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What is "Scan to BIM"?

The term "Scan to BIM" is widely used and applied throughout building and construction projects. The process facilitates construction and design projects with better assessment, planning, and execution. "Scan to BIM" is proactive and will enable your team in mutual collaboration, effective communication, and well-informed decision-making!


What is BIM?


BIM (Building Information Modeling) is the digital representation of a building or construction project with organized, multi-disciplinary data integrated into a 3D model.

In addition, a BIM model may also contain all the physical and functional information of a building in a single database.


BIM software helps the project team (architects, engineers, contractors, builders, etc.) cooperate on a realistic 3D model throughout the design and construction phase. Team members can input, retrieve, update, or alter the data in a BIM model, facilitating collaborative working and equal contribution throughout the project.


BIM software can create and manage 3D models for a building, and "Scan to BIM" refers to the process of "laser scanning" a building and or project site and then using that point cloud/3D data to create, build, and maintain a BIM model.


Our 3D laser scanning and Reality capture solutions are used to capture and generate accurate 3D models that contain all the physical and functional data of the building/project site.


To simplify, scanning a job site and converting it into a 3D digital model is what Scan to BIM is all about. It has two primary aims:


  • To accurately facilitate designing, monitoring, and maintaining the project/site.

  • To enable and support effective communication and mutual collaboration between contractors, designers, engineers, and project stakeholders.

Benefits of Scan to BIM


Scan to BIM has impacted the construction and building industry in almost every aspect, and here's how:


Saves Time, Money, & Energy

The modern world runs on technology which has altered the way things get done. Typical design work is prone to human errors, takes lots of time to manage and organize data, and includes high processing costs.


Scan to BIM, on the contrary, provides highly accurate data, cuts down on the high expense, and saves time and energy spent on finalizing a design task.


Rapid Data Sharing

A team working on the construction site includes many people such as surveyors, designers, architects, engineers, builders, and other specialty construction workers. It is not always easy to share data or project details with the whole team, as not every member is instantly reachable.


Scan to BIM technology cuts down the processes by allowing quick access to the project data within a few clicks. Team members will not need to reach out or revisit the job site to review project site conditions/details; instead, they can view and visualize the 3D data online.


Promotes Better Collaboration and Effective Communication

Scan to BIM provides precise and to-scale 3D data that can help visualize the design (in 3D rather than the traditional 2D drawings/designs) and help the team discuss every aspect of planning, organizing, and operations.


It also eliminates any potential clashes between the existing building components and the new construction. Thus, it saves the entire building process from frequent interruptions and design changes due to discrepancies from inaccurate contract drawings. Simultaneously, acquiring and organizing all building data throughout the projects' lifetime supports better communication and quick decision-making.


Promotes Better Safety of the Workers & Surrounding

Construction work is hard; it's constantly changing and often requires heavy machinery and tools to be used in areas that are sometimes tight and challenging to access.


A Scan to BIM approach can be highly beneficial as it can promote better safety of both the workers and the existing structures by employing complete and accurate up-to-date data/designs and plans for different operations.


How Scan to BIM Process Works?


A Scan to BIM process typically has four stages when used in the construction industry:


Stage 1: Understanding Information Requirements

Pre-planning is the core element of Scan to BIM and defining all the criteria for the required 3D model is necessary to avoid any problems later.

It also helps get a rough idea of the overall cost as the higher level of detail of the 3D model would require more expense and vice versa.


At this stage, data density and the project cost will be determined by the following elements:

  • Elements needed for construction

  • Level of Detail (LOD)

  • Non-geometric objectives or specialty contractor requirements

Stage 2: Scan Planning

Scan planning is next after the information and project requirements are defined, which determines the parameters before acquiring and mobilizing for a 3D scan.


This stage is crucial since current design documentation for buildings is tough to obtain, and as a result, optimizing scanning settings can benefit the latter process.


Scan Planning entails determining all of the scanning-related parameters, such as:

  • Building location

  • Precision

  • Coverage

  • Space Resolution

  • Angular Resolution

Stage 3: Scanning

Here comes the actual use of a laser scanner, and the laser scanner functions by capturing high-precision point data with a fast rotating laser typically mounted on a tripod. The laser scanner transmits a light beam towards a solid surface, and every strike is counted and collected as "points." The "points" and point cloud data can then be used to survey landscapes, building structures, and layout (as the entire project site can be "laser scanned").


There are different methods for scanning that can be performed, but the most typical approaches are:

  • 360-Degree Scanning: This scanning method generates point cloud data with 360-degree photogrammetry techniques.

  • Time-of-Flight Scanning: The laser directs a beam, and the time-of-flight technique is used to measure the distance between the camera and the surface of the "point" (where the beam hits the surface).

  • Phase-based Scanning: This laser scanning method involves a steady beam split into many phases, and later, the phase changes and the reflected laser energy is compared. This approach allows data to be collected at a significantly quicker rate than the time-of-flight method.


Stage 4: 3D Modeling

As mentioned previously, the scanned "points" and point cloud data is then used to generate a 3D BIM model, and it is done in two steps:

  1. Extrapolating the data from the Point Cloud - This step requires software where the point cloud scan of the site is input, and the 3D modelers extract the site's physical and functional information. The different angles and positions of a point cloud scan offer a comprehensive and highly accurate perspective of the structure, which, once achieved, is converted into a 3D model.

  2. 3D Modelling - A three-dimensional representation of the site is developed by extrapolating the laser scan data and converting it to a usable BIM model.


Applications of Scan to BIM in Construction Industry


Scan to BIM technology is used worldwide and all throughout the construction industry. Let's explore some of the applications of Scan to BIM technology in the construction projects:


Planning & Designing

Designers, engineers, and contractors can collaborate effectively and make better decisions for the construction site as the Scan to BIM provide a full comprehensive representation of the site and the surrounding buildings and structures.


Operation & Construction

An accurate 3D model is a massive help in carrying out the project as it provides a digital representation of the as-built conditions of the building and also helps the team recognize and improve any inconsistencies between the model and the constructing or existing structure.


Also, a virtual installation of the elements helps do the same in a real-life environment; it enhances on-site safety measures.


Assessment & Modification

During the construction phase of a project, workers may face some obstacles that require modifying the design or 3D model, and thanks to Scan to BIM, a one-time update would be accessible to all project members.


It improves teamwork, performance analysis, problem diagnosis, and decision-making.


Why Should You Work With ScanTek On Your Upcoming Project?


The Scan to BIM technology is a popular approach in the construction industry, yet still anew for the proper expertise.


Complete knowledge of the technological advancements within laser scanning and the building industry is required to carry out large-scale projects.


You can trust our team with your next project and our expertise has a lot to offer:

  • Development of advanced lidar solutions/systems.

  • Precise variable assessment and measurement.

  • Expertise in modern technology and immediate delivery of reliable & secure data.

Get in touch with our team of experts to learn more about our solutions!