3D laser scanning has become a popular buzzword in construction, architecture, and design.
The technology can create dynamic, highly detailed, and accurate renderings of the existing dimensions and conditions of a space. But is 3D scanning in construction a genuine need, or is it just a passing fad?
Here, we’ll explore the uses and benefits of 3D laser scanning in construction.
What is 3D laser scanning, and how is it used?
3D laser scanning uses cutting-edge laser technology to measure and document reality. Captured data is processed using advanced software to create highly detailed, measurable 3D visualizations that accurately reflect real-world dimensions and appearances.
The 3D scanning market has grown significantly in recent years, partially due to the growth of augmented reality, virtual reality, and autonomous vehicle technologies. In fact, in 2020, the 3D scanning market was valued at $3.7 billion, and it’s projected to reach more than $16 billion by 2030.
Although the technology is perhaps most commonly associated with gaming and robotics, it has applications in a range of industries including healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, and construction.
3D scanning in construction, also known as high-definition surveying, uses lasers to capture the dimensions and spatial relationships of a construction site.
3D plans and models — which sometimes show details including underground utilities and the insides of walls — can be used to power a range of visual documentation processes for construction modeling and analysis, including:
- Quality assurance
- Scan to Building Information Modeling (BIM) services
- Comparison of construction project stages
- Schematic and architectural plans
- Retrofitting, reengineering, and reverse engineering
Why is 3D laser scanning becoming a necessity?
3D laser scanning in construction is becoming a necessity because of the many needs it can address on and off the job site.
The benefits of 3D laser scanning in construction include:
Accurate, measurable data
The precision of 3D construction modeling powered by laser scanning allows stakeholders to view, inspect, and even measure objects without needing to be on site. Because this data is so accurate, it can help prevent mistakes in measurement that can lead to costly rework.
Fast data collection
3D laser scanning is a fast and accurate method for documenting site conditions with minimal labor, even on large and complex projects. Traditional data collection can take several weeks, whereas 3D laser scanning can be done in just a few hours or days. This streamlines documentation operations, leading to accelerated schedules and reduced costs.
Laser scanning allows for the documentation of areas that may be unsafe or unreachable for people. It’s a non-intrusive process that enables accuracy without risking safety. Some portable laser scanners can collect accurate data from over a thousand feet away, keeping crews clear of hazardous conditions such as those found in nuclear or chemical facilities.
3D scanning offers immediate access to data, which means you can get to work on your inspections, QA, or design processes right away. This enables accelerated workflows that can speed up project timelines.
Utilizing 3D scanning in construction helps your team meet safety standards by ensuring no one has to venture into unsafe locations to get information — scanning can be performed from a safe distance and still be accurate. The accuracy also helps you easily pass inspections.
The detailed models that 3D laser scanning produces can be used to improve communication, collaboration, and teamwork. When everyone is working from the same data — accessible to any stakeholder from the cloud — it means people can participate in conversations virtually, or immediately access the information they need to make decisions without making a site visit.
3D laser scanning models can be integrated with software like Archibus, which can help improve renderings.
3D laser scanning is here to stay
From improving data accuracy and mitigating risk to streamlining workflows and reducing costs, the many benefits of 3D laser scanning in construction demonstrate that the technology isn’t a fad — it’s a permanent facet of the industry.
At a projected growth rate of 16.3% from 2021 to 2030, all signals point to increased adoption of 3D scanning in the near future.
Other survey methods have worked in the past for construction, architecture, and design. But 3D laser scanning offers huge improvements over these methods in accuracy, quality, speed, and cost. It addresses common data-related issues stakeholders face every day in ways no other technology can match.
If you’re interested in learning more about how 3D laser scanning can elevate your projects and reduce your costs, contact Multivista to request a quote.