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Scan to BIM Process: What it is and How it Works
April 28, 2022 at 5:00 AM
3D laser scanning object

Building information modeling (BIM) provides intricate, detailed representations of a building, and provides insights through each stage of its planning, development, and long-term maintenance. Whether you’re in the industrial, construction, or manufacturing sector, BIM is an invaluable tool for each team member and department to collaborate seamlessly, and even improve project efficiencies.

However, BIM models created with scan to BIM, allow for the documentation of an existing building or project that can then can be used to plan and adjust in a digital environment. In short, by using scan to BIM, an accurate building model can be created, analyzed, and compared to original development plans or topographic registration.

What is scan-to-BIM?

To put it simply, scan to BIM involves scanning and digitally capturing a physical location, structure, or project site with lasers, and then creating a BIM model that can be used for creation, development, and maintenance.

Essentially, it provides crucial information about as-built conditions of a pre-existing structure or site that a designer, architect, or engineer can then use to inform their work.

By having a digital model that accurately represents a structure or location to use as a reference for the actual physical space, the planning and construction process of a project becomes streamlined. And it’s ensured a higher quality outcome. In real-time, different individuals can collaborate on a BIM model and receive information about what a specific project requires.

How does scan to BIM work?

Scan to BIM uses laser-scan data to create a BIM model, thus its name. Most often, laser-scan data translates to a point cloud. Point clouds are a collection of millions of measurement points taken of an object’s surface or an interior environment. Point clouds are created by 3D laser scanning devices that capture and transform information into a virtual format. A point cloud can then be assembled into a BIM model.

What are the benefits of scan to BIM?

A BIM model, depending on the information that is used to build it, can sometimes have errors or be inaccurate. During the design phase, information that’s not always complete, reliable, or up to date, may be referenced to create as accurate a BIM model as possible. However, even the smallest of errors can lead to big consequences. Schedule delays translate to more cost and safety issues — which means a project needs a highly accurate BIM model to be successful.

In addition, when the project starts the construction phase, collecting information to update BIM models requires onsite visitations. And since taking measurements is not only time-consuming but needs to be coordinated with the construction team, the development process can become far less efficient. On the other hand, laser scanners on-site can be used to create precise point clouds and models without interrupting the workflow of the project.

In short, laser-scan data not only improves the accuracy of a project’s BIM model but also ensures a more efficient workflow, provides quality assurance, and is a convenient alternative to making numerous on-site visits.

Additionally, a scan to BIM workflow allows facility managers of older buildings to pinpoint areas where energy efficiency improvements can be made. Since BIM models already produce better results with energy planning, laser-scan data provides an even greater quality of data.

While BIM models alone are valuable tools for the complete timeline of a building or facility, using laser-scan data to create BIM models complements the process by ensuring that the full potential of a BIM model is being utilized.

Spartan Scanning Solutions: Offering On-site Laser Scanning

Looking for expert laser scanning solutions for your project? At Spartan Scanning, our certified technicians are ready to help make your project a success. With our services, you can explore your design options with a digital replica of your built asset before investing time and cash into a physical project.

Get in touch with us to learn more.