The Best of the Best of the Best Practices for As-Built BIM Projects


Five industry experts recently contributed their know-how to an excellent report called 33 Expert Tips, Tactics & Best Practices for As-Built BIM Project Success. There’s a ton of great stuff in there, but if you’re thinking“33 tips sounds like a lot to read!”- I can help you out. I read them all, and like the great MIB scene I’ve selected the best of the best of the best, SIR! With honors.
(MIB is BIM backwards after all)

Full disclosure: I started working for ClearEdge a few weeks ago. Before that I was Director of VDC for Beck Group in Dallas where I managed hundreds of BIM projects and provided Laser Scanning and As-Built Modeling services. So here are my top 5 Best Practices from the ClearEdge report along with extra commentary from me and a bonus tip at the end. You can download the full report here.

Best of the Best for As-Built BIM Projects

Here are my top 5 best practices with a notation on where they are in the Report:

5.(#16 in the report) Target-less, Targets, or Survey Control? It Depends!

Choose proper control for your project. Common options include target, target-less, or survey control to register your scans. Use a combination of targets and survey control on large projects to achieve the highest level of accuracy. Target-less registration is gaining in quality and popularity. When applying target-less registration, an increase in scan overlap will similarly increase registration accuracy. – Matthew Byrd

My Take: In most cases a hybrid registration is the way to go. This provides most of the speed benefits of a cloud-to-cloud registration but provides survey grade absolute accuracy as the foundation. Plus, control points give you a critical QA metric for registration and field control! At the end of the day, make sure you understand what you’re sacrificing without survey control if you go that route. Relative accuracy and absolute accuracy are not the same thing.

4.(#7) Create a Scan Plan Before Work Begins

Even a medium-sized scanning/modeling job can be overwhelming. Pre-plan how you’re going to scan it by developing a scan location map and work schedule. You may need to coordinate with the client to schedule access to certain areas of the building or neighboring structures. Consider staffing and equipment requirements such that you can deliver the project on time and on budget. Having a scanning plan gives you a roadmap to help ensure a smooth data acquisition phase of the project. – Mark Hanna

My Take: Scan plans are great ways to uncover differences between what you think you need and what you really need from your data. They also help you understand the impacts (good and bad) from different types of control. If you’re not doing these, you’re planning to fail.

3 (#2) Clearly Define Project Scope of Work

Even today, a defined Scope of Work often isn’t part of a standard pre-project agreement. Be sure to take this opportunity to help the client define the project and its deliverable specifications. There are a lot of variables in an as-built project; the client will appreciate your guidance and give you an opportunity to convey your expertise in a consultative way. Here are a few questions to cover. – Mark Hannah

My Take: For starters, there are some great documents from the USIBD to help out with this. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a considering hiring one to scan for you, head on over to their site and download their RFP and LOA template documents. Other than that, 80% of projects that go bad do so because they weren’t scoped correctly. That’s an approximate number, but I’ll stick to my guns on it.

2 (#32) Put Fear of New Technology Aside

Be bold. Be an innovator! Try different data capture devices such as handhelds. Explore new technology like automated modeling software. Seek people with experience…most are very willing to share knowledge. Don’t forget to give back to the community by sharing your successes, knowledge, and failures! – Alex Demogines

My Take: Obviously, I’m not inclined to sit on the sidelines and wait for a technology to reach maturity. I like to get in early. There are some great benefits to doing so, particularly at an alpha or beta stage. You get to help shape a software or hardware product. You can make sure your workflow is considered or even favored. You build a deeper understanding of the underlying technology which helps you understand both what it will be great at and what it can’t ever be expected to do. Frequently the vendor you’re working with is happy to help you get conference classes or publications! (Or, in my case, a job!)

1 (#29) Check Work by Doing a Walkthrough with Navisworks

Autodesk Navisworks is a great tool for aggregating and overlaying data. Once imported into Navisworks, walk through the model to find errors and omissions within the model. Incorporate this step into your delivery process to ensure a high quality product. – Greg Hale

My Take: QA is a huge blind spot for most providers and consumers of as-built models from laser scans. The tools to do this effectively just haven’t existed. Happily, we’re about to launch a new product called Verity that integrates with Navisworks and dramatically accelerates the QA process for both Scan-To-BIM providers and Contractors. If you’re curious, check out our newsletter!

Here’s my bonus tip: Understand the WHY of a project

Work to really understand WHY the client needs you to scan. Often times they aren't even 100% sure. If you ask the right questions and know the need you can often do less work and provide more value at the same time by giving them exactly what they need and not a bunch of stuff they don't. That is a recipe for happier clients AND better profits.

Kelly Cone joined ClearEdge3D in November of 2016. Before that he was Director of VDC for Beck Group in Dallas where he managed hundreds of BIM projects and provided Laser Scanning and As-Built Modeling services during his 10 years there. 33 Expert Tips, Tactics & Best Practices for As-Built BIM Project Success is available free from ClearEdge3D. You can download the full report here.


Thanks for reading!

Please enjoy a limited number of articles over the next 30 days.

For total access log in to your The BIM Hub account. Or register now, it's free.

Register Sign in