Enhancing the BIM process with 3D image capture

Prior to the digital age, engineers conveyed their work and collaborated through hand-drawn designs. Building inspections and site investigations were conducted using a tape measure, a pencil and graph paper. At that time, drawing by hand was the only way to accurately capture existing information and to develop new designs.

Advances in technology have since changed the way that engineers capture and convey information. Digital cameras replaced hand drawn sketches during site investigations, and computer-aided design programs, such as Sketch-up and Revit, replaced the practice of drawing by hand. These new tools lead to increased accuracy, efficiency during site investigations and design, and the ability to digitally store and reuse information.

As technology continues to develop, so too do the methods for which buildings are designed and their data is captured, stored and used. Revit has become the industry standard for accurately modeling new buildings and their systems in 3D – more commonly included as part of Building Information Modelling (BIM). Even with BIM tools, designers and engineers are confronted with days of laborious and time consuming BIM modeling due to hand-drawn measurements, notes and 2D photographs from the site which add to the length of the project schedule and budget. New technologies are emerging, including lasers and infrared beam scanners, which allow for data-rich information of existing spaces to be rapidly captured, stored and digitally explored.

HH Angus uses a Matterport 3D Scanner to capture existing spaces which is then converted into 3D models for our clients. We have used these models in a variety of situations and continue to push what can be accomplished by having an accurate, to-scale 3D model of existing buildings and their systems as well as the value it can help us deliver to our clients.

The value of 3D image capture and modeling for existing buildings projects:

1. Capture site information faster and accurately

An accurate 3D model of existing conditions (typically within a centimetre of hand measurements) through image scanning the space. This process can usually be done up to 60% faster than traditional hand measurements. Because the image scanning captures information in a point cloud, this information can be automatically imported into Revit, eliminating the need for manually entering hand measurements and reducing the time of creating the Revit model by nearly half. The BIM model can be provided to consultants, potential bidders and contractors allowing them 24/7 access. When the site information is available in a digital and 3D photorealistic format, the result is fewer questions during RFP periods and fewer site visits are required.

2. Capture spaces during construction

The ability to use image scanning to capture site information and create a 3D model at any time during construction can be very useful in a variety of situations. For example,  recording a snapshot of progress for contractor payment draws or to provide enhanced construction documentation to project stakeholders. Capturing the space when services are installed but before walls and ceiling are in place can be a great reference for reference for future maintenance and renovations.

3. Digital representation of spaces and assets

 While many newer buildings may have accurate construction data stored in a BIM model which is helpful for future renovations, expansions or retrofits, many older buildings were built before CAD and BIM was common. 3D image scanning can quickly create digital models of these existing buildings by vastly streamlining the time-consuming process of collecting building details by hand measurements and then subsequent manual entry to create a BIM model.

Information can also be associated to a building space or asset within a 3D model such as a piece of mechanical equipment or electrical panel. Information that can be mapped to an asset can include the O&M manual, last service date, information from a building condition assessment, and other types of information. This can be done for an existing facility without requiring a complete BIM model.

4. Remote access for facility managers

A 3D model can allow facility managers to ”walk” through building areas and read equipment information from a nameplate remotely with only an internet connection required. It could also be done from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The ability to access this level of detail remotely can be extremely useful for troubleshooting and for organizations that have multiple sites spread out geographically. 

5. Future Developments in 3D Image Scanning 

Currently, point cloud data generated in 3D image scanning still needs to be converted into useable data to create a BIM model. This is typically an additional and fairly manual process. With advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, research is underway where algorithms can be used to automatically identify structural elements and interior furnishings, elimintating the need for a person to manually identify these items in the process of converting a point cloud file to a BIM model. This could even further streamline the process allowing engineers and designers to focus on value-added tasks rather than losing time on determining the status of the existing building condition.

3D Model in Action

HH Angus has captured and converted over 165 of our clients’ spaces to 3D models. We were engaged by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Centre to redesign and renovate the Nuclear Medicine and MRI areas of their Digital Imaging Suite. During the first site visit, HHA scanned the area using the Matterport Scanner to create a 3D model of the space. This model has since been used throughout the design and tender process of the project, and will continue to be used in the construction phase.

Authors:

Akira Jones

BIM Lead

akira.jones@hhangus.com

Melissa Parry

BIM Specialist

melissa.parry@hhangus.com

HH Angus is bringing home the bacon this morning with our sizzling Stampede Breakfast for staff and guests. It’s an annual all-you-can-eat summer extravaganza, featuring live music and good times, and where cowboy hats are the absolute last word in engineer fashion (Yes, we understand that’s an oxymoron!)

Kim Spencer, P.Eng., LEED®AP, Principal, brings to her new role a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector, with two decades as a successful and multifaceted manager and mechanical engineer with HH Angus. The Health Division is the firm’s largest service group, with millions of square feet of health care facilities designed by HH Angus in the last 5 years alone. Kim leads a large team of professionals providing design and engineering services to a range of facilities across Canada, including acute care, long term care, complex continuing care, mental health, children’s care, cancer centres, elder care, and rehabilitation centres.

“Kim’s promotion into this senior leadership role not only reflects her capabilities but also underscores the quality of our people, in that we are able to grow and develop leaders from within the firm,” said Paul Keenan, President, HH Angus. “Her deep understanding of the healthcare sector, communication skills and a client-centric approach will continue to grow our Health practice.”

Kim has earned a reputation for innovative engineering, sustainable design and successful project management, as well as a deep understanding of the healthcare sector. Equally, she is widely respected for a strong focus on clients and for her leadership skills in managing both people and projects. Kim’s portfolio includes new construction, expansion and renovation of acute care, complex continuing care, long-term care and mental health facilities, and experience with all forms of procurement, including P3s.

Kim is also an effective and timely communicator who understands that responsiveness is critical to successful project implementation and to building excellent client relationships. A few notable clients include: UHN, Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General), Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, South Bruce Grey Health Centre, ,Northern Health, Alberta Health Services, Quinte Healthcare, among many others.

“I’m very excited about my new role,” states Spencer. “I’m fortunate to work with such a talented team and look forward to contributing even further to the success of our clients and the firm.”

If you would like to contact Kim to find out how HH Angus can help you with your healthcare project, you can reach her at ;

Kim Spencer| Associate Director, Health Division, HH Angus and Associates Ltd

+1 (416) 443 8200

kim.spencer@hhangus.com

hhangus.com

Toronto-based HH Angus and Associates is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, and at the end of May the company announced that Paul Keenan, formerly director of its health division has been named president.

Keenan replaces Harry Angus, the third generation of the Angus family to lead the privately owned firm. Angus remains on as CEO and Chair of the Board.

A Queen’s University grad, Keenan has been with the firm for 25 years and served as director for the past decade. Also, within the past year, HH Angus was selected among Canada’s Best Managed Companies for 2019, an achievement received in its first year applying to the Deloitte program. And last fall the firm captured the Schreyer Award at the 2018 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards for its work on the CHUM hospital in Montreal.

We spoke with Keenan to discuss HH Angus and where it goes from here.

You’re the firm’s first president not named Angus. What does that mean for the company?
I think it in part means we’re maturing. The firm has grown to over 250 people, and I think that as a bigger company you need inputs from different areas. The family legacy is important and it continues—Megan Angus, Harry’s daughter, is one of the senior leaders in the organization—and although I’m not part of the family. I’ve grown up in the HH Angus way, so we’re maintaining some of that family connection and we’re enhancing it as we go forward.

Describe the HH Angus culture?
We try to maintain the family feel of the business, and with that comes a responsibility to the staff and a social responsibility to the community. Our turnover has been historically very low—we have 40 or 50 employees with over 25 years service—and that longevity and feeling part of a group is
important for us.

What is your leadership style?
My experience here has always felt like a series of careers within one career. I started on small projects, gaining skills and transitioning naturally from project to project with larger challenges and increasing levels of responsibility.

I want to create those opportunities for our people. We’ve got to give them the opportunity to succeed or fail and go from there. At some point we all make decisions, and we need to believe in our decision making process based on the experiences we’ve had. Trust yourself, trust your team, make your decision and then move forward.

It’s important not to get stuck; we need to keep our momentum going.

How does a consulting firm foster creativity & innovation among its employees?
I think that’s a challenge for the entire industry, and we need to move more quickly now, to get from ideas to execution. One of the things we’ve done this year is create an Innovation Hub, which is a forum and a place to gather a range of ideas and have our people practice making presentations and share ideas, and then flesh them out, incubate them and then execute.

How has the firm changed over the years?
Traditionally, mechanical/electrical consulting engineering-led projects had been half of our business, and then the world changed. We did a lot of healthcare-related work in the ’90s and have become recognized as healthcare experts. As that market has matured we’ve responded and entered different areas, for example transit, data centres, and more commercial work. Our energy group, that traditionally has done a lot of industrial work, is focused on more low-carbon, sustainable energy projects.

We also have some sub-specialities, such as vertical transportation, lighting design, and our ICAT group that does communications and consulting around smart buildings. You need to be diversified enough to respond to what the market is telling you.

How will you measure your success?
One of our primary objectives is to continue to be an independent firm. That comes with its challenges, but it also comes with its rewards.

We’ve been on a steady trajectory of growth and fundamentally we need to continue to grow; growth is important to create opportunities for our employees and for the underlying strength of our business. We need to be strong enough to resist whatever economic forces come along; we need to grow geographically; and we need to grow our share of the market and do the kind of interesting work that motivates our people.

Which HH Angus project has impressed you the most?
There are many projects in the history of the firm that are impressive and set us on the path of wanting to continue doing projects that are special and iconic. Personally, the Sick Kids research tower, a 750,000 sq. ft. research building, is iconic in the City of Toronto and more fundamentally is a place where important things happen for the future of this community and this country. 

Canadian Consulting Engineer
June/July 2019 

Link to the original article: https://www.cbj.ca/EMAG/2019/Sep/32-33/