With Laser Scanning continuing to gain popularity, more workflows than ever now rely on the unparalleled precision and speed offered by the latest in scanning technology. We here at FARO continue to bring new instruments to the table, and legislative changes revolutionising the ways in which project data is handled, getting it right in terms of data capture, processing and modelling is more critical than ever. One company who pride themselves on being well ahead of the competition is Worcester-based Bury Associates: Opti-cal caught up with MD Steve to talk all things buildings, BIM and Bury.
In a rapidly changing project landscape, survey businesses like Bury’s occupy an increasingly pastoral role when it comes to guiding clients through the project lifecycle; and they’re not alone – with specifications now littered with demands for BIM, tighter phase collaboration and the need to navigate complex software suites, knowledge in the supply chain is king. They often say that a workman is only as good as his tools, but even with the FARO Focus 3D X330, what truly sets Bury Associates above the competition is the sheer breadth of knowledge, and committed attention to detail that has characterised the business right from its humble beginnings. Commencing back in May this year, their latest project has focused around the documentation and refurbishment of several of the core buildings of the one of the UK’s major academic institutions. With plans to overhaul the structure of the existing buildings, the University commissioned Steve and his colleagues to comprehensively scan, model and deliver a functional Revit BIM from which plans to renovate the central portion of the building could progress.
Having used cutting-edge data modelling techniques since the early 2000s, Bury Associateshave spent the past fourteen years building a reputation as one of the UK’s most experienced topographic and measured building surveyors around. “The project was essentially to carry out scans, and produce a BIM of several buildings and key external areas”, explains Steve; “Scanning started on site in May 2014 and the last of the models was issued to the client in October.”
“The FARO Focus3D X330 has already been used on several other prestigious projects, providing the point cloud for a large Rights of Light model in central London – again, it proved to be invaluable.”
“The end goal is to completely transform a whole major block of buildings so as to make more use of the space available”, he continues, “at present, the main courtyard surrounded by large U-shaped building isn’t really being used at all, so this projects aims to put the space to better use by installing extra glass blocks and lecture theatres. Much of the scanning has been carried out using our new Faro Focus3DX330,” says Steve; “There weren’t many vantage points from which the buildings’ high roofs could be seen – and those that were visible were a good distance away – so a high powered scanner with sufficient range was necessary to pick up the detail needed to model everything as accurately as possible. We were really pleased with the quality of the point cloud we got from the X330; it was clean with little or no noise, and with full coverage even in areas covered in dark slate tiles.” Even with the significantly reduced site time enjoyed by those opting to use high definition 3D data capture methods, the project still demanded a huge amount of raw data from which to accurately model the buildings in question: “In total we’ve performed well over 1000 scans, with more than 200 of those being taken in the voids above suspended ceilings,” says Steve.
“Although using 3D Laser Scanning for as-built projects such as this one has been documented to cause some problems in terms of attributing good, solid data to the resulting 3D model, I think this is where our wealth of experience comes into its own, because intuitively we’ve already got a fairly good idea of the kinds of features we’re likely to come across in a building of this kind. Obviously, it’s not a complete solution because every building is different, so where we could we were scanning up above suspended ceilings using elevated tripods, and putting the scanner up through ceiling tiles!
As a company at the cutting edge of their art, Bury have always been eager to embrace the very latest in 3D data capture methods and their project solutions often stretch far beyond the initial remit of full three dimensional documentation. Now offering some of the most comprehensive project solutions around, Bury are no strangers to Laser Scanning; “The X330 has already been used on several of our other prestigious projects,” says Steve, “and once again it proved to be invaluable. The data collected using the X330 has been used to create a 3D Revit Building Information Model, which as well as basic structural information also includes detailed plant and MEP features.
As with many projects of this kind,it’s the work that takes place in the back office that often accounts for the majority of the time – and Bury’s latest endeavor is no exception, with months set aside for meticulous data processing. “The project has been quite a long one, and if we stay on track we’re due to finish around the end of this month,” he says, “Overall it’s progressed really well and we’ve had some excellent feedback from the design team; the challenge has been to ensure sustained collaboration between our team – using Revit to create our BIM – and the architects for the project who have been working in ArchiCAD, in order to maintain the smooth transfer of intelligent 3D information from one software suite to another.”
“I think it’s critical with all of the projects coming our way nowadays to get the modelling side of things right because so often we’re modelling everything – MEP and so on –not just the architecture,” Steve continues. Contrary to the swathes of survey companies seeking to harness the momentum of the industry ‘BIM buzz’ by simply outsourcing their modeling work,Bury are one of the few businesses who have taken the time to really perfect their modelling art in-house. With major legislative changes on the horizon for businesses at all levels of the supply chain, Bury Associates are way ahead of the competition; now proudly boasting BIM deliverables amongst their regular survey services. “We have been working with and modelling in Revit since 2007 – in truth way before many of our competitors – so in terms of the skill set we have at our disposal, we’re pretty confident in the quality of modelling services we can deliver from the survey side of things.”
“We always have, and will continue to be as hands-on as we possibly can with our projects”, says Steve: “The argument for outsourcing increasingly critical modeling work is often based on the assumption of cost-saving, but at the end of the day, saving twenty percent on modeling costs pales quickly when you consider the sheer amount of errors that so often occur as a result of businesses trying to cut corners. Maintaining the integrity and accuracy of intelligent data is crucial to the success of any project hoping to experience any kind of real success.”