How can Scan to BIM add value to your construction process


To renovate any building may it be commercial, residential or historical is an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process. On top of it when outdated methods of construction are used it can increase the time and effort spent and ultimately lead to an unsatisfactory outcome. With project teams working in isolation, lack of coordination, extensive onsite errors it is not surprising that traditional methods often result in time-draining rework and have a negative impact on the financial prospect of the project. It is here that the modern methods of technology like Scan to BIM can hold the key to an effective renovation process.

Scan to BIM can be defined as a process of 3D laser scanning a building and then creating a digital representation of the building’s physical and functional characteristics from the resultant data. By capturing as-built conditions the architects and engineers can effectively move ahead with the renovation process. In the current article we shall look at how Point Cloud to BIM process works and how to utilize Scan to BIM Services for renovation of Buildings.

The Scan to BIM Process:

  1. The first step is to define the scope of the project. It means that right from the start the purpose of the project i.e. weather it is complete refurbishment, partial renovation etc. should be clear. Following which it becomes simpler to decide the level of detailing required in the project and what elements need to be modelled and scanned. With the higher LOD the precision and cost of the BIM model is higher. Thus, here an appropriate level of balance must be made between the required LOD and the budget of the project.
  2. The next step is to actually 3D Scan the building. Ideally, these eye safe laser scanners are attached to a tripod from which they rotate at high speed. The laser beams fall on different objects and their positions are recorded as points. The cluster of these points together create a precise digital picture of the place.
  3. The building area can be extremely wide and hence the scanning process is not always done from one vantage point. Hence, the scans need to be stitched together by various methods such as planes, targets, cloud to cloud etc. to get an accurate representation of the place. Most of the time 360 degree pictures taken of the building act as a reference point.
  4. The final 3D scan is then imported into a 3D BIM Software like Revit, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, etc. to create the BIM model of the existing building conditions.

The Value of Scan to BIM for Renovation process:

  1. Accurate representation of As-built conditions:

Point cloud to BIM process provides holistic and essential knowledge about the building and its components. With 3D laser scanning it is possible to locate hidden MEP components and with BIM it is possible to understand their specifications i.e. which year they were manufactured in, their materials, whether updated versions are available currently etc. With proper details it becomes simpler to identify any essential and crucial issues in the building design.

  1. Flawless Collaboration between multiple teams:

To renovate a building requires input from multiple disciplines of construction, namely architecture, engineering and MEP. If all these teams were working in silos it would be very difficult to get a flawless building design in the end. The cloud based BIM environment allows multiple teams to work together from different locations. Any changes that are made in the 3D model are instantly updated and reflected so that everyone remains on the same page and no errors arise due to miscommunication.

  1. Clash Detection:

In BIM it is easily possible to integrate the architectural, structural and MEP models to create a well-coordinated 3D model. The 3D model can be used to identify any design issues, potential threats as well as any hard or soft clash in the structure which needs to be renovated. Clash Detection becomes imperative when it comes to renovation projects as the architects and engineers face a complex task of replacing or reconstructing certain components while preserving another. By using Clash Detection, it becomes possible to identify loopholes, design redundancies, or make any of the modifications in the preconstruction phase itself. This would not just save on cost, time and resources but could also prevent any onsite accidents and boost safety of the workers.

  1. Enhanced Visualization:

In any renovation process it is important for the client to also visualize the end design properly as they must be able to accept the new design and compare it with the older version. They might also want to incorporate certain design elements from the old building design into the new building.  With BIM it is possible for the clients to get a complete view of the renovated design to gain an idea about how to new building will look and if it meets with their expectations. It is also possible to use 3D rendering and virtual reality to get a photorealistic feel of the design.


In any renovation process the goal is to work productively and efficiently to increase the speed of construction at a greater profit. Any unforeseen elements discovered in the building structure and unexpected design errors could negatively impact the whole project timeline and budget. By using Point Cloud to BIM Services AEC firms can get to the forefront of these issues and BIM with better collaboration, visualization and clash detection ensures that the whole renovation process goes smoothly.