Laser Scanning for Design-Build Organizations

The Design Build Contractor (or firm) combines the traditionally separated processes of design and construction to provide a cheaper, streamlined project deliverable workflow. Design builders have the advantage of directly overseeing the execution of their projects, and thus have a direct involvement with reworking and risk management strategies. For some smaller firms, purchasing a laser scanner may stretch well beyond the budgetary boundaries, although there are cost effective rental solutions and training programs. In any decently sized outfit, the laser scanner is a pragmatic tool essential to the unique management style of the standard design build firm. In either case, and after working for Design Build companies, we at LSA see it as the perfect tool to increase profitability and open the door for bigger, more complex projects.

D-B Firms will work on projects like remodeling and renovating large residential or small commercial buildings, the execution of very specific elements of a construction job, or manufacturing and installing custom sized architectural details such as casework, doors, cabinetry and other similar fixtures. Many times (and especially with older buildings), sufficient as-built documentation either does not currently exist or is not sufficient for the design needs of the project. Accurate As-Built Documentation is essential to the profitability of a design build firm, yet the time allotted to acquire it is often little to none. Enter the laser scanner.

A firm typically needs to gather enough basic information on a potential project site to provide an original quote to a client that is at least fairly accurate. Depending on the complexity and size of the project, terrestrial laser scanning (especially a Scan-to-BIM workflow) quickly provides the necessary information to execute this essential step. Firms are rarely (or never) paid for assessing site conditions and putting together a quote – however, the initial quote has to be accurate enough to ensure that the Design Builder will not lose any money, or overshoot the initial budget of the client (in which case its likely they will take their business elsewhere). Implementing a reality capture workflow from the start will reduce the time dedicated to furnishing an initial quote, as well as providing a quicker, more accurate turn around on each following step of the project.

The Conceptualization of a project must quickly follow the initial quote. Here Laser Scanning streamlines yet another stage of the design build process by greatly reducing the amount of time dedicated to preparing and finalizing the design. Reality capture provides rich 3D models to work with, as well as paving the way for integrating BIM models into the design flow, which any savvy designer knows is a huge time saver.

 After the design stage, the greatest advantage for the Design-Build Company is the ability to effectively manage construction. It’s rare that a project is executed without some reworking of the design during the construction phase, either at the request of the client or as conditions change. Many times these edits are rather minor, and can be edited easily in the construction documents, if these documents are well composed and managed. Here BIM is an essential to effectively managing a project and keeping it (ideally) under budget, as the project is edited holistically and not piece-wise. For larger projects, terrestrial scanning can be used as means of progress verification and clash detection. Laser Scanning can also be extremely useful for pre-fabricating parts of a project, or replicating previously existing details. Instead of spending costly time drafting and measuring existing architectural details, scanning puts the blueprint in the hands of the manufacturer almost immediately. Combined with technologies such as 3D printing, the workflow of Measure-Edit-Manufacture becomes a much more powerful tool for the small business.

Learn about the possibilities of laser scanning for design build applications, either through renting a FARO Focus3D X 330,  or having one of our certified technicians provide our laser scanning service and training.