BIM News

Cutting-Edge and Laser-Sharp: Scanning RICS HQ


The building, located on London's Parliament Square, was previously laser-scanned in November 2013. The resulting three-dimensional model has been used for all kinds of applications from BIM model development to testing automated cost estimation. But something was missing - over 25% of the building to be exact.

Keep pace with surveying technology

Our facilities team worked with our Geomatics professional group and experts from BCIS, together deciding to complete the RICS measured survey and model. Two years is a lifetime in surveying technology and software development so it was of great interest to see these new techniques in action.

The original geo-survey practice Severn Partnership was again contracted to carry out a scanned survey of the ‘missing’ elements of the RICS HQ model. Of course, the missing bits all tend to be the hardest to reach - from the ‘catacombs/bike storage area’ to the walk-in safe, staircases and other nooks and crannies.

The Severn Partnership team used an HDS Laser scanner such as a Leica P20 and a Z+F IMAGER® 5010C. Survey Control, necessary to tie the survey coordinate system to national grid and to ‘control’ the various scans, (think of stitching several photos together) was observed using Trimble RX10 GPS units and a Trimble S8 1” Total Station.

The survey specification was based on our measured survey 3rd 2014 specification and guidance. The actual physical survey is just the start of the process (an initial recce is essential). The resulting, adjusted, data from the laser scans comes as a ‘point cloud’ and needs careful analysis using Leica Cyclone v9.1 registration software.

So what pops out the other end of all of this amazingly accurate data and what can we use it for?

Captured once but used many times

The surveying mantra ‘capture once use many times’ really comes into its own here and the resulting three-dimensional model can be used over and over again. As a starting point it means that the accurate measured survey (1:50 scale) of RICS HQ is complete and can be used for:

  • Facilities management applications such as room management and mechanical/electrical layout
  • Virtual fly-through and viewing by potential clients and hospitality users
  • The development of a full BIM model of RICS HQ
  • Implementation of IPMS style ‘measurement’ for rental/valuation potential using the true measured survey as the starting point
  • An energy efficiency survey
  • Improved security information showing access/exit points, windows, roof space etc
  • Development of cost estimation and BCIS testing of construction information and costing
  • Learning and marketing uses for online training
  • Careers – the imagery looks good and we are looking at ‘gamifying’ RICS HQ as a game involving zombies or giant spiders....or both

Leading by example

To my mind the strongest result will be in highlighting how we're ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to use of BIM and utilisation of cutting edge technology. It’s only really by doing it ourselves and by getting into the processes that we can understand how BIM really works and move beyond the cheerleading stage to the reality of implementation.

In doing we can follow the steep learning curve that many of our members are undertaking themselves.

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