Scan To BIM – An Emerging Trend Transforming The AEC Industry

Last Updated October 22nd, 2019

When the concept of virtual presentation first appeared across the landscapes of AEC sector, it was progressively accepted; however, at this stage it was limited to 3D modeling, animations, photo-realistic renderings, etc. for client presentations and marketing purposes.

Gradually, BIM – information rich intelligent 3D models entered the terrain and changed everything.

Convert 3D scanned images of college backyardConvert 3D scanned images of college backyard mechanical house into intelligent BIM with LOD 300
Now 3D modeling was not used only for presentation and design purposes. Combined with all the information and construction details, BIM also known as VDC- virtual design and construction soon became the trend.

Architectural firms, developers, builders, real estate agents across the AEC industry today use BIM to streamline the construction process, increase productivity, avail the necessary certifications, etc.

Need Driven Innovation and Evolution of Scan to BIM

In addition to material take off, project scheduling, planning and coordination, cost estimation, sustainability and facility management. Virtual design and construction also proved to be an invaluable asset for detailed documentation for a construction project. It was initially used for several new building and construction projects; however, soon the need to document existing structures in a similar manner was felt.

BIM for retrofits, is complex, especially so when the 2D drawings and construction documentation is not accurate or is missing? This is where 3D laser scanning comes into picture.

Scan to BIM is also popularly known as Point Cloud to BIM, because when buildings are surveyed using a 3D laser scanner the data is collected in the form of a point cloud (a cluster of millions of points in a 3D space). Experts import these point clouds into software tools like Revit and convert them into 3D models ready for BIM.

The need for point cloud to BIM for renovation projects led to innovation in the scanning technology. Looking back a few years down the line, one of the biggest barriers in the growth and usage of Scan to BIM technology was the massive costs of buying a 3D laser scanner. The scenario has now changed, the 3D laser scanners have become more advanced and are priced relatively cheaper. As a result, scanned surveys for existing buildings have increased.

Some AEC firms outsource these activities, however, there are also firms who invest in a scanner and set up an in-house team, they can justify these costs against the gains on project efficiency.

You Still Need BIM Experts

It is a common misconception that once you have point cloud data at hand, it is a smooth sailing then onwards. Just export it into Revit and you have a BIM ready. Contrary to this common belief, this is where the actual work starts. Tools like Lecia Cloudworks for AutoDesk Revit architecture can convert your point cloud into partial BIM; however, at this stage the expertise of a 3D BI modeling professional cannot be undermined. At this stage, it is very important that a VDC expert steers the project further.

Converting Point cloud to BIM – also known as point cloud processing – is a niche expertise and it is very difficult to engage experts and retain them. An easy option for most of the firms is to outsource Scan to BIM services.

TrueCADD is a leading India based Scan to BIM service provider with a global presence. The team BIM experts at the company have developed efficiency in handling all types and complexities of projects. They can rectify all types of erroneous scanned data and also reconstruct missing parts based on engineering assumptions and other available data.

Gaurang Trivedi

About Author: is engineering consultant at TrueCADD. Besides, donning multiple hats, as a website manager and marketing in charge, he also oversees the editorial content, coordinating and managing the website, its news sections, blogs and social media promotions as well.

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