Josh Murphy, BPAC, Discusses the Big Rewards of Using 3D Building Scanning
Josh Murphy, BPAC, BIM/CADD Manager, was recently featured in an article for U.S. CAD titled, "Capturing Reality: One Firm's Laser-Focused Investment in Scanning Reaps Big Rewards." The article focuses on Schemmer testing out U.S. CAD's Leica BLK360 3D scanner and eventually purchasing it after seeing firsthand how proficient the scanner is. The article also highlights the many benefits it provides not only for our workflow but for our client relations as well.
The article notes that for Schemmer, maintaining a high level of standards of service has required an investment in technology. Building Information Modeling (BIM), survey solutions in the field, and recently 3D building scanning have shown enterprise-wide benefits.
Scan-to-BIM workflow was initially perceived as a faster way to assess as-built conditions and speed design processes. Now, it has also turned into much more since Schemmer has found ways to put point clouds to work to strengthen existing and build new client and contractor relationships.
The idea to add 3D scanning to Schemmer's workflow came about initially as a benefit to space utilization assessments. The need to collect as-built conditions quicker and more accurately caught Murphy's attention. His focus turned to laser scanners as a way to digitally capture existing conditions versus more traditional site recordings and paper documentation.
"I had seen the Leica BLK360 laser scanner while attending Autodesk University a few years ago. I asked our U.S. CAD partners about the value of 3D scanners to support design work. Within a few days, they brought one to one of our job sites to demonstrate the potential benefits," Murphy commented.
How Does 3D Scanning Work?
The article states, in the scan-to-BIM process, a laser scanner is used to capture an accurate 3D scan of the real-world conditions on a project. The scan data is then imported into a 3D modeling environment to create either accurate as-built models or to inform the design with real-world conditions. In this instance, Schemmer's use of the scanner involved scanning a mechanical room to support a system redesign.
Murphy said, "As soon as we had that data from the scanner in our 3D modeling software and saw the level of detail and accuracy of the point cloud, we knew the technology could be an advantage over traditional site visit recording methods,” Murphy says. “Now we just needed to demonstrate a clear ROI.”
Schemmer rented the Leica BLK360 scanner for a year to evaluate the benefits.
“The timing worked well as we had just won a big project that would require documenting existing conditions over a span of months. The BLK360 was the perfect tool for this effort and allowed us to develop accurate real-time and cost-saving numbers,” Murphy stated.
A few factors went into determining if the scanner would work for Schemmer:
1. Getting buy-in from Schemmer's leadership to IT to end-users
“It’s a big commitment and we needed to get buy-in across the enterprise—from leadership to IT to the end-users. We sat down with a U.S. CAD panel of experts to really look at how laser scanning can be used in our business and to understand best practices. They helped us storyboard eight to nine ways that we could use the scanner across our project workflows.”
2. Taking the time to understand the data management and storage requirements
“Point cloud data can’t sit on a standard project network drive—it’s just too much data to store and requires significant computing power,” Murphy explains. “We had to work with our IT group to spin up a separate network, backups, and multi-office accessibility.”
3. Supporting the end user
Traditionally, the Schemmer design team uses a PDF or DWG file to begin modeling. With scan to-BIM, Murphy registers the point cloud and brings it into CAD, Revit, or Civil3D. Now they would have to learn how to model off of a point cloud.
Benefits Far Outweigh the Price
The user experience was the easiest win.
“As soon as our team started modeling, they saw the advantage. It’s so much faster than any other methodology. It’s so much faster to model off of a point cloud—100 times better than traditional methods,” he adds. “Our design team loves it,” said Murphy.
With a typical scan time, the Schemmer team scans up to two million points per second. That number can increase if needed for greater accuracy. After a full year of evaluation, Schemmer purchased the RTC360.
3D Scanning is also a great tool for client collaboration. Visualizing scan data is particularly easy for clients.
“Navigating a point cloud is as easy as using Google Maps,” says Murphy. “While in a meeting, we can pop it up and everyone can walk the site or an existing building and evaluate options. With the scan-to-BIM, we have more data than we could ever have with conventional methods that would have required sending people back out to the site. We’re coming to solutions for project challenges much faster.”
To read the full article, click here.
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Schemmer is a full-service architecture, engineering, and construction field services, consultant. Providing responsible solutions for complex design and construction-related challenges.
Founded in 1959, we are grounded in our past but remain fully committed to the future. Located in four States and eight offices throughout the Midwest, Schemmer is providing services to clients from coast-to-coast and border-to-border across the United States.
Schemmer's services include:
- Field Services