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With historical buildings, structural assessments must be precise and non-invasive. On a project in Miami, R.J. Heisenbottle Architects turned to Multivista’s 3D Laser Scanning and UAV photography services to get a complete picture of their exterior façade.

The first major skyscraper constructed in Miami after the Great Depression; the 17-story Alfred I. Dupont Building was completed in 1939. It’s a towering steel-frame building with a limestone-clad exterior. When a full exterior façade structural assessment and physical inspection was required, R.J. Heisenbottle Architects was in search of a solution that would deliver the data they needed in an accurate, efficient, and timely manner.

“They needed to assess the entire façade stone by stone.” explains Kristi Vick, Principal at Multivista South Florida. “Being a historical building with ornate details, capturing every angle was key to R.J. Heisenbottle Architects team.” Traditionally, an assessment such as this would rely on existing conditions drawings measured by hand. “We typically do those on our own,” says Ricardo Lopez, Principal at R.J. Heisenbottle Architects. “And it can take a long time to get the detail required. Multivista’s laser scanning allowed us to do it faster and with greater accuracy, particularly given the height of the building.”

Multivista Documentation Specialists captured the entire ~357,000 square foot building and adjacent parking garage through 3D laser scanning. “We scanned from ground level as well as from the rooftops of adjacent buildings,” Vick explains. Her team also captured high resolution images of the entire façade of the building using UAV/Drones.

Using the point clouds created from the laser scanning and the UAV/Drone images as reference, the Multivista team created CAD files that served as the base drawings for the R.J. Heisenbottle team to visually inspect the entire façade of the building (as well as the roofs) virtually, rather than setting up and climbing scaffolding to examine it in person, piece by piece.

“Without Multivista laser scanning and drone services we would have had to rely on ground floor plans with visual approximations of the upper portions of the façades,” Lopez says. “Extracting the right data is the tricky part but with the UAV photos as reference we could see where important joints were in relation to things like windows then find and examine them in detail.”

Vick adds that now that the Alfred I. Dupont Building has been scanned and documented, Multivista can build a 3D BIM model from the point cloud, should Lopez’ team ever need one in the future. “There is an abundance of information in there they can use,” she says. “Creating 2D slices of a 3D BIM model can be very helpful.”

Lopez and his team plan to share their data and workflow with the Historical American Building Survey office at the National Park Service in Washington, DC, as that organization is currently working on a new national publication of standards for how to maintain historical buildings.

For more information on Multivista 3D Laser Scanning, UAV/Drones, or any other construction reality capture services request a demo today.