Boon for the Trades
With expertise still in mind, the menu of services available to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) trades who call upon H3D is equally extensive and can prove invaluable. It includes everything on the reality-capture side: laser scanning, total station work, and drone photography/photogrammetry. For BIM work, they offer model coordination as well as 3D modeling itself.
“Much of that work revolves around our use of laser scanning and for that we’ve chosen the GLS-2000 from Topcon,” said Young. “When we were first looking to buy a 3D laser scanner I spent hours on the phone with Bill Stull from Branco Equipment, our local Topcon dealer, discussing the options for our desired workflows and the different solutions available to us. Since then, they’ve been there every step of the way, from training to technical support. They also keep us informed as things in the scanning and layout realm continue to evolve. The solution we chose is a powerful, yet lightweight instrument that has been a workhorse for us.”
For renovations or improvement fit-outs, Young said they first scan all the existing conditions, then incorporate that scan data into the design models or provide it back to the design team to confirm that steel or existing systems are where they should be.
The nature of Haydon’s work demands high degrees of accuracy, accompanied by an unquestioned level of accountability. To ensure both as part of its QA/QC protocols, H3D calls on either its laser scanner or an IS-3 robotic imaging total station, also from Topcon. The latter is used to confirm accuracies on various aspects of the work — the position of anchor bolts before steel is erected; the positioning of concrete formwork, MEP layout as duct work is going up, etc.
“On BIM projects, the scanner can be an integral part of the QC function and we take the pre-scanning process very seriously,” said Young. “Using a set of plans or prints, we first lay out the areas we need to capture to avoid having any gaps in coverage. That scan is a powerful tool to verify that our trade partners have done their respective installations per the model. In many regards, our scanner is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment we own.”
An Amazing Catch
It’s not always easy to quantify the impact a practice, a piece of equipment or a newly-added solution has had on a company’s operation, and the same could be said for H3D’s assessment of the laser scanner. But while a specific dollar amount cannot be pegged, Young is quick to say that the savings they’ve seen so far have been substantial.
“The biggest benefits can be seen in the money saved avoiding costly re-work, and for us that’s easily been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. “For example, on a tenant improvement that included a fit-out/remodel on two floors of a hospital, we received an as-built model from the owner and the design firm. They had the duct work, the steel, and various systems modeled, indicating where they were ‘installed,’ and we were assured that we could trust that data.”
While having no specific reason to doubt the veracity of the models, fortunately, the phrase “out of an abundance of caution,” ruled the day. Wanting to verify all of those locations, H3D brought the GLS 3D laser scanner on site, scanned the critical areas and, to say the least, was surprised at what they found.
“There was steel already in place that wasn’t showing in the model,” said Young. “That would have caused major problems, particularly after having the duct work fabricated. Conversely, we found ducts that were in the wrong place in the model. If we had placed all our trust in the model, we would have been looking at a substantial amount of re-work for our ductwork trade partner. The Topcon scanning solution, used as part of the model coordination, saved us, big-time. Instead of dealing with a major headache, we met with the owner/design team, pulled up the point cloud, identified the problem areas and focused on ways to move forward.”