Laser scanning streamlines building design at the University of Texas and other college campuses.
Ranked among the top 100 “Best Value” colleges in
the United States by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, the University of
Texas at Dallas has grown about 70 percent in the last decade. Under the
leadership of President David E. Daniel, UT Dallas has opened an $85 million
Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory and embarked on an
ambitious plan to overhaul the look and feel of the entire campus--including a
$27.7 million renovation of a 40-year-old complex known as Founders Hall. One
of the university’s oldest buildings, the Founders Hall complex includes two
chemistry buildings and another building with administrative offices, a
laboratory and classrooms. The goal of the renovation was to improve energy
efficiency and update classrooms, laboratories and meeting rooms in all three
structures while adding modern amenities.
MEP consultant used the
3D model to design new utility line in crowded basement corridor.
key part of the efficiency improvements was to upgrade the complex’s existing
35,000-square-foot HVAC piping and equipment located in the basement of the
original Founders Hall Building C. With a tight timeline for construction
looming, the architect, Dallas-based F&S Partners, and the contractor,
Turner Construction, needed as-built drawings of the HVAC room quickly to
facilitate design and construction. Unfortunately, the few historical records
available were inaccurate and out-of-date.
Ordinarily, Turner would have called on junior architects or engineers to
perform an onsite inspection, collecting data with an electronic tape measure.
However, the sheer density of the utility network made this an extremely
challenging endeavor. Conducting the work through traditional means would have
required a minimum of two months and tens of thousands of dollars to gather
approximate pipe locations and create a CAD drawing.
captured over 107,500 seats and 98 rows of the University of Michigan’s Big
stadium, which allowed designers to create detailed plan and section drawings
for proposed renovations.
Turner called on Midwestern Consulting, an engineering and surveying consulting
firm, to create 3D models of the HVAC room using high-definition laser scanning
technology. Using a Leica HDS6000 from Leica Geosystems, Midwestern surveyors
collected nearly 5.5 billion points of information from 130 distinct setups in
the 35,000-square-foot room over the course of a week. Another three weeks were
spent post processing the data and color coding the resulting 3D model with
help from Ceeko Inc., a data capture, processing and visualization firm. “With
the 3D model, the architect and contractor were able to digitally compare the
HVAC renovations with existing conditions and avoid potential clashes,” says
Brandon Walker, senior project manager with Midwestern Consulting.
point cloud was integrated with NavisWorks to create an existing conditions
overlay and then combined with the 3D model of the proposed utility line to
perform clash detection.
estimates that laser scanning saved at least three major conflicts on the
project at an estimated $15,000 per conflict and also shortened the project
schedule by three weeks. As a result, the Founders Hall renovation project is
on schedule for completion in the fall of 2010.
The University of Texas at Dallas project is not the first time Midwestern
Consulting has used laser scanning to help architects, engineers and
contractors complete a new or renovated project at a college or university.
Other projects have included the University
of Michigan Law Quad,
Stockwell Hall dormitory and the football stadium known as The Big House. For
the football stadium, Midwestern surveyors provided scan data, aisle/row/seat
data and structural layout for the existing facility so that the university
could make improvements such as widening each seat by 2 inches, which reduced
the stadium capacity by 10,000; building new luxury skyboxes on the east and
west sides; and creating wider concourses.
past year, Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills, Mich., called on
local engineers and architects to investigate cracks appearing on two 40-foot
by 120-foot exterior brick façade walls of a building constructed in the late
1960s. Midwestern Consulting laser scanned the walls, created detailed color
images and applied color maps to reveal the deviations of the wall from the
plumb line. The images clearly showed that the walls were bubbling in several
areas. To the client’s surprise, the scan revealed a “cavity,” or inverted
bubble along the top edge of the walls that was not known previously. “The
ability to capture an entire area with the scanner allows architects/clients
the distinct advantage of amending their design without having to go back into
the field to acquire more hand measurements,” Walker says.
moving a wall from 16-feet to 20-feet would have required the architect and
potentially the MEP contractor to go back on site to verify that the path was
clear of conflicts. “Now, the architect can pull up the scan data in a free
internet explorer viewer, Leica Truview, or if they have the AutoCAD plug-in,
Leica Cloudworx, and overlay their design on the point cloud to verify the
proposed solution,” Walker explains.
Surveyors used high definition laser scanners to create highly accurate base
drawings of the Eastern Michigan University’s historic Pease Auditorium, built
in 1914. The base model helped architects identify and map existing cracks in
terra cotta tile façades.
also works with architects to create scalable orthophotos (point cloud .tif
images) that can be used with 2D building elevation drawings.
“High definition laser scanning brings added value to clients and the entire
project team,” Walker
concludes. “It’s digital, accurate, measurable and fits perfectly in the
emerging building information modeling environment.”
For more information about Midwestern
Consulting, visit www.midwesternconsulting.com
details about Leica scanning equipment can be found at www.leica-geosystems.us