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Survey 4 BIM

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Survey 4 BIM is the generic term for Geomatics professionals capturing 3D information to aid creation of a BIM for existing buildings, plant & infrastructure.

Laserscanning is not the only form of data capture to enable creation of BIM for existing structures, but it is highly efficient compared to conventional survey plans sections and elevations when representing complex 3D geometry.  It's nickname is 'realty capture' or Scan2BIM and can use a variety of techniques from mobile mapping from the back of a moving vehicle to terrestrial scanning on conventional tripods.

When done correctly, laserscanning produces a 'registered point cloud' of survey points in 3D space.  This can then be used as the accurate base from which BIM elements can be created.


The content of the 'BIM readymodel' created is then dependent upon a number of factors:

  • The collaboration between interested parties to define the initial scope
  • The use of a BIM specification or execution plan
  • The skill of the modellers workflow
  • The accuracy & level of modelled detail required
  • The level of parametric linking required
  • The niche knowledge of structural elements, M&E, architecture present

One thing is for certain - specifying a retrofit BIM project is not just a red line around the outside or a one size fits all approach.  But it can be the start of a giant leap forward in terms of measured survey, collaboration & visualisation.

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Posted by

Nick Blenkarn

Managing Director in Seeable Ltd, Bespoke 3D/BIM visualisation APPs Director of the Severn Partnership Ltd, Chartered Geomatics Surveyors Nick is a Chartered Geomatics surveyor with a Masters degree from University College London, 26 years experience in surveying. Involved with 3D laser scanning from 2004, Nick has managed a variety of survey projects from Kings Cross station refurbishment, to kinematic scanning of the Severn Railway Tunnel. In 2009, setting up Severn’s scan to BIM capability and aided in preparing one of the first survey for BIM execution plans. In 2013, Nick launched Seeable Ltd to facilitate non technical access ... Learn more

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