One sector that has been able to make the most of the options offered by technology is the construction industry, which would not be possible without the use of tools such as 3D scanners, present in the most successful projects. This would not be possible without the use of tools such as the 3D scanner, present in the most successful projects. Do you want to know why and how it can help you to improve your projects in many ways? Don’t take your eyes off your screen.
What is 3D scanning?
3D scanning is a technique for mapping an environment by laser, capturing its geometry and representing it in a point cloud with very high accuracy. The 3D scanner is also known as high definition topography or HDS.
It works thanks to LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. Basically, we can describe how it works as follows: a laser pulse is emitted, it bounces off a surface and returns to its origin; the time elapsed in this process is then measured and the distance travelled is known.
Although 3D scanning is by no means a novel technology, having its origins as far back as 1960, it was not until some 30 years later that its value in sectors such as construction, industry and engineering (AEC) began to be appreciated.
In these environments, it is possible to generate digital twins of environments such as buildings, factories, machinery, parts of machinery, manufactured products, etc. All of this as close to reality as possible.
Main applications of 3D scanning in buildings
By reading its definition, you can already get an idea of the wide variety and number of uses that the 3D scanner has in the world of construction. Here is a list of the most relevant ones:
- True-to-life 3D design and modelling of the construction.
- Planning and managing resources for all types of work.
- Survey of the topography of the surroundings.
- It facilitates the preparation of environmental impact studies, terrain erosion studies, modelling of water bodies, etc.
- To have a thorough knowledge of the building’s installations in order to improve their maintenance.
- Faithfully reproducing historical buildings, heritage constructions, archaeological sites… all with the aim of preserving them better, improving their study or, for example, creating 100% faithful reproductions and thus freeing them from the wear and tear of visits.
- In industry, indoor mapping to facilitate the layout of spaces, to know the adaptability of new machinery to available spaces, measurement of parts, surveying of pipelines or reverse engineering.
We can also describe the applications of the 3D scanner from the perspective of its usefulness in the different phases of the life cycle of a project, such as:
- Design phase: this is the starting point of the process, even before working with BIM. It is from the results of the scanning that the results are transferred to the corresponding BIM solution in order to make the best possible use of them.
- Construction phase: all this data can be shared between the parties involved, so that coordination is greatly enhanced. As a result, conflicts and all the associated costs are avoided, time and productivity are saved. In addition, a 3D scan can be made again at this stage to document the progress made in case it is necessary to rethink actions, as well as to identify possible errors and look for the best solutions.
- Maintenance and modernisation: a record of the details of each building is generated, providing in-depth knowledge that helps to define new actions on the building (renovations, extensions, demolitions, maintenance, etc.).
Benefits of using 3D scanning in construction
Why use the 3D scanner for construction work? What improvements does it bring over other more traditional ways? Although we have already talked about some of its advantages, here are some more that you should not miss:
- It generates more accurate data, increasing the quality of measurements and making more realistic reproductions of the reality of the building.
- The information it produces is provided immediately to professionals, thus speeding up activities and shortening deadlines.
- It fosters coordination between the various actors.
- Improve communication and decision-making.
- It makes it possible to know in advance the outcome of certain interventions, acting as a kind of “simulator”.
- Working more productively results in cost savings.
- More precise and effective actions and workflows can be designed.
- It makes projects much more cost-effective from an economic point of view.
- Minimises human error in measurements.
- It makes workers perform repetitive and tedious tasks, engaging them in more value-adding actions and feeling more motivated.
- It avoids the need for several professionals to travel to different locations, saving time and money.
- Safety at work is increased, as operators will no longer have to personally access environments that are hazardous to their health.
- It allows detailed documentation of the building and all processes to be generated.
- It digitises all documents, facilitating their search, consultation and updating, avoiding misunderstandings, such as those caused by having obsolete versions.
- Documents buildings or land that are to disappear or be modified.
There is certainly plenty of reason to back up data that says demand for laser scanning is on the rise in construction, with the prospect of it growing by some $10 billion by 2024.
In addition, we give you the option to expand your knowledge of the 3D scanner in this free, on-demand webinar that we are holding together with our colleagues from Leica Geosystems. Have a look at it?