Laser Scanning Delivers Precise Site Condition Data, Saving Time and Money

Taking advantage of advances in laser scanning technology, Barton Malow’s VDC team captures millions of data points, called a point cloud, with a spacial accuracy of ±1mm, to deliver precise field-accurate site conditions for use within a 3-D BIM model. The bonus is increased safety and lower project and labor costs.
June 5, 2017

Barton Malow’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Collaboration Team is utilizing laser scanning to help ensure the delivery of precise field-accurate site conditions for use within a 3-D BIM model.

Recent advances in laser scanning technology have allowed the Barton Malow VDC Collaboration team to collect highly accurate details on real-world conditions, in record time, with minimal cost. Capturing millions of data points, often called a point cloud, with a spacial accuracy of ±1mm, can be leveraged on a variety of project types to increase safety, lower project costs and reduce labor costs, while also enabling the firm to add value for its clients.

The Barton Malow VDC Collaboration Team conducted a cost/benefit analysis on the benefits of in-house laser scanning capabilities. The team found that the cost of investment for laser scanning equipment and the utilization of in-house manpower can quickly be equalized against the cost of renting equipment or engaging a subcontractor to perform any needed scans. Compare a total hardware cost of $95,000 (including hardware, software and warranty) against the current average rental cost at $850 per day, the investment in purchasing the equipment can be realized after just 15-20 projects with an average scan time of four days per project.

For most laser scanning projects, the time required to capture the data onsite is reduced by at least 50 to 70 percent compared to traditional survey methods. For example, a layout team performing as-built verification using traditional methods such as man lifts and hand measurement of approximately 280,000 square-feet of congested industrial space would take an average of 15 days. Laser scanning would be significantly faster and safer, only requiring four days to complete.

Capturing laser scan information for a project from the beginning avoids having to return to the field for additional data which can mitigate any schedule delays or rework on a project. Couple that with the ability to capture real-world conditions from a safe distance and location, away from site hazards, and it demonstrates that laser scanning can be leveraged as a firm differentiator and can allow a firm to be more responsive to client needs. Scanned environments can be easily shared with free viewing/measuring applications, allowing all project stakeholders to engage in the process.

The Benefits of Laser Scanning at the Shinola Hotel

Barton Malow is serving as the construction manager for the new 130-room Shinola Hotel, located at 1400 Woodward in downtown Detroit. The scope of this project involves the rehabilitation of two historic buildings and the design of three newly constructed buildings creating a thoughtfully curated hospitality experience that includes 16,000 square feet of food, beverage and retail space.

[caption id="attachment_11237" align="alignleft" width="640"] The table below illustrates the variance in distance between the historic buildings at 1400 Woodward and 1416 Woodward at the face. The historical as-built drawings indicated the distance between the two buildings was consistent, but laser scanning allowed the project team to accurately determine the true distances in order to validate the steel fabrication model prior to steel fabrication and installation.[/caption]

Barton Malow’s VDC Collaboration Team is utilizing laser scanning at the Shinola Hotel to precisely measure for new structural steel placement in between two historic buildings - the 1400 Woodward building and the Singer Building at 1416 Woodward. The buildings at 1412, 1420 and 1424 Woodward will be demolished and rebuilt.

Due to the historical age of the 1416 Woodward “Singer” and 1400 Woodward building, the team determined that a laser scan of the space between both buildings would be of great benefit to the project in order to validate the steel fabrication model prior to steel fabrication and installation.

Using data from the laser scan, the team was able to accurately identify the distance from the centerline of every column to the existing face of 1400 Woodward building as well as the distance from the centerline of every column to the existing face of the 1416 Woodward Building. There was initial uncertainty about the thickness of the brick walls of the existing structures. Through analysis of the scan data and 3-D design model, it was determined that the structural steel design would need to be modified to accommodate the existing conditions. Catching this modification early in design reduced unknown risks to schedule and quality of the project.

Laser scanning was also utilized at the Shinola Hotel project to create a 3-D point cloud of an existing alley fire escape on the 1400 Woodward Building for accurate restoration efforts. The Detroit Historical Society requested that hotel feature a fabricated replica of the fire escape to be used as ornamental detail, preserving some of the historic look of the building. The reconstruction fire escape will be featured in the activated alleyway above planned food and retail spaces, which will also feature a beer garden.

The deteriorated fire escape was unsafe for anyone to access but the Barton Malow VDC Collaboration Team needed a way to safely and accurately capture the measurements for reproduction of the structure. Laser scanning in this instance was a perfect solution to capture the existing stairs in 3-D, with precise accuracy, without any of the safety concerns that traditional methods would have entailed.

Laser scanning is quickly becoming an owner requirement and is an integral piece of a greater reality capture picture that includes 360 imagery, drones and thermal imaging. With every successful project, Barton Malow’s VDC Collaboration Team is helping to advance the building industry through innovative technology solutions.

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