before 3D laser scanning, designers, contractors, or engineers would visit the site with a tape measure and sketch pad, take measurements by hand, and draw what they saw. The outlined records would then be transferred to a digital record. This process is still standard in home construction, but it does present opportunities for human error.
With this manual method, builders often record information incorrectly and sometimes skip sections entirely, requiring additional site visits later to record missing data. Transferring hand-drawn sketches to a digital version introduces another layer of possible human error. Also, manual measurements and drawings can only provide so much detail. 3D laser scanning captures subtle details to paint a much more accurate picture of the building. Accurate 3D laser scan data also provides permanent records that builders can access for later use, speeding up future work.
Improve collaboration between construction professionals
Having an accurate 3D scanned version of the building records also improves collaboration between the various professionals working on the project. During construction, it is common for different building systems to occur simultaneously, thus physically interfering with each other. Without an accurate building model, builders cannot correctly identify these conflicts on the plans prior to physical installation, which means they must be resolved once construction is complete.
A central digital file with an accurate 3D representation of the building prevents clashes, particularly between mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Working from a single shared file gives all professionals better visibility and more accurate information so everyone can work collaboratively. For example, 3D laser scanning can mitigate the risk of conduits impeding electrical installations due to poor placement.
MEP managers can accurately manufacture and install equipment and products based on the most up-to-date version of the 3D scanned model. Whether it's HVAC equipment, electrical systems, piping or ductwork, builders can coordinate all installations to avoid errors in the physical positioning of each system. Plus, with accurate 3D scan data, contractors can avoid the issues that arise with scope discrepancies and subsequent contract disputes.
Point cloud from laser scanning
Detailed modeling from point cloud
BIM model LOD 300
Streamlines Building Progress
One of the significant advantages of 3D laser scanning is that contractors can continually update digital drawings throughout the project. 3D laser scanning also gives you access to the information you need on demand. Having the ability to gain an accurate view of the current status of the project can dramatically speed up the construction process. This information speeds up the initial planning phase and increases productivity throughout the project.
Because each scanned version of the building remains on file, contractors can quickly compare previous versions of the building to the current one, identifying differences from one phase of construction to the next. As a result, contractors can adjust their production schedule because it allows them to anticipate necessary changes ahead of time and before they actually do the work.
Prevents costly and time-consuming rework
It is no secret that rework is typical during construction projects. Having to reinstall specific components due to an error adds budget constraints due to additional labor and supply costs and prolongs the project as a whole. Ultimately, rework is one of the biggest obstacles in construction.
Both insufficient designs and lack of communication are two reasons why mistakes occur in construction projects. The use of 3D lasers in home construction and renovation can help mitigate these risk factors. In renovations, 3D laser scan models accurately represent the existing building, allowing owners and contractors to plan work ahead of time.
In both renovations and custom home construction, having up-to-date 3D scan data helps builders identify discrepancies with the original plan, allowing them to intervene before that part of the project is complete. By identifying and resolving design issues before they arise, you can avoid the need for costly and time-consuming rework.
Reduce health and safety risks
The traditional method of measuring by hand can sometimes present health and safety risks, especially in a renovation project. When a worker needs to visit a site to take measurements in confined spaces, there is always a safety risk, whether due to injury or exposure to old building materials, such as asbestos. However, contractors should measure attics, cellars, and cellars, despite these potential hazards.
The use of 3D laser scanning technology can mitigate these health and safety risks. 3D laser scanners are portable, non-contact devices that give workers the ability to quickly capture construction data in these confined spaces, reducing their exposure and time spent in these hazardous environments.
Additionally, 3D laser scanning can accurately capture data from hard-to-reach spaces, such as high ceilings or raised ducts. This capability eliminates the need for workers to use ladders or spend significant time at heights.
Ensures better structural integrity
Another reason to use 3D laser scanning in renovations is that it ensures a higher quality final product, especially when it comes to structural integrity. Being able to correctly plan the structural framework of the house is crucial to ensure the physical strength, stability and safety of the house. In the renovations we need to obtain all the necessary existing measures so that they can conserve, update or replace structural elements.
In addition, having structural project records ensures that construction progresses accurately according to design. In general, 3D laser scanning gives you a digital record to refer to when making sure builders are correctly installing all structural components and materials in their proper location. This information ensures a higher quality in the final product and that the home lasts longer and requires fewer repairs or additional renovations in the future.