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Scan to BIM – Mechanical Penthouse

Scan to BIM Services for The Wistar Institute

The Wistar Institute, located in the city of Philadelphia, is a world-renowned biomedical research laboratory that is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and critical research within the field of science. Given the institute’s focus on cutting-edge research, it is imperative that the facility be equipped with a high-tech and efficient infrastructure that can support its operations. The Wistar Institute’s facility is a unique combination of three buildings, each built in different eras, and is therefore particularly noteworthy.

To plan for upcoming renovations to one of their mechanical penthouses, The Wistar Institute sought the assistance of Helm BIM, a leading provider of scan to BIM services. The Helm team was able to meet with The Wistar team and present them with a fast and accurate solution to their challenge.

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The Wistar Institute faced the challenge of lacking any existing documentation of the space in their mechanical penthouse, which made it difficult for them to plan for the renovations. This is where Helm BIM’s expertise in the field of building information modeling (BIM) came into play. Utilizing their state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning technology, Helm BIM’s drafting team was able to create a highly detailed Level 400 Revit model of both the structure and all of the MEPs (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) within the mechanical penthouse.

Helm BIM’s onsite capture team arrived equipped with a Leica RTC 360 3D Laser Scanner and a Matterport Pro. The Matterport Pro is a highly useful tool that enables fast and easy virtual tours and allows the owners or any future project stakeholders to easily check out the space through a web-generated link. The picture to the top left displays a view from the VR tour that was created.

The 3D Laser Scanner, on the other hand, is a critical tool that is essential in gathering as-built conditions for as-built modeling purposes. The scanner was moved throughout the mechanical penthouse to ensure that all the necessary details were gathered to create an accurate model. The picture above displays the RTC360 mounted to an elevated stand, which is often done in tight mechanical spaces to ensure that all dimensions of piping are accurately gathered.

Once our onsite work was complete the scan data was uploaded to our computer where we completed the registration process. This entails going through the connections between each scan point and ensuring that the connection is accurate. We use Leica Geosystems Register 360 to complete the registration process. The picture above to the left displaying the red orbs shows a group of scan points connected to one another. Once the registration process is complete we publish the point cloud in a .rcs or .rcp file format. The picture to the top right shows a section view of the point cloud once it has been unified and published.


With the point cloud created, the data was then shared with Helm BIM’s drafting team. Using the point cloud as a background in Revit, they modeled the penthouse and the mechanicals within. They started by creating a structural and architectural background of the penthouse, and then proceeded to model each of the MEPs.

The Revit model created by Helm BIM was highly comprehensive, providing The Wistar Institute with an abundance of information about their existing mechanical penthouse. From this model, Helm BIM was able to derive 2D floor plans and isometric views, which greatly aided The Wistar Team in their planning efforts. These floor plans and isometric views provided a clear visual representation of the existing mechanical penthouse, making it much easier for The Wistar Team to identify areas that needed to be renovated or improved.

3D model pic

In conclusion, the collaboration between The Wistar Institute and Helm BIM was highly successful in overcoming the challenge of the lack of existing documentation of the mechanical penthouse. The utilization of Helm BIM’s state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning technology and expertise in building information modeling (BIM) resulted in the creation of a comprehensive and detailed Level 400 Revit model of the structure and MEPs within the mechanical penthouse. This model provided The Wistar Institute with valuable information about the space and aided in the planning efforts for the upcoming renovations. The use of technology, such as the Leica RTC 360 3D Laser Scanner and the Matterport Pro, ensured that the onsite work was efficient and accurate. The point cloud created from the scan data was then transformed into a highly informative Revit model, complete with floor plans and isometric views, making it easier for The Wistar Team to identify areas that needed to be improved. Overall, this project highlights the importance of utilizing advanced technology and expertise in the pre-construction process to ensure a successful outcome.

Check out the model from this project here: