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10 main advantages of laser scanning in construction

The 10 main advantages of laser scanning in constructions

The advantages of laser scanning in constructions are linked to the ability to collect data on the built environment quickly and accurately. Let’s see the top 10 advantages!

3D laser scanning has become a fast, efficient and accurate method to capture the details of a construction and the surrounding environment or soil morphology.

Thanks to laser technology, scanners acquire millions of points from which it is possible to create a mapping of the construction.  Consequently, its geometry and possibly its colour are defined. This is what is known as point cloud, a dense group of 3D points that recreate a physical object in the digital space. The point cloud allows to generate extremely precise, complete and detailed 3D BIM models of the as-built. This is why I recommend downloading a free point cloud to BIM software to immediately test the potential of this fast and safe process.

Let’s now see the top 10 advantages of laser scanning in construction!

Laser scanner_picture

Picture of a Laser scanner

What are the 10 main advantages of laser scanning in construction?

The use of laser scanning in constructions generates a series of advantages. Let us see the most important ones.

  1. greater precision and better quality: the high level of accuracy of laser scanners allows to detect the exact position of the points related to a site and it is thus possible to obtain high quality results. The project team can rely on precise visual data to get a more complete picture of the work and better manage and plan the future design;
  2. reduced time: laser scanners can record a large amount of data (exact position of the points) per second, collecting information on the structures in much less time than traditional methods. Just think of the additional budget required for traditional survey methods, the professionals and the operations necessary to survey the site;
  3. quick information: you can immediately access the information obtained following a scan. In this way, you can optimize working methods and productivity;
  4. software integration: after processing the point clouds, cleaning them from any digital noise, they can be transformed into 3D BIM models with appropriate software. The scan-to-BIM refers precisely to this kind of workflow: from the 3D laser scanner surveying, we move to the processing of much data, to BIM modeling. This process is very useful for intervening on constrained buildings, for restoration or renovation, but also for the relief of the environment necessary in the case of new constructions;
  5. efficient collaboration: the 3D model generated by the conversion of the 3D point cloud can be used by the technicians involved in a project, who can thus also work remotely in the different design phases, reducing the number of expensive on-site inspections;
  6. better coordination: the generation of a three-dimensional model of the scanned work improves the project planning activities as it allows to identify any coordination errors that, discovered in the following execution phase, would cause delays and budget overruns;
  7. increasing worker safety: the acquisition of data through traditional surveys with measuring tape and laser distance meter are often unsafe, especially when it comes to hard to reach places. The use of the laser scanner allows technicians to work safely, preventing exposure to accidents;
  8. reduction of costs: the reduction of survey times consequently allows a reduction of costs, but not only! If the technique allows a better measurement accuracy, the additional costs related to the additional rental of equipment, transport and working hours are reduced;
  9. contactless scanning: 3D laser scanning is one of the least invasive techniques. The emitted laser beam detects information even from delicate places without any contact;
  10. reduction of human work: laser scanning operations greatly reduce the use of human resources: even a single operator will be sufficient to manage the entire survey operation independently.
Point Cloud of a city created with usBIM.pointcloud

Point Cloud of a city created with point cloud viewer online

The limits of laser scanner technologies in constructions

Even 3D laser scanning, in certain situations, may present difficulties. A good laser scanning may be subject to alterations due to:

  • humidity or excessive light in a given environment;
  • sueveyed sites may be exposed to movements (objects or people, etc);
  • surveying particularly complex objects with hidden geometries;
  • structures that may have many reflective surfaces.

All these problems, however, can be mitigated in a fairly simple way:

  • using the laser scanner in low humidity or during the reduced sunlight times of the day and also in low traffic;
  • clearing the points during acquisition;
  • developing scans from different angles of the object to obtain a complete model.

Despite small defects, laser scanning is improving and has a high application potential that allows it to be used in the most disparate ways. A particularly interesting field of application for the construction industry is “Scan to BIM“, a process creating the BIM model of an existing building from the data acquired from the survey with laser scanners or other advanced techniques. You can get an idea of how fast and easy it is to create a BIM model of existing buildings from a point cloud obtained from a laser scanning survey by downloading a free point cloud to BIM software.