The laser scanning market is more active than you might have thought. Its global revenues will increase by $10 billion in 2024. Saving costs, collecting accurate data, and monitoring progress are just several benefits that made renowned companies like Gilbane and ATFF use laser scanning in construction.
You can benefit from the laser scanning technique too. Start by discovering the key solutions and advantages laser scanning brings to the construction industry.
What Is Laser Scanning?
Laser scanning is a method of using laser beams for capturing and mapping spatial dimensions and objects. It results in a detailed and highly accurate 3D representation of the entire building project or site, known as the point cloud.
Here’s how laser scanning works exactly. A scanner shoots myriads of lasers across 360 degrees that hit every object within the space that’s being scanned. When laser impulse meets the objects, the scanner evaluates the angle and energy of the beams, and that information is used to model the space. The entire process is quick and painless; no wonder laser scanning gained popularity.
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Why Did the Construction Industry Shift to Laser Scanning?
Just like taking a photo is more accurate and less time-consuming than painting a picture, laser scanning is far more efficient than taking measurements by hand.
Architects and engineers used to visit construction sites to capture details, which was tedious and dangerous since some areas were under renovation. But in the 1990s, the more effective laser scanning technique was first used for site surveying. And since then, the construction industry has experienced a shift toward laser scanning.
With laser scanning, the need to be physically present for mapping at a construction site disappeared – an advantage that’s especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also made scanning inaccessible surfaces and complex geometry easier, and that is probably why construction giants use laser scanning in their work.
What Tasks Does Laser Scanning Solve in Construction?
As you already know, laser scanning is used for mapping a design site and collecting accurate information about a building project in 2-3 days without involving multiple people. Other tasks laser scanning can solve in the construction industry are:
Monitoring the construction progress. Laser scanning aids in checking building progress and estimating its accuracy. Additionally, this technology is beneficial for quality control and verifying contract fulfillment.
Mapping site conditions in renovation. With 3D laser scanning, the construction team evaluates site conditions in renovation projects quickly. It also helps to find errors in construction plans and make these plans more accurate. 3D laser scanning helps to monitor the accuracy of architectural design and create site documentation.
Determining design problems. As a construction project progresses, design issues may arise in the form of new drawings or changes to a building plan. Laser scanning can help construction companies avoid these issues. Also, this technology is used to provide precise deliverables as sections, floor plans, elevations, and more.
Indeed, laser scanning can help solve specific construction problems, but is it really that useful for the entire industry? Short answer: yes!
How the Construction Industry Benefits from Laser Scanning
Laser scanning helps construction industry players cut costs, streamline the building process, and properly evaluate risks. Along with these benefits, laser scanning offers:
Improved quality. Using the laser scanning technique gives engineering teams the most accurate information about building sites. Laser scanning captures internal and external details with an accuracy of up to 0.04 inches. This allows creating precise architectural projects without having to redo them later.
Reduced costs. Speaking of accuracy, precise measurement and swift data collection are the factors that reduce costs. According to BuilderSpace, laser scanning saves up to 10% on building projects. Other than that, by using this technology in your building project, you will not have the need to send a construction team on the site.
Streamlined collaboration. Laser scanning helps to improve collaboration and coordination. When teams receive a 3D virtual site overview, they can simultaneously work on it, regardless of the location. This helps construction companies improve their teams’ collaboration, communication, and decision-making.
Improved design and planning. Laser scanning allows construction teams to analyze clashes between site conditions and newly added design elements. Plus, it improves the planning process, ensures exact site measurements and the materials the construction company should use.
Some building projects require remodeling of the existing spaces and architecture. In this case, 3D laser scanning is used to create, refine, and realize design ideas. This provides precise deliverables as sections, floor plans, elevations, and more.
Increased speed. No tape measure can compete with laser scanning: one scan takes up to two minutes. Besides, laser scanning ensures quick access to site details without the need to visit a building area since everyone can see all the captured data in the office.
Enhanced safety measures. With laser scanning, construction companies can improve safety measures during the surveying process. For instance, portable laser scanners are effective in recording measurements from a 500-meter distance. That keeps the construction team safe if they work on potentially hazardous areas.
Enhanced accuracy and flexibility. Manual labor is tedious and prone to errors, unlike automatic laser scanning. The technology helps to minimize the number of mistakes in the construction project. On top of that, laser scanning reduces the time spent on building sites, making working processes more flexible.
We hope the benefits of laser scanning have convinced you to give this technology a try. If they did, here’s what your next steps should be.
Laser Scanning in Construction: a Step-by-Step Plan
If you need to create a 3D model, scanners help you understand the space around the construction site properly. With scanned data, you can know the exact context of building surroundings and prevent mistakes during the building process.
So once you’ve decided to use laser scanning, you can start to implement it with these four steps:
01 Identify information requirements. The scanning process is time-consuming. It involves gathering large datasets about the construction area and analyzing the desired outcomes for the site. To achieve that, you need to identify requirements for the scanned information about the location and its size.
02 Carry out scan planning. Preparation of the right site plan should not be omitted if you want to use laser scanning technology. During this process, make sure that you have enough time to investigate the site project, set up its plan, and generate a site reference control with a grid.
03 Scan capturing reality.Reality capture is a software solution that creates 3D models from laser scans. In the construction industry, this technology is used to gather detailed point cloud data.
04 Scan to BIM model. Developing as-built 3D BIM models from laser-surveyed data images and point cloud scan. Powerkh has solid expertise in this process. Our company can create a precise model from LOD 1 to LOD 4. But more frequently, Powerkh produces the LOD 3 model that has geometric accuracy of 15-30 mm (0.5-1.0 in). So if you have an idea about creating a highly accurate 3D BIM model, drop us a line and book a consultation with us.
These steps may look general, but they’re the basis of a great experience with laser scanning and a successful construction project.
Get the Most out of Laser Scanning for Your Construction Project!
Laser scanning technique is a true savior in the construction process. It offers accurate and detailed mapping of a building site, preventing operational risks, saving cost, boosting productivity, and improving quality.
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Here are several more tips that will help you to get the most out of this technology. If you need laser scanning and an accurate as-built model, you can find a surveying company experienced in laser scanning in your area. Next, you can submit the point cloud data to Powerkh so that we scan it to BIM modeling. We are not limited by geography. It means we can model buildings all over the world. We’ll be happy to assist you, just like we did in more than 200 BIM & VDC projects delivered by Powerkh. Contact us today!