According to the USIBD’s second Cornerstone Report, the top manufacturers among surveyed professionals are Leica, FARO and Trimble, in that order, with others garnering less than 10 percent of the vote.

The report is a quarterly review of certain aspects of the building documentation industry based on the opinions of service providers and consumers.

The USIBD states: “It is our desire to provide unbiased information, on relevant topics of interest to the building documentation community.”

The information in the report was gathered by surveys conducted by USIBD and open to all stakeholder groups. Participation in the second Cornerstone Report Survey increased more than 60 percent from the first report.

This report sheds some light on what instruments and equipment today’s building documentation professionals are using as technology evolves.

USIBD President John Russo, AIA, says: "This issue of the Cornerstone Report is centered on the topic of Hardware. Many different instruments and tools are available to today’s building documentation professionals. The rapid pace of evolving technology means we need to keep abreast of these changes or we may quickly fall behind.

"So what manufacturers are we using and what type of equipment is being deployed? How concerned are we with technical obsolescence and return on investment for the equipment we purchase? Are we willing to reach out to team up with others when our resources or expertise are at their limits? These are just a few of the questions we hope to shed some light on in this issue of the Cornerstone Report."

The majority of respondents were surveyors, a group that uses Leica products more than twice as often as any other manufacturer. Aside from surveyors, the No. 1 spot is almost an even split between Leica and FARO.

As technology is constantly improving and companies are regularly releasing upgrades and new products, the fact that 73% of those surveyed are at least worried about potential technology purchases becoming obsolete prematurely shouldn’t come as a surprise; only 5% aren’t concerned at all.

Respondents also were asked whether there’s enough revenue potential to justify the cost of their hardware. Most of think so: 66% are already returning enough revenue to justify the cost and 22% haven’t yet but are expecting to.

When it comes to buying new equipment, 50% make an upgrade every 3-5 years with 30% pushing out past 5 years before the upgrade.

While 81% think having the newest gear is important, the difference between those on the fringes is significant. Twice as many respondents feel that being in possession of the latest and greatest is imperative to success with 6% saying it’s not at all important and 14% saying it’s essential.

With 55% reporting to have purchased scanning equipment and 33% buying survey equipment recently, there’s a much smaller fraction picking up other equipment (photography, photogrammetry, GPR and other).

When it comes to outsourcing, survey and photogrammetry are leaders but scanning isn’t too far behind: 37%, 38% and 31% respectively.

When asked how the new advancement of technology impacts confidence, the results are overwhelmingly positive with 86% feeling more empowered than threatened by advancement in technology. Of that group, almost half say they are very empowered.

However, even though most feel empowered by technology, only 19% feel like they’re on the bleeding edge. A much larger group consider themselves early adopters (49%) and another 19% are in the mainstream.

The survey was conducted by USIBD President John Russo, AIA; Vice President Bryan Merritt, PLS, PSM; and Ted Mort, technology chair.