What do you call a project involving a steam chamber, a web of structural steel, confined spaces, and zero time? Some might say that's a nightmare; we call it an opportunity to implement new solutions.

Luckett & Farley's structural engineers were approached by its "raw-materials-producer" client to assist with installing new platforms and ladders for maintenance workers to better access equipment within a large steam chamber. The catch: there's no opportunity for the contractor to verify and measure existing conditions or obstructions - and there are a lot of them! Additionally, how can we provide a design that works without running into conflicts in the field? How can we get a contractor to bid from realistic drawings that convey all of the constraints and scope of the project, to avoid paying premiums for  "ambiguity" ?

Laser technology & 3D modeling

Our client quickly jumped on the idea of performing a "reality capture" survey (i.e. 3D laser scan) that Luckett & Farley could use  to constuct a Building Information Model (BIM) for the project. A series of scans in and around the chamber, by our consultant, helped generate millions and millions of data points. The collective of points creates a Point Cloud file, which Revit 2013 recognizes and can be sliced, diced, and manipulated to see what is happening in the chamber. Below is a series of photos showing the design progression from "the cloud" to construction documents.

A series of 3D laser scans creates a ghostly blob that is, "the Point Cloud"


The existing conditions


Point Cloud used to create demolition drawings


Final product: new platform configuration model


Construction documents


The Revit model generated from the scanning and modeling process has now been used on two additional projects. Our client regularly hangs 30"x42" renderings on the wall for reference in conversation (I think they do it because it looks cool). Watch for future blog updates describing the reality capture and modeling process...

Hope you get a kick out of it, just as much we did modeling it.

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