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What is 3D Laser Scanning in Construction?

What is 3D Laser Scanning?

3D laser scanning is a non-invasive method of using lasers to capture and measure accurate details and dimensions of any physical object or activity. 3D laser scanning can also be used for documentation and inspection of existing structures as it pinpoints and collects data of the physical details with high level of accuracy.

3D laser scanning contains a lot of technology and software behind the scenes, but understanding the basics is relatively straightforward.

  • A 3D laser scanner is setup and pointed at the object / area that is to be measured.

  • Once setup, the 3D scanner will automatically store and collect laser point data to capture highly accurate and photorealistic 3D data.

  • The 3D data can then be analyzed and modeled off-site to form accurate digital models of the physical object or substrate being inspected.

3D scanning is extremely useful and handy when the existing structure’s geometry and complexity prevent standard inspection and manual field measuring techniques to occur.

What is 3D Scanning in Construction & Surveying?

The construction industry is now harnessing the technological advancements of our times. The trend has changed, and we are now helping our clients utilize this technology to maximize efficiency and to streamline the construction and building process.

By utilizing 3D laser scanners and laser scanning technology, you can maximize your current operations with improved accuracy, data quality, and by transforming real world data into the digital world with precise accuracy and speed.

Typical Challenges - Construction & Surveying:

  • Incomplete and inaccurate documentation of the existing project conditions.

  • Schedule constraints and impacts due to slower traditional measurement and building processes.

  • Increased project rework, design errors, and undocumented in-field adjustments due to poor as-built documentation; from traditional methods.

The manual effort and labor required to inspect a building or structure physically, is a long tedious process.

At ScanTek, our 3D laser scanning solutions can reduce the time required to document existing site conditions by approximately 83%.

Below is some of the benefits that 3D laser scanners provide in the construction & surveying industry.

Generate Accurate As-Built Documentation

Contractors and people aware of construction terminology are most likely to be familiar with the term as-built drawings. These are drawings that are required to be submitted to the client, by the contractor, depicting the new existing structure’s final building plans and positioning.

Contractors use the as-built drawings and plans to validate that the project is up to the standards it was designed with. Moreover, all projects deviate and change over time during the construction phase.

Such changes must be measured and documented for record purposes and is used for when new or retrofit construction on the same facility is sought.

As-built drawings can take months by conventional techniques; however, our 3D laser scanning solutions can do this job in days – sometimes hours!

Structural Analysis – Accurate, Fast, & Actionable.

Another essential aspect for any contractor or builder is the structural integrity of the structure they will retrofit or modify.

At ScanTek, we utilize 3D laser scanners to collect and process accurate in-field 3D data to analyze deviations and measurements in any existing substrate to provide actionable data & deliverables for specialty contractors & manufacturers.

  • Construction inspection & verification (flatness / plumbness, Scan- to-BIM, deflection / deformation analysis, structural integrity analysis, clash inspection & analysis)

  • Site scanning for plant & facility coordination (plant & facility layout & planning)

  • Plant & facility scanning for fabrication & asset management (Industrial plants & facilities, as-built piping, structural & equipment modeling)

  • 2D / 3D drawings and fabrication drawings for manufacturing and design.

  • Land survey / civil deliverables (topo, geo-referencing, volume calculations & analysis)


One of the most crucial parts of any construction project is the existing site details for the project to be built upon. The information is crucial as it defines what sort of a structure is to be built and what types of requirements must be in place to tackle the project.

Contractors cannot foresee all variable site conditions or project conditions before bidding on a project, and this adds a significant risk factor.

Many contractors are still able to manage this risk during the bidding phase, but they still cannot account for every risk.

Planning to utilize 3D laser scanning solutions can help provide the full picture to prospective contractors as they can quickly build contingencies into their bids based on accurate site data obtained from 3D scans of the project site.

Preconstruction and Virtual Design & Construction Services:

  • Model Based Estimating & Coordination

  • Constructability Reviews & Design Assist

  • Prefabrication Solutions

  • Virtual Modeling & Coordination

  • Model-based Digital Fabrication

  • Reality Capture

  • BIM Consulting

  • BIM Execution & Planning

  • Trade Specific Drawing Analysis & Coordination

  • Structural & Constructability Analysis

  • 3D Laser Scanning

  • Scan-To-BIM

  • 3D As-Built Modeling

  • 3D / 2D Shop & Fabrication Drawings

How is a 3D Scan Generated?

1. Capture Site Data – Data Acquisition

The first step in a generating a 3D scan is to acquire the object’s data, by use of a 3D scanner - or even your iPhone these days!

At Scantek, the enterprise-level 3D scanners we use are highly accurate (+/-1mm) and can gather the data of the object or substrate within minutes.

The 3d laser scanner can measure and collect millions of data points then combine them to generate a point cloud that can be further processed and analyzed.

2. Cloud Solutions – Store Data in the Cloud

The point clouds and data that is collected from the 3d laser scanner creates a massive amount of data that will need to be stored.

Our cloud storage solutions are a network architected to protect and store all your data in secure way. With our cloud storage solutions, you will be able to store all your point cloud and 3d scan data online.

You will be able to control where your data is stored, who can access it, and be able to manage your 3D scan and project information online.

3. Increase Productivity – Scan to BIM

Accurate 3D models can then be generated and processed in software such as BIM, a state-of-the-art application and process for visualizing construction models and buildings. You can even check for any deviances from planned models to as-built models and so on.

There is also a feature called clash detection, which checks the structure for constructability. For example, ‘do the stairs have sufficient clearance for the steel columns in this area?’ and so on.

BIM is also used to model the HVAC & MEP of a building, and with 3D scans, you can check whether these systems are installed correctly and according to plan.

Uses of a 3D Scan in Construction

3D laser scanning and 3d scans have become popular in the construction industry as they are saving construction professionals a lot of time.

  • Creating a CAD Model of an existing building or object – Create a CAD model by using 3D scans. Models & drawings from old plans can take a lot of resources to generate, but with 3D scanning, they can be quickly and more accurately generated.

  • Create Accurate As-builts – As-built drawings are an essential aspect of construction and can be accurately generated and verified with 3D scans.

  • The most significant advantage is the visualization of the project that 3D scans and models can provide. Most users, including the client, cannot visualize their projects based off 2D drawings and plans alone.

The Future of Construction – BIM

BIM is the latest buzzword in construction and together with our 3D laser scanning services, we aim to make the construction process more accurate and efficient. Building Information Modeling (BIM) relies on lots of data, data that can be enhanced and verified by implementing our 3D laser scanning solutions.

At Scan-Tek, we use the most advanced software and analysis techniques to generate the most accurate models for our users and construction professionals.


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