The original was thirteen years in planning, design, and construction. This year, after 22 years in operation, the Frederik Meijer Gardens began a $115 million expansion and improvement project for several buildings on the grounds. A new education section, new entryway, new mezzanine, and office space are all included in the expansion of the main building. 3-dimensional laser scanning has already yielded four significant advantages to the architects and engineers running the project.

First, the engineers and architects used the expertise of 3D Imaging Services to laser scan and to build a base Revit model of the building. The extensive model cut the time to prepare various required documents in half, according to the Engineering BIM Manager, Steve Saltsman of Progressive AE. He added, “3DIS became an extension of our team, working with us to finish on time.”

Second, the new Revit model supplanted inaccurate printed documents. The laser scanning revealed significant errors in the old drawings, e.g. structural columns that were actually a foot away from where the drawings showed them. Also, the new model contains a lot more detail than the printed construction documents. And the laser scanning data includes every detail of the building, inside and out. By correcting the errors of the old drawings, both engineers and architects have a perfect base on which to build their new designs. The longer the errors went undetected, the more expensive it would have been to correct them. A common estimating heuristic says correcting such errors during construction is as much as 500 times more expensive than making the correction in the early stages of design.

Third, the use of a common, accurate base model has made communication between the architects and the engineers much easier. Changes made by one organization are immediately visible to all the others. Coordinating changes has become almost trivial instead of worrisome and prone to errors.

Fourth, with desktop access to the laser scanning data, the engineers and architects can answer a myriad of questions that come up during every project. (“Is there enough space to bring in the new chiller through that aisle?” What about the cable overhead?) These and many other questions are answered with a few clicks without ever leaving your comfortable office chair. No trip to the site – three states over – is needed. The savings in time and money compound.

Do you have questions about how this technology might be applied to your business or area of study? Give us a call or drop a line.

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