7 Ways 3D Laser Scanning Benefits Construction Engineering
3D laser scanning has completely revolutionized and simplified the construction engineering game -- learn more about this awesome technology here.
15:13 06 April 2020
Over the last few years, 3D scanning has grown from niche uses to become a major influencer across many industries. 3D machines and software can be applied to prototype design, auto parts, medicine, gaming, animation, digital tailoring, and even crime scene investigation.
One industry that is being transformed by laser scanning technology is construction engineering. Paired with CAD software, these machines allow you to create accurate 3D models for new construction and remodels of homes, apartment buildings, and commercial properties.
How can 3D laser scanning be applied to your business? We explain.
How 3D Scanning Works
3D laser scanning technology can recreate and “print” physical objects using laser light. The scanner collects data about the size and shape of objects, while cameras record details such as color, texture, and style of materials.
The whole process works by using light and distance measurements to collect data. The object’s size and shape are determined by the length of time it takes the laser to leave the housing and reflect off of the object.
All of the data is collected into individual “point clouds”. These are then populated and merged to create a 3D representation of the original object.
The result is an incredibly detailed – and fully functional – object.
7 Ways 3D Laser Scanning Benefits Construction Engineering
3D laser scanning has a number of applications and benefits for construction engineering. The technology can be incorporated along every step, from the design stage through final inspections.
Cut Down on Costs
Cost savings are always a primary goal in any project. 3D scanning is a practical way to save money while ensuring safety and adherence to all regulations and codes.
How? First, a laser scanner allows you to develop and review 3D plans offsite before the first shovel hits the dirt.
You can easily send the plans to all involved parties and obtain approvals from clients, engineers, the construction company, and contractors. This can help eliminate waste, cut down on errors, and give you the ability to adapt and make changes.
Transforming Safety and Inspections
Safety is also paramount in a project. Engineering can be hazardous work by itself. The final project has to meet certain safety standards, as well.
One of the biggest benefits of 3D scanning is the ability to identify vulnerable and unsafe areas in ongoing projects. This can reduce accidents and on-site injuries. You also cut down on work disruptions so you can stay on schedule and meet crucial deadlines.
Inspections can be done remotely so engineers remain a safe distance away from possible site hazards.
Construction Before It’s Built
3D data platforms allow you to gather data about a project and then export it anywhere you wish. It gives you the ability to create and share realistic 3D models of construction projects.
- Create 3D walk-throughs for engineers, architects, construction crews, and contractors from anywhere in the world
- Generate files for as-builts and construction documentation
- Perform remote inspections
- Take measurements and conduct inspections in difficult to access areas
All of these benefits mean you save time and money, while cutting down on waste.
Expedited Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Creating accurate models requires precise measurements. 3D laser scanners provide a new level of accuracy using something called “scan to BIM”.
During the process, the laser scanner captures a 3D plan. The data is then imported into a 3D modeling environment. It’s used to create as-built models or give engineers accurate information about each design in real-time.
- Cut down on human errors
- Collect data faster
- Easily share information among all interested parties
- Cut down on physical visits to the site to save time and money
Ultimately, 3D scanning can help streamline the BIM process and keep a project on track through every step.
Virtual Design Construction (VDC)
Virtual design construction (VDC) is an exciting new prospect for engineers and construction project managers. VDC gives you the ability to analyze a project using 3D models during different design phases.
You can plan and manage a building project virtually before the first nail is driven. Errors can be corrected and structural integrity assured.
The process often goes hand-in-hand with BIM. BIM models create a virtual building, while VDC focuses on elements such as construction, scheduling, budgeting, and cost estimates.
Retrofitting and Upgrading Facilities
Older facilities frequently need to be updated or retrofitted to meet current safety standards and codes. Whether an old factory, building or oil refinery, these facilities must be brought up to date.
In the past, retrofitting a facility like an oil and gas refinery (called a brownfield) has led to many errors. There might be incorrect measurements, new pipes that don’t fit new ones or improper length of materials.
Every error means corrections, which is time and money lost.
3D scanning can be used to map a facility and determine the specs for piping and structural steel requirements. You will know exactly what steps to take to bring everything up to code, while cutting costs, reducing waste, and saving time.
Applications Through the Life of a Project
Laser scanning can have applications throughout an entire construction project to cut down on errors and wasted time. You can compare models to the newest drawings for quality assurance. This will give you accurate records and data throughout each phase of a project.
Once the project is completed, you can refer back to your models to conduct assessments and inspections.
The usefulness of scans can even extend to site maintenance down the line. Original or progressive models can be saved and archived. It’s easy to bring up these models to see where certain elements are located and when they were completed.
You can find desktop and handheld 3D scanners for any size construction engineering project, from a single-family home to a subdivision or commercial business park. Be sure to research for a good 3D scanner price for the most popular models.
Transform Your Business with 3D Scanning Technology
Technology is making it easier, faster, and more cost-effective to design plans, get approvals, and conduct inspections. Take time to understand 3D laser scanning and you will begin to see how it can result in a 360° transformation of your business.
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