3D Capture Enables Remote Construction Inspections
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on November 17, 2020 |
3D scanning capabilities provide a safer, more efficient method of construction inspection.
(Image courtesy of BuildingPoint Northeast.)
(Image courtesy of BuildingPoint Northeast.)

During construction, routine inspections are vital to ensuring smooth progression. New safety mandates amid the pandemic, such as social distancing, would have once limited a builder’s ability to stay on track. Luckily, technology has changed all that thanks to the capture capabilities of 3D laser scanners.  

Instead of constantly having to be onsite, a scanner can be used in various locations to provide 360-degree measurements of the different surfaces on a site. Multiple scans can then be then turned into a 3D composite, which can be remotely shared and compared with essential team members.

Setting up a 3D laser scanner enables the generation of millions of points to create a 3D composite of a construction site. Associated software allows that data to be shared remotely with essential construction teams. (Image courtesy of Trimble.)
Setting up a 3D laser scanner enables the generation of millions of points to create a 3D composite of a construction site. Associated software allows that data to be shared remotely with essential construction teams. (Image courtesy of Trimble.)

This real-time data collection method is designed to be easy to use and fully integrated. Minimal training is needed to set up the scanner and learn the software. Once it is set up, the scans are added to the software via a table controller. Before scanning, critical components, such as CAD models and PDF drawings, can be preloaded. Since accuracy is essential, an integrated laser pointer connects data to building coordinates, and locations and models are aligned. The person conducting the scanning can also add field notes and review the data.

Regardless of the project’s size, the scanning process alone can usually be done in hours. Since budget is always a top priority on a job site, getting access to complete data that would have normally taken days provides significant cost savings.

After the data collection is completed, the true benefits of an integrated system begin to unfold. Once loaded into the software, any essential team member has full access to all the data regardless of their location. From there, living documents of the job site can be created, updated and combined for maximum efficiency while also providing verification that construction is being done properly.

The information can then be turned into an easy-to-access and accurate web file that can be stored on a server. A shareable link ensures that everyone who needs to access the data can do so through an Internet browser.

With real-time, up-to-date data, the benefits of 3D capture will likely continue beyond the pandemic. Since cost, labor and schedule pressures are part of every project, the ability to minimize rework, shorten schedules, and enhance collaboration may make embracing the latest technologies an easier choice.

Interested in other ways the construction industry is being reimagined? Check out Construction in the New Age Means Embracing Technology and Bio-Bricks Hint at a Greener, Self-Healing Future for AEC.

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