Scanning for HVAC companies and shiny things.

I was recently contracted by a new client who wanted to try a laser scan survey on a shop tenancy at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast. The premises needs an air conditioning and extraction system fitted but it all has to fit around existing ducting.

I headed down at 5am one morning to do the survey.

As everything was so tightly packed in already I had to perform about 15 scans as I wanted to make sure the scanner could see between duct runs and alike. The job was completed in about 4 hrs. No problem I thought.

Once I got back to the office and registered the scans I noticed that the scans were very noisy indeed. I was using a Faro Focus X130 which was very new so I was slightly concerned that the equipment may have been damaged or faulty in some way. It was then the penny dropped and I realized that the shiny ducting might be the problem. I had about 16 million points in the model that were just noise or rubbish to clean out. Once I had spent a few hours cleaning out the rubbish I was able to produce the extracts the clients Revit draftsman required.

So watch out. Highly reflective surfaces can be tricky. Its not that the scanner doesn't capture the data its that it captures a load of spurious data in with it that could throw a client that isn't aware of it. Scanning might be sold as the be all and end all of surveying solutions but if you don't watch what you are sending to clients it could be disastrous for you.

After the clean up I have a happy drafty and client.

As far as HVAC and MEP scanning in concerned I am of the opinion that on existing spaces, especially where there are a lot of existing ducts, pipes, structure and penetrations to design around a laser scan survey is invaluable. Your designers and draftsmen can then work in the actual environment you are installing in to. This will reduce clashes, poor fitting and reduce site work. My client is also convinced as he has contracted me to scan Dalby court house for a refit of its air conditioning system, and roof access systems.

Interestingly the laser scan has been useful for getting the shop designers to have another look at their plans. The scan showed that the proposed system simply wouldn't fit within the envelope allowed by the architect. This is the risk of only designing in 2D with only "As-Built" drawings to work with :-)