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Get smarter and more accurate As-Built data using Scan to BIM

June 24, 2021


Manual data capturing may miss out on some information, laser scanning is more accurate and safe. People in the construction industry are fast adopting this technology to ensure they comply with health and safety regulations. With the laser scanner’s fast data capture and remote sensing ability, your construction crew's exposure to a harmful environment is minimized.

What is Scan to BIM?

Scan to BIM is developing a Building Information Model by laser scanning a facility. Scan to BIM is an evolutionary technology that is revolutionizing the way construction design and plans are prepared for already constructed structures. It is an ideal technique for retrofitting old structures or for developments for which the design or spatial drawings are not available.

What is Laser Scanning?

Reality capture using a laser scanner to map an area with high accuracy and a very high level of detail is laser scanning. The scanner is generally placed over a tripod at multiple locations at the site. When the laser beam hits any solid surface, its position is recorded as coordinates known as “points”.       

The data captured by the laser scanner consists of millions of connected points in a 3D coordinate system. Once all the points are gathered, the scanner will colorize it to create a 3D map of the site with multiple viewpoints, referred to as Point Cloud, representing a highly accurate digital picture.      

The point cloud data is cleaned, filtered, segmented, and registered. This processed data is used to create a more detailed and accurate BIM model using Revit software., Creates a permanent as-built record for both owners and facility managers. In the end, As-built data helps to build operations, renovations and future building additions, and even demolitions.

Laser Scanning Application 

Laser scanning is a highly accurate method to capture the details of an existing building or construction site. Because the process is quick and efficient, and the resulting 3D representation of site conditions is so accurate, laser scanning has become popular for a variety of building construction applications.

1. Laser scanning is the most efficient way to capture the architectural and MEP as-built information needed to create the 3D BIM model.

3D BIM model created from Laser Scaning, image

Study the area that needs to be captured to create the as-built drawings. If the area has a basic layout, analyze the required number of station points to capture the area. Station points are the scan locations where the scanner was placed to capture the existing conditions. Will Briefly explains the workflow of the scanner like initial setup, setting up a project using the app, adjusting scan settings, effective operation laser scanning, easily registering scans while onsite, transferring the data to a computer.

Set up the Laser Scanner on a stationary tripod and lock it. Start the Scanner and it's time to control the scanner utilizing the tab. Connect the scanner to the tablet through scanner inbuilt wifi and set up a project. Open the project and select the required scanning settings for example like low, medium & high these scanning settings differ from scanner to scanner. Once the scanner settings are fixed, it's time to go ahead and capture the existing conditions. Position the Scanner and capture the existing conditions and move the scanner to the next position and repeat the process. One important and basic principle is that scans need to have enough point cloud overlap between the scans. Register the scans in the field for better understanding and cross-checking.    

Say if it is a commercial building where you need to capture the above ceiling MEP services. Again it's the same strategy, the first job is to open the tiles and analyze the services and obstructions and fix the station positions. With the help of elevated tripods, place the scanner in such a way where the scanner captures the above ceiling services and part below the ceiling to get enough overlap to register the two scans. Repeat the process and capture the above ceiling services. Basic principle: while scanning above-ceiling services, the scanner should be placed in such a way that it captures below ceiling areas as well. This helps us to register the above ceiling scans data with below ceiling scans point cloud data. The point cloud data is cleaned, filtered, segmented, and registered using the registration software. Once the point cloud is registered it can be exported to different file formats. This registered point cloud data is used to create a more detailed and accurate BIM model.

2. Mapping Existing Site Conditions in Renovation Projects

Mapping Existing Site Conditions in Renovation Projects, image

Scan to BIM is an evolutionary technology that is changing the way construction design and planning are being designed for already made structures. It is an ideal technique for retrofitting old structures or for developments for which the design or spatial drawings are not available. 3D laser scanning provides accurate as-built conditions and reveals design issues early on in the construction process by capturing existing buildings, recording and documenting using 2D CAD drawings or BIM models, and then re-planning any new developments.


3. Construction Progress Monitoring

Construction lenders often require us to be their boots on the ground and report on the progress of a project. With Construction Progress Monitoring, the Partner will conduct regular, weekly, or monthly construction progress site assessments to ensure that the proposed improvements at the subject site are progressing as required in the contract/agreement. 

Partner will confirm the information provided by the client and assess the status of the project, the construction operations, and the status of the collateral. Partner’s assessor will visit the site as directed or on a pre-arranged schedule and prepare a written report to determine if the required improvements have been completed and are in compliance with the client’s scope of work.

4. FLOOR flatness at the time of SLAB to make and maintain achievable heights and make floor accurate from the stage of construction 

Heat temperatures, image

 Laser scanning can be performed while the concrete is still fresh and workable. The scanner records 300,000 to 2,000,000 data points per second, and typically runs for 5-6 minutes, depending on the density of information. It works so quickly that flatness and levelness problems can be located immediately after screeding, and they can be corrected before the slab sets. Typically: screed, scan, re-screed if needed, re-scan, re-screed if needed, all in a matter of minutes. No more grinding and filling, no more callbacks. It enables the concrete finishers to produce a flat, level floor on Day One. The savings in time and cost can be significant.    

5. Cost and Schedule Reduction:

Traditional data collection methods can take several weeks, but laser scanning takes a few hours to some days, depending on the project’s scope. Furthermore, the scans are created to enable the teams to develop detailed workflows. Cost reduction guarantees a project’s profitability. The most gains come from the reduced time used in the design and planning stages. Laser scanning also lowers the need for multiple hires. You don’t have to spend money hiring surveyors, engineers, or architects to verify the plans. That helps with cost reduction. It has been frequently reported by experts across the globe that 3D laser scanning can reduce total project costs by 5-7 percent and project schedules by 10-12 percent on industrial projects.


6. Coordination and Clash Detection

Coordination and Clash Detection in the software, image

Laser scanning is applied in construction coordination, particularly when you need to avoid conflict between various systems like Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, and more. Data is then shared among parties to help with remote coordination. Scanning can be done at any point within the construction timeline to document milestones and lower the need to change orders. This scanning can help document where errors are made and come up with a fast solution. 3D laser scanning is used to reduce clashes within a project. That could include equipment that is not the correct size or improper placement of pipes. These scans allow you to detect any possible issues.

7.Laser Scanning for Game Developers

3D scanning is a technique where real-world (physical) objects are captured and reconstructed as a digital 3D representation. It has been around for quite some time and several game developers have been using 3D scanning to create highly detailed content for their games.


The implementation of BIM and 3D laser scanning can resolve all the limitations of the conventional methods. Adopting laser scanning, the status of the site can be transferred to digital modules that are then processed to create spatial objects, monitor the volume of work, export and prepare the BOQ schedule, and create the BIM model for the later O&M phase. The method requires less time and labor, and the obtained model (point cloud model, BIM model) can be used throughout the building’s life cycle.

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