Totally BIMdacious dude! The below video shows the latest version of Autodesk ReCap using images taken with a GoPro camera – mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) no less! – and compiled into a 3D model.
Potrero del Sol
San Francisco, CA 94110, United States
5 tech trends transforming BIM/VDC
Trend #1. 3D laser scanning is becoming affordable
In a recent article getting a lot of social media coverage was a feature on the top 5 trend which are set to transform the BIM and Virtual Design Construction industry. Number 1 trend was the “affordability” of 3D scanners and their output.
The promise of enhancing BIM models with field-accurate information is rapidly becoming reality on construction sites, thanks to improved software importing capabilities and newer, less expensive field-scanning technologies. A “scan” is a powerful laser recording of a structure that captures a site’s shape and appearance, and converts those conditions into a cloud of data points that can be imported into a BIM model. The equipment can be costly (the initial investment for a single scanner can reach $100,000), but many AEC firms are able to justify the upfront cost with the gains in efficiency on projects and additional consulting fees. “We’ve found that laser scanning has a huge barrier to entry in cost, but if you own it, you find uses for it you otherwise wouldn’t have considered,” says John Tocci, Jr., Director of Virtual Design and Construction with Gilbane, and a past BD+C “40 Under 40” honoree.
Last August, the firm purchased its first laser scanner—a FARO Focus 3D—for roughly $60,000, including the software and training. It was a far cry from the six-figure price tag of older-generation laser scanners, but still a major investment for Gilbane. Tocci says the payback was almost immediate.
Gilbane recouped its investment for the laser scanner within six months by employing it on five projects (one shown here). On one project alone, they identified $30,000 in cost avoidances using the scanner. “On a single project alone, 30 minutes of scan time in the field and 30 minutes of post-processing and uploading the point cloud into a Revit model saved $30,000,” he says. Gilbane has seen both cost savings and field safety improvements from importing laser scans into Revit models. Prefabrication and coordination of MEP systems installation has saved rework costs on every project on which the scanner has been employed. In particular, the prefabrication of ductwork has greatly minimized, and even eliminated, field work, especially related to rough-in activities.
“If someone is telling us from finished floor to underside of beam we have 11 feet, 8 inches, we can tell them with complete confidence if that number is accurate or not,” says Tocci.
Gilbane’s initial uses for the laser scanner—five projects across the U.S., spanning higher education renovations to work for the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.—have generated such value that the firm is planning to purchase a second laser scanner this year.