In the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, 3D reality capture is the process of scanning a building, portion of a building, equipment or site in the real world and converting the scanned data into a useful 3D digital model. A physical space is scanned using various technologies to collect huge amounts of spatial data to create different types of 3D visualization—from 360 degree 4K videos and photorealistic walkthroughs to 3D mesh or point clouds models. Whether using LIDAR-based technology or technology based on photogrammetry, knowing which technology to use for a given application is key to solving the challenges our clients are facing in the operation and maintenance of their facilities.
Why use it?
While you can use traditional 2D design and as-built drawings for a project, 3D reality capture can offer many benefits over the traditional approach, including saving time, reducing costs and improving accuracy.
Barriers to adoption decreasing. The cost of 3D scanners and other reality capture hardware has become increasingly affordable, even as quality and features continue to improve. Also, the software has become very intuitive and easy-to-use.
Highly accurate and reliable information. The reliability of existing as-built 2D drawings often varies from project to project and can be a pain point in retrofits and renovations. Instead of depending on outdated drawings or time-consuming manual measurements or surveys, reality capture technology can capture existing site conditions very efficiently and accurately. The 3D scan and resultant 3D models can then be quickly actioned by importing into the BIM software of choice and utilized by the entire project team.
Create efficiencies. Due to its accuracy and speed, reality capture reduces the need for multiple site visits – many of which are typically made simply to re-measure or double check survey results. By ‘capturing once’, project teams can use 3D scans or BIM models to derive more insights and identify potential conflicts or opportunities much earlier in the design and construction process.
Scan to BIM. By scanning the existing conditions and creating a functional BIM model, teams can begin designing immediately, allowing for greater accuracy, reduction in rework and shortening project schedules.
Improved collaboration. We typically make the resulting 3D scans and/or BIM models available in the cloud, allowing everyone involved in the design and construction process to access the one model from anywhere. Teams can be based anywhere and have the ability to view and interact with the data in real-time – making notes, providing feedback, taking measurements of existing site conditions from the 3D model, and making iterative design changes in a highly interactive and collaborative way.
Documenting progress. Reality Capture allows for fast and efficient documentation of construction progress. Regular scans of the site help ensure that construction is matching the design intent and allows the team to discover discrepancies before they become costly mistakes.
How HH Angus is Using Reality Capture
3D reality capture is very convenient, allowing us to capture dimensionally-accurate records of systems infrastructure (usually hidden above ceilings, under floors or behind walls), without having to rely on sketches or individual photos. Each 3D reality capture tool has unique advantages and applications. Knowing which tool is the best resource in a given situation forms part of the expertise of HH Angus’ technical staff.
Our current in-house technologies capture site data via a Matterport scanner or Theta V 360 camera. The Matterport scanner has an accuracy of 99% to reality; plus 3D scans are captured in 4K, providing very detailed high-resolution images. The scans are hosted on the Matterport cloud platform, and users can easily access or share them through any web browser. We can also produce point cloud data from the Matterport scans, which can be imported into a Revit model for our clients or their third-party vendors, such as architects, contractors, facility maintenance staff, other engineering disciplines, etc.