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Scan to BIM – Warehouse Conversion – New York

One of our Architect clients shared our information with a New York based developer who was purchasing a property in the Lower West Side of New York, NY. In this situation, the architect let his developer client know the benefits of 3D Laser Scanning relative to creating as-built documentation. The property was under agreement and the purchasing developer needed to begin the design process immediately. The property had no existing documentation, which meant that the Architect and his team could not begin the design process. Rather than send his team to take manual measurements, the developer hired Helm to conduct a 3D Laser Scan of the property and produce an As-Built 3D Revit Model. 

The building was roughly 50,000 square feet and was being used as an active warehouse space. The goal was to make the building into a posh mixed-use property. We brought both a 3D Laser Scanner and a Matterport Pro 2 camera to capture the property. The Matterport creates a 3D Virtual Tour that helps provide designers with visual references, while the Laser Scanner produces a point cloud file. We use Leica Geosystem’s RTC 360 as our primary 3D laser scanner and this job was no exception. Our capture began around the exterior of the property, capturing the property’s façade and exposed sides. We then moved the scanner to the property’s interior and worked our way up to the rooftop. The scan data we collected was non-colorized. Since the end deliverable was a Revit model focused on architectural and some structural components, having a scan without color was all we needed. Creating a colorized scan can take up to three times as long to complete our on-site capture and makes the end point cloud file much larger. We typically reserve colorized scans for MEP environments so we can clearly differentiate between types of piping. Each scan we capture is within roughly 5 to 10 feet from the prior set up point to ensure the highest accuracy tolerances. We also make use of Leica Geosystem’s Field360 App on our iPad to in field register as we are scanning on-site. Each scan must be aligned and connected with the scan before and after to create a unified point cloud. Leica’s field app does a great job of connecting each of the links together so putting everything together in the office is significantly easier. The fill capture took roughly 8 hours for this property.

point cloud
With the point cloud data gathered on-site, we then moved on to processing a unified point cloud file to share with our modeling team. As I mentioned before, the Field360 app saved us a lot of time on this job. Bringing in scan data pre-registered makes post processing efforts much faster than manually registering each scan from scratch. We then optimize our point cloud bundle by verifying the strength of each scan connection and making additional connections where needed. Any connections going through walls or objects are disconnected. The software has come a long way, but it is very important to review all connections to ensure that there is enough scan overlap between the scan set ups you wish to connect. The unified point cloud is published in a .rcs format or an indexed .rcp format.
as-built model
Helm’s modeling team takes the point cloud and begins their process of creating an as-built model. The point cloud is linked into Revit and used as a background for 3D Modeling. Our As-Built Revit models are created with an organized family structure so components can be managed more easily. This is a manual process that takes time carefully model and referencing the point cloud data. The product is a highly accurate 3D model of the existing conditions ready for design.