Building Information Modelling (BIM) has steadily increased in adoption and popularity around the globe. Defined as “a proven process that keeps projects on time and on budget, reducing rework and increasing predictability and profitability” by Leica Geosystems BIM Field Trip, this 3D model-based system is saving architects, engineers and construction (AEC) industry professionals a significant amount of time and costs.
One firm in the Netherlands fully believes in this concept and has dedicated itself entirely to the endeavour. BIM4ALL, a member of the Brevo Group, is an innovative engineering firm on a mission to share BIM with all areas of the AEC industry. Committed to optimise the processes of building projects, BIM4ALL reduces construction errors and decreases building costs through its knowledge and experience with BIM.
As users of Leica Geosystems 3D laser scanners, total stations and GNSS solutions, BIM4ALL serves more than 200 clients worldwide with an average of 400 BIM projects each year. The firm has made quite a name for itself, landing accounts with the likes of Apple and Tesla, while also supporting more local AEC companies.
“As our tag line states, we are committed to ‘building value’ with our customers and in the industry overall,” said Jasper Voortman, 3D laser scanning manager at BIM4ALL. “Our services improve building construction, helping to reduce mistakes in the field by creating precise 3D models in the office.”
Services for various projects
Though the firm specialises in BIM, there are many facets within that concept. BIM4ALL prides itself on providing a full portfolio to its clients that brings added value and consultation. The services are:
3D Laser Scanning
BIM Academy (Partner of Autodesk and Solibri)
BIM Visualisations (in cooperation with Studio X)
These services have been used across the Netherlands and internationally. Some of BIM4ALL’s projects include:
BIM for a new housing development in The Hague
BIM for new construction of bridges in Denmark
BIM coordination and management for government buildings in the Netherlands
BIM coordination with 3D laser scanning and BIM modelling of a new railway station in the Netherlands
BIM coordination with 3D laser scanning and BIM modelling for renovation of a major department store in Amsterdam
“Our customers call us ‘BIM masters’, and we’re proud of that. We’re innovating the building sector. Like the name of our firm, we believe everyone can benefit from BIM, and it’s our goal to share this technology and our knowledge, to make everything once thought was impossible, possible,” said Voortman.
Taking laser scanning below ground
BIM is not only useful for the construction of new buildings, but also for the renovations of buildings and objects. To do this, it is a key step to measure the real world and capture it into a 3D model. The best way to do this is by laser scanning. This enables BIM practitioners to accurately capture environments in detail for as-built checks of renovations, retrofits, validation and documentation.
Recently, multiple companies in the Netherlands contacted BIM4ALL to document sewer pits across the whole country. Throughout the nation, there are around 80 million of these sewer pits and at least 10% of them needs to be replaced, due to corrosion from hydrogen sulfide gas.
When using the traditional means of excavating the pits, costs would run too high and it would pose a risk to the environment, not to mention the long duration of such a project. Using laser scanning, however, a composite mold can be made to renovate the corrosive areas in less than a day.
“With our laser scanners we are able to capture each of these pits in about half an hour. That way we keep personnel out of the pits, which leads to safer operations,” said Voortman. “The costs go down, time savings go up, and the environment is significantly less disturbed.”
BIM4ALL used the Leica RTC360 3D laser scanner to document 5-metre-deep pits. Capturing 2 million points per second, each pit only took 15 to 30 minutes to complete. In conjunction, the Leica iCON gps 70 T GNSS receiver was used with the Dutch coordinate system to accurately locate and measure the depth of the pits. With an inertial measurement unit (IMU) that enables accurate tilt compensation, the staff was able to easily measure hard-to-reach areas of the pit.
The detailed scans were processed in Leica Cyclone point cloud processing software then exported using the Leica CloudWorx for 3D Reshaper plugin to visualise meshes for the client’s review. This reduces noise in the point clouds, enabling clients to clearly see the corrosion in the pits and allowing them to precisely create the needed composite molds.
“We’ve been working with Leica Geosystems solutions for one year now, and we can assure you that they provide the right tools to optimise our work process even further,” said Voortman. “The mix of technologies Leica Geosystems provides helped us create the added value for our customer that we strive to provide in every project.”
BIM gains even more and more users worldwide. Even several governments are now requiring BIM for all their construction or renovation projects. Firms like BIM4ALL and specialists like Voortman prove, with their knowledge and various services, the high potential and endless possibilities of the working method and the new technologies for the construction industry.
Creating virtual reality with laser scanning
As part of the Brevo Group, BIM4ALL has direct access to virtual, augmented and mixed reality creations through its sister company, Studio X.
So, it is no surprise, that when the contractor of the sewer pits asked what the possibilities were on behalf of a reality experience, Studio X happily stepped in.
Due to extracting the high-dynamic range images from the RTC360 scans, the team at Studio X was able to create a virtual reality experience, seen through an Oculus VR headset.
“By being able to experience the scans through VR (Virtual Reality), our client was blown away with how clearly they could see the extent of corrosion,” said Voortman. “As a member of the Brevo Group, it’s great to bring new technologies into the construction industry that can help them to make smarter and more informed choices, by optimizing the process and reduce (building)costs.”