Monday, August 25, 2014

Case Study: MEP Facility Scanning

At Direct Dimensions we use many 3D laser scanning technologies for a wide range of applications. This case study illustrates how we used a spherical laser to capture and 3D model a complicated MEP space within an historic building for renovation into new modern living spaces.

The Backstory:
The current Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity was built in Emmitsburg in 1964 and was used to house the Sisters and headquarter various charitable efforts. But like other religious orders in the United States, the Daughters of Charity membership has dwindled and by 2009 the building was severely underutilized. Rather than let the building sit empty, the Sisters proposed a plan in which the unused space could be used to create affordable apartments and assisted living facilities for local senior citizens. While the structure itself was in excellent condition, the electrical and mechanical systems would have to be updated to accommodate the new facilities.

The Challenge:
To plan for the overhaul and installation of the new MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) systems for the historic facility, Whiting-Turner, the construction contractor, needed a fast and accurate 3D layout of the boiler room, and the various aged components and extensive piping. The traditional methods of hand tools, such as tape measures, distance meters, and sketch pads is time consuming, expensive, must all be done on-site, and prone to numerous errors. Whiting-Turner and The Daughters of Charity found an excellent solution with Direct Dimensions using long range laser scanners and advanced 3D software tools.

Just a small section of the antiquated MEP space which would need to be fully and accurately documented in 3D

Click here to learn about how Direct Dimensions solved this problem using 3D scanning and modeling.

The Solution:
Using 3D laser scanning technology, specifically the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner, Direct Dimensions technicians traveled to the building site in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Over two days at the site, the crew of two compiled significant amounts of raw 3D data throughout the 11,000 square foot mechanical space including capturing all of the MEP components and pipes.

Full color 3D point cloud

This raw laser data, in the form of “3D point clouds,” was carried back to the office in Owings Mills, MD where it was aligned, cleaned, processed and modeled using various software tools including PolyWorks, Rhino3D and Pointools. The final 3D CAD model of the entire space was delivered to Whiting-Turner for importation into REVIT and Navisworks. This deliverable format allowed it to be used to plan and design the installation of the new equipment.

The Benefits:

    Time – Lasers cut the time on-site into two days vs. weeks using conventional methods
    Cost – the overall cost may be more, but the value of the final product is significant
    Accuracy – Lasers are very accurate, especially over long distances, compared to other tools
    Completeness – the entire space was captured and modeled, nothing was missed
    Safety – overhead measurements are safely performed from the floor
    Format – the final 3D CAD deliverable imports directly into virtually all softwares

The Bottom Line:
This project is just another example of the work that Direct Dimensions does every day. Are you renovating an older structure? Do you need an accurate as-built for architectural design, planning, and analysis? Contact the experts at Direct Dimensions now to get a free proposal for your project.