3D Reality Capture for Construction | JP Global Digital

July 27, 2023

6 Ways to Use 3D Reality Capture for Building Construction

In the construction business 3D reality capture technology is changing the way that we work. 

Reality capture techniques can take captured data from laser scans and other sources of your building site, and use them to create 3D models, point cloud models, or even render BIM models with a scan-to-BIM solution. Real-world plans that used to take weeks and repeated site visits by teams can now be done in minutes using 3D laser scanning or photogrammetry software.

The ability to create a pinpoint accurate 3D model of an existing building or a deeply precise survey of a building site without weeks of work is itself a huge benefit of reality capture in construction. But when you start to look at the other benefits of reality capture and 3D models on your building project, it’s easy to get excited about the potential.

Let’s take a look at 6 ways that you can use 3D reality capture software in your building construction process

1. Easy approvals

Have you ever worked with a client who had a hard time visualizing the finished product? You have shown them the 2D drawing, the blueprints, and the renderings. You’ve walked them through the site, showing them in person exactly what you have planned. They just can’t quite see it.

This back and forth can make approvals and sign-offs drag on and on. But 3D reality capture can change all of that. Instead of talking in the abstract, or relying on 2D to communicate 3D ideas, reality capture, and 3D software, can help anyone to visualize even the most complex designs. 

This will help your clients make more informed decisions. And that can speed up approvals.

2. Virtual site visits

On that same token, those site visits can now happen, well, off-site. Because 3D reality capture is so effective, accurate, and easy, you’ll be able to walk a client, an investor, or even an inspector through your site directly from your computer or device. They will be able to see the site clearly, and you could even provide scan data from different points in the process to allow for progress reviews off-site for construction progress tracking.

Virtual site visits are easier, safer, and more cost-effective than ongoing on-sites. Like we’ve said before, “Once a build is underway, engineers need to physically check construction against design files, and the best way to do this is by creating a detailed 3D scan of the facility in progress.”

3. Improved accuracy

Design and construction rely on accuracy. While by-hand surveys are accurate, there’s nothing that can rival 3D scanning and reality capture tools for precision. As AutoDesk puts it, “Modern reality capture technology makes out-of-date 2D blueprints and measuring tape obsolete. Instead of multiple site visits to double and triple check measurements, a single drone survey with photo-to-point-cloud creation provides an accurate 3D model based on actual site conditions in a fraction of the time, with a remarkable level of detail.”

A whitepaper from Rand expands on this idea, saying “A detailed model of a building can provide value far beyond the time, effort, and money saved during the design phase. Typically, generation of layout points is a manual process that requires measuring tapes or lasers. With the right modeling techniques in place, however, construction firms can use a model for automated generation of layout points.” 

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One of the most incredible things that 3D reality capture can do for building construction is the creation of as-built models of existing buildings. These can make it possible to be more courageous with renovation designs. Because you can see millimeter accurate details about your site, you can virtually engineer your (and your client’s) wildest dreams, and more accurately predict the outcomes of your designs.

5. Conflict resolution

3D reality capture, and the right point cloud visualizer, can provide a single source of truth for your construction site. As plans progress or change, the reworks would cause a paperwork nightmare, as new plans had to be compiled for everyone involved. But the digital nature of 3d reality capture for building construction means that a change can be instantly shared with the whole team.

This will make it easier than ever to make sure that your electrical team has the new diagrams, and that your plumbing team is operating from the same set.

6. Incredible collaboration

That single source of truth, and the ability for everyone to see 3D plans and models, makes collaboration easier and more accurate than ever. 

Elsewhere in our blog, we’ve discussed the potential for 3D reality capture software and point cloud technology to fuel collaboration. We said “From design to build to maintenance, all stakeholders from engineers to architects to builders to facility owners need to be on the same page. Surveyors can facilitate this easy collaboration by bringing 3D reality scanning to the table, providing accurate representations of sites as they actually exist.”

When entire project teams are on the same page, and when stakeholders can see and interact with the designs and plans from the start, then everything operates better, more quickly, and more efficiently. This is the benefit of 3d reality capture for the building construction industry.