Reality Capture for BIM

Reality Capture for BIM

Author: Renata Barradas Gutiérrez

3D digital models with integrated functional characteristics has changed the way in which individuals, businesses and governments plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure. Building Information Modeling (BIM) has changed the way professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction industries improve coordination and reduce rework thanks to 3D intelligent models that are accurate, accessible and actionable.

Sertogal SL used Leica Geosystems’ laser scanning solutions to create a BIM model that will guide the remodeling and expansion of the electrical substation of Mera in the Spanish province of Ourense. This project is part of an ambitious initiative that will partly absorb the energy production generated by 17 new wind farms planned in the region.

Laser scanning – the foundation for a full BIM model

To plan the remodeling and expansion of the substation, the first step was to measure its distances, angles and areas, with millimetric accuracy. Sertogal SL captured the substation with the Leica ScanStation C10 and georeferenced the point cloud obtained with the Leica Viva GNSS technology.

“We have worked for a long time with a wide range of Leica Geosystems equipment due to its great reliability and precision. The C10 ScanStation was no exception - it can be easily adapted to scan buildings, substations or electrical high-tension towers,” said Sergio Rodríguez, technical industrial engineer at Sertogal SL. “The laser scanner allowed us to capture the substation without entering in dangerous high voltage areas with risks.”

“The great precision and lack of noise in the generated point clouds permitted us to work in a complex structure with metallic elements and grids to obtain a BIM model that is a true representation of reality,” said Rodríguez.

The post processing, modeling and managing of the point cloud was done with Leica Cyclone, the market leader point cloud processing software. The rich as-built point cloud data from the substation was imported to Autodesk Revit to create the BIM model, and Autodesk Navisworks was used to insert and catalogue the elements into the BIM model.

Intelligent asset documentation for everyone

The 3D intelligent as-built model Sertogal SL obtained from the point cloud of the substation:

  • Gathered the existing conditions
  • Measured the distances
  • Analysed the site

This created the preliminary plans for the substation and the surrounding environment.

“The great volume of data obtained made possible a very accurate modelling of the elements and structures that are part of the substation,” said Bruno Sánchez Ucha, BIM expert at Sertogal SL.

The delivered BIM model of the substation allows stakeholders to take a digital tour that offers a complete outlook of the captured reality plus the visualisation of its different parts and elements with linked information.

Wires, tubes, isolators, circuit breakers and so forth, were embedded as intelligent elements and grouped in systems. This enables all parties involved in the remodeling to review how the projected substation developments will look like and how changes will transform the current space.

This intelligent model-based design process will help to start the renovations and manage operations in the future, and will drive workflows with accuracy and in a more productive way.

BIM – a must-have

An increasing number of companies around the world understand the value and benefits of BIM across the lifecycle of building and infrastructure projects.

The rising demand for BIM projects has convinced Sertogal SL of the opportunity to position itself as a pioneer in Spain, offering BIM services for several maintenance and renovation projects.

Governments around the world, such as the Ministry of Public Works in Spain, are recommending, encouraging or mandating BIM, recognising the value and benefits it delivers:

  • Reduce project duration and cycle time of specific workflows.
  • Enhance collaboration and coordination in every stage of a project.
  • Reduce errors and omissions with accurate documentation.
  • Create new business by offering new services.
  • Increase profit, and reduce construction costs and waste.

Professionals have to be equipped with a laser scanner that delivers outstanding precision, rate, speed and data quality to create a BIM model. Leica Geosystems laser scanning technology helps create such a model that provides the right insights so managers can understand risks and make informed decisions to deliver projects responsibly despite time constrains.

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