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How Laser Scanning is Used by the Construction Industry

It’s hard to discount the value of accurate information when it comes to a construction project.  Whether new construction, a simple renovation, or a full-scale remodel of an industrial building, having accurate and precise data is essential to getting things done right the first time.  While the latest in technology hasn’t historically been welcomed with open arms in this industry, laser scanning may be one of the exceptions.  This high-tech solution to a simple problem is making its way onto job sites with exceptional speed.

What is Laser Scanning?

Laser scanning is the use of a 3D scanning device to create a digital reproduction of the dimensions of an environment, such as a building.  The scanner is mounted on a tripod and will sweep the area to capture the location and dimensions of every surface.  The data points are captured with a very high level of accuracy and density.  The final collection of measurements is referred to as a “point cloud” and is used to create 3D models of the system or structure.  These models can be compared to trade models and to take as-built measurements.

Laser Scanning Benefits in Construction

While laser scanning on a project isn’t cheap, those who use it can attest to the benefits and the cost-savings achieved on the back end.  In fact, some reports suggest using this technology on industrial projects can help reduce total project costs by as much as 7 percent. Having a site or a building scanned is relatively quick.  What could take days to survey and draw out the old-fashioned way now takes minutes.  The accuracy of laser scanning is indisputable.  Enhance accuracy attained through laser scanning equipment allows the proper coordination of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, which saves money.  Also, since the entire project is captured and modeled in the initial scan, the information and data are already available to make any design or project scope adjustments along the way more quickly and accurately.

Other Uses for Laser Scanning

Aside from the cost and time savings achieved with laser scanning, there are a few other interesting construction applications for this technology.  If you use job site robots for repetitive tasks or heavy lifting, laser scanning data can serve as the eyes of those machines.  This technology can also be used to construct, assess or repair infrastructure, such as bridges, tunnels, and roads.  Finally, safety is always a priority in the construction industry.  By using laser scanning technology, you can reduce the number of people and time spent on the work site as well as do progress assessments from afar, eliminating some job site risk.

While 3D laser scanning may be somewhat new, it can now be found on construction job sites all over the world.  This useful technology has revolutionized the way in which construction projects are planned, designed and executed.   Most industry leaders have recognized the efficiencies and cost-savings that laser scanning provides and have already implemented them into their work flow.  There is no doubt that this innovation helps construction teams to complete jobs right the first time with many benefits along the way.

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