With the incredibly exciting upward trajectory of reality capture and its steady disruption of the AEC industry, there is a constant stream of new technology and innovative applications being introduced. From the smallest “mom and pop” shops to the summit of the proverbial BIM\CAD mountain—Autodesk—everyone is energized and excited about providing new services and exploring new possibilities. It‘s an exciting time to work in this industry.

However, when it comes to requesting these new services from a reality capture service provider, not everyone fully understands what they’re asking for. As a result, some projects may end up with results that are far from the client’s expectations. Following are three common pitfalls of reality capture projects.

1. The Kitchen Sink Effect. “Just give us everything” results in receiving a proposal that is overpriced. Yes, service providers are most likely capturing “everything” anyway as a result of the reality capture process. That’s the easy part. It’s the drafting and modeling of “everything” that inflates the cost in the proposal. High price tags invariably cause potential clients to balk at proposals and subsequently cross 3D laser scanning off their list of options. Service providers and their clients must work closely together to understand the scope of the work and provide deliverables only for what is needed to complete the job. In many cases, more data is available for any future modeling needs.

2. How Low Can You Go? Like the kitchen sink effect, the low-bid winner often fails to help establish realistic expectations. Low bidders might exclude considerations such as establishing survey control, questions about the complexity of the space (complexity dictates time in the field, which dictates price), translation of data to established site coordinates, and other “extras” from their proposal that are crucial to the success of the project. After contracts have been signed, the low bidder is now in a position to ask for more money for unaddressed project needs, thus driving scanning costs beyond established expectations and causing delays and the micromanagement of the service.

3. Not Our Problem! The handoff of the deliverables to the client should never be the end of the conversation. Too often, clients new to this technology are left with datasets that they do not understand how to use or manage. Datasets from 3D scanning can be enormous, and service providers should work to understand how the client is going to use the data so it can be segmented into manageable file sizes before it is delivered. An effective service provider will be interested in their client’s workflows and willing to help their client succeed. They should act as an extension of their client’s team.

Being successful in the AEC industry is about relationships. As with any other relationship, honesty, good communication and active listening are paramount to seeing them flourish. The success of every reality capture project requires a service provider who recognizes this truth and is focused on helping their clients reach their objectives.