Posts Tagged as built

Autodesk digging into the Built Environment : Augments ‘Reality Capture’ Stable by acquiring Alice Labs

80/20, the amount of construction projects that happen in the built environment vs. new construction, at least here in Boston and this is usually the case across the globe, maybe not 80/20 but having the majority of construction happening in the built environment.  So if you’re Autodesk and you have all this great software, you can no longer presuppose the data, you are going to have to capture it somehow.

Autodesk put another arrow in their ‘built environment’, ‘as built’ or soon to be trademarked “reality capture’ quiver by acquiring Alice Labs.  As reported in Graphic Speak, Autodesk Scoops up 3D point cloud innovator Alice Labs. And if you go to the Alice Labs website, all you get is a splash page saying they have been acquired by Autodesk, and no press releases from Autodesk either.  Why not?  Autodesk is like the borg, well I can’t comment on the assimilation part, but as far as sucking up cultures within their universe, no problem. So why not let people know.

The small team, closely related to ongoing research at technical universities in Delft, Netherlands and Ghent, Belgium, has previously released Studio Clouds, an innovative 3D laser point cloud editing technology that offers plug-ins for Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya modelers, and uses a proprietary game engine for fast manipulation of point cloud data…Behind the application is the Mirage Nova Engine (MNE), said to be capable of handling billions of points with ray-trace visualization quality. NME also offers a photogrammetric tool, offering an affordable way to generating high fidelity point cloud models from photographs. MNE is designed for 64-bit multi-core architectures and can take advantage of graphic card acceleration for maximum speed. -Randall – Graphic Speak

Either way, Autodesk is interested in getting you working in their software whether it’s for new construction or the the built environment, designing retrofits or modeling New York for gameplay.  If it’s a 3D environment they want to put you in it, and Autodesk wants to be the transporter…Kirk Out  <end cheesy Star Trek word play>

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Leica 3D Disto : Capture 3D Points for As Builts and Layouts : BIM

I cannot pronounce much more than it exists as I have not had my hands on one, and the video included below seems to use it mostly for layouts, not for data capture.  NAFTA Leica_3D_Disto_Word-Flyer1.0 .  However, when Pointclouds seem excessive from a data and price perspective, and one needs to determine points on inaccessible or complex geometry, this could be the aspirin (does anyone take aspirin anymore) to that headache, or for that matter doing complex ceiling systems or even reflected ceiling.

So what’s on board besides the laser?  Camera with 8x Zoom so you can see far off points and DXF input and output and while there is some more stuff that seems to be the most important and data transfer to anything else is via USB stick.  Why not include bluetooth as almost every laptop, netbook and the new iPad comes with it and seems a glaring omission.    How about if it came with an ‘app’ for iPad and Android instead that could drive instead of its own proprietary piece of hardware.

I wonder if you can move it around in the same room because most rooms I know of are not completely open with shots available to every point you needs, and how you would coordinate points for integrated output?  There is some software available called ‘Room Scan’ but have not seen enough of it to know.

MSRP is set at $7995 so up to surveyors, etc to think if it is worth the price tag.

Leica 3D Disto Intro Video

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Professional Building Surveying acclerating : Certificate Programs : Professional Stamp : BIM CAD BOOM

So what is a Professional Building Surveyor?  In Europe they have degreed programs in Building Surveying and the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) charters professional surveyors.  Here in the US, the intent is not to make it all encompassing but rather define it as capturing dimensionally correct space and deliver it in either a 2D CAD Format or BIM Authoring Tool.  That is represent reality, digitally so other professions can have faith in the plans and models and build/design on those results.  Simple premise and one that is long overdue.

Why overdue?  A variety of reasons.  Current workflows allow for almost every discipline to verify a building because no one has faith in the earlier results requiring a huge waste of manpower reproducing similar plans.  There is a huge need for a trusted source in as-built/existing condition documentation.  The majority of construction is done within the existing environment and all these project start with the same thing, documenting the building.  That is a multi-trillion dollar industry with no standard in how to document an existing building.  Sustainable retrofits have started to really pick up steam and the ability to quickly and accurately capture a building allows for rapid energy modeling and ROI analysis and retrofit options.   Condo documentation?  What’s needed?  Accurate documentation.  It goes on but I wanted to interrupt with an anecdote:

I was listening to the radio and a man was telling a story about how we went back to school to train in CAD, I believe he said he stamped metal in Detroit for GM before being laid off, he picked CAD because he thought it was 21st Century profession only to find that a lot of the CAD jobs were going to places like India, the Czech Republic, etc. leaving him more than frustrated.  Professional Building Surveying, because of the nature of the work, it is work that cannot be outsourced.   Regardless of your view on globalization it’s nice to develop a skill and profession that you know remains local.

Currently, we are at work on curriculum development for a certificate program and the certification requirements to receive a stamp.  And its not something that gets to be taken lightly as its serious business.  Thousands of hours of drafting/modeling/surveying experience is required to earn a stamp but to get entry into the profession you can start with the certificate program and regardless if you earn your stamp and I’ll need to quote the head of a virtual construction department when I asked her if she would need someone who had the knowledge of current building surveying skills, technologies and CAD/BIM platforms, her answer, ‘I need one tomorrow.’   It’s on.

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Sustainable BIM : AS Built BIM : DC Event : January 27th

Just saw this, and if you are in the area or inclined to travel looks like a good one and the price seems right. I included the details from the evite which you can also find here to register.

Topics & Speakers

BIM 101/State of the Industry

BIM As-built Concept & Downstream Uses

Event Details

BIM: A Government Perspective

If you are involved with design and construction initiatives in the government, then you can’t afford to miss this event. Hear from keynote Chris Tisdel, Former State of Texas Director of Building Information Modeling (BIM), BIM Implementation Expert Asa Reese, Engineering Systems Director, Parsons Corporation as they discuss the concepts of BIM, how government agencies can implement BIM, and the long-term benefits that BIM offers. Building information modeling design solutions have already been widely implemented in the AEC industry. This is your opportunity to drive how it is used within the government space and how these models can be leveraged for building lifecycle purposes.

This is a Knowledgewell Event


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Autodesk taking as builts seriously : Photo Modeling and PointClouds in next release?

With all the stuff flying out of Autodesk Labs recently one maybe blinded by the technology slant rather than the strategy.  Looking specifically at Photofly and their new PointCloud tools with shape  extraction Autodesk is putting together a strong effort in capturing the built environment within their CAD platform.  Looking at the ribbon from an AutoCAD beta you can see that Photo Modeling and PointCloud are options available directly within the menu.

You can see these option on the far right, somewhat obscured by one of my feeds.  Yes, my blog formatting skills still need fine tuning.   Last time we researched this over 80% of construction in Boston was done within existing buildings. This new technology push with our own research dove tails nicely with the sustainable retrofit anecdotes.

I think it becomes more important that applications work within familiar platforms to not not only increase their adoption but also to incorporate into an existing workflow.  Asking anyone to learn a new platform is always a tougher hill to climb and most shops are standardizing their drafting/modeling on to one or two applications.

From a technology stand point, the more tools the more better because this has been a soft spot in the whole CAD/BIM world, that is I am working in an existing building, I use Revit, I used AutoCAD, okay, now where do I start.  Defining this will help everyone.

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Survey Angled Walls in Revit with a Disto and PKNail

One of the tougher issues and part of any surveyors work flow is to capture non-orthogonal (i.e. angled) geometry correctly the first time.  This increases in importance if the angles are played throughout the building and especially if they are part of the exterior.  In order to help users capture a building’s geometry in Revit while in the field PointKnown has incorporated triangulation and a close room function as part of our PKNail Building Surveying Software.   Having the Disto drive Revit allows quicker data capture and increased accuracy.  And while many of  us might want to be watching videos of the beach in August I still included the process here as well.

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Revit As Built : Field BIM Technology : Build Digitally As You Measure : #BIM #Revit

It’s been a haul and it starts with a quote from Irwin Jungreis one of the founders of Revit who I spoke to early in the process, ‘we never intended Revit to have an API,’ he said with a smile. ” It was supposed to be so good it would never need 3rd Party applications.”  “WHAT?!” you say.  I believe Irwin at the point understood the original hubris of that statement but then again I spoke to him after they sold out to Autodesk.  “So what” we thought and we continued to forge ahead with an  API that had as much horsepower as my old Puch moped.  Thank you Autodesk for your continued efforts in beefing up the API but it has been a bear.

PointKnown is getting closer to releasing the commercial version of PKNail;  it’s building surveying software.  PKNail was programmed behind 7 years of building surveying experience.   Our intention was to:

  • Automate many of the rote tasks when creating existing conditions surveys of a building
  • Create repeatable work flows
  • Increase speed and accuracy by linking measurements directly into Revit

We understand surveying can be the bane of some people’s existence and it is a necessary evil to almost all projects, that is having accurate information to start the project.  While we never considered it a bane or evil but when we would put on  lunch and learns and dog and pony shows we usually got one of two reactions.  One, where have you been my whole life I hate surveying or two, will you sell us the software because we do all our own measuring.  We get it.  And building in real time, in the field makes thing easier and building inside a familiar platform, and one that you will be designing or working in anyway makes you more productive right out of the box.  I look forward to your feedback, comments we’re here to work with you.  And to summarize my last statement in the video, ‘We’re much better at designing surveying  software than making videos,’ but even comments on our production and lack of directing talents are welcome.  Thanks for reading.  – jim

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Revit As Built : Field BIM : Existing Conditions

While I don’t usually take the time to pump my own gas with this blog I wanted to share the complete reversal in our deliverables over the last year.  It used to be, way back at the end of 2008 that we delivered most of our building surveys in 2D AutoCAD format, now we would build in 3D, normally in ADT but our clients wanted 2D AutoCAD.  From a surveying perspective a 3D object oriented universe worked better for us because essentially all the views were coordinated, that is build it in the floorplan directly, it is represented in elevation correctly.  Anyone who has keyed up a plan in 2D knows where I am coming from, which if you are here reading this, means you know what I am talking about.  Now, however, the bulk of what we do is deliver as-builts in Revit.  The GSA requiring BIM has a lot to do with it, I believe, and Autodesk being the biggest player in the US means Revit becomes the default.  Whether you like that or not does not matter, that’s the reality.

Recently we have performed as built surveys at Phillips Exeter and Emmanuel College and we were field testing our laser to BIM technology, PKNail.  It was created to capture typical conditions quickly and accurately.  If you wanted to capture the Capitol Dome, I would suggest laser scanning, for capturing most situations Point to Point Laser Scanning (PPLT) should work just fine.  PKNail converts measurements directly into a Revit workstation-wirelessly, measure a wall that wall is entered into Revit, encounter a door, window, Fire Extinguisher Cabinet, sink, if you can measure it, it can be placed quickly and easily into the model.

Lastly, if the deliverable is 2D CAD, exporting views from Revit to AutoCAD sheets is a snap. Here’s a long winded Autodesk treatise on the subject or well, it looks like I will need to update with a screen capture video the quick process but the resulting CAD contains some of the meta information collected in 3D, such as 30″ Door, rather than creating anonymous objects.   Next post will follow in short order with a sneak peak of some of the features and the connectivity between Revit and a Leica Disto enabled by PointKnown surveying software.

Thanks for tolerating some self promotion.

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BIM As Built : Laser Technology

Speaking to a colleague from Europe who moved to the US because he stated, ‘there’s a survey shop on every corner in the UK, I could only find a handful here.’    However, that’s changing.  HDLS, high definition laser scanning is starting to take off, especially now that the GSA issued the laser scanning awards.  Additionally, more and more people are reworking existing assets / adaptive reuse projects so it is becoming more and more important to get the existing conditions data.  While everyone is waiting for the day we can walk around with a magic wand and wave it around the room we have to build a bridge from here to there.  HDLS in creating a 3D database is an excellent start.  I believe HDLS, from firms like Leica and FARO,  performs fantastically in certain circumstances such as inaccessible or difficult geometry, exposed MEP intensive projects, however, for typical conditions especially the interior of buildings it might be akin to using a sledgehammer rather when you need a fly swatter.   We, PointKnown, have been developing a product that bolts on to Revit and takes laser range finder data and builds objects as you measure.  This has been defined as PPLT (Point to Point Laser Technology).  It allows a surveyor to move quickly and accurately from room to room or object to object.  We do not intend for it to usurp laser scanning but rather augment current surveying teams, allowing them the most flexibility depending on the situation.

Most importantly is to define the deliverable and type of model needed for the project.  This can start at the basic architectural model using generic library items to, well , anything goes but most of our clients want dimensionally correct space and then they apply the material and details they need as that is what they want to control.

We are now accepting people and firms into our public beta that starts January 2010, if you have any interest please feel free to contact us at info@pointknown.com and put beta in the subject line.

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Revit Existing Conditions and As Builts Picking Up Pace : #BIM #Revit

My company’s primary focus is to document existing conditions and deliver to the client ‘something’ dimensionally correct.  This something has typically been 2D drawings, floorplans, elevations, sections, etc.  We have utilized Revit on jobs that have required such extensive documentation that it was simply more efficient to create a 3D model and export the 2D data then document and draw the traditional way.  In fact, we have documented existing conditions in 3D since 2003 because it was always simpler to be in and object oriented environment.  However, the deliverables remained in 2D.  However, almost everything we have done in the last 3 months has been Revit and delivering existing conditions building models in Revit.   And the uses of the model vary widely.

  • We surveyed and delivered a Revit model of two dormitories for a University in Revit, even though they did not have an installed seat, because they wanted to prepare for the future.
  • We completed a Revit model of a single floor of Class A Office Space to be used for new interior layouts and design
  • We are in the process of surveying and creating a model of a sprawling historic in built in parts starting with the main building in 1760 to a new hall built in 1984. This is to be used for master planning of the site which they will use for rendering and analysis and to integrate a new building that will house a new lobby and 50+ guest rooms.

So the uses of Revit are expanding, and even if they are not being used for 4D and 5D purposes its benefits for visual communication, analysis, and increased speed of design/drafting cannot be discounted.  However, when integrating among all disciplines the results can be outstanding across the board.

We were fortunate enough to be part of the successful team, through a fantastic effort put forth by HNTB, that will be involved with the GSA and surveying and modeling their properties nationwide. What we have seen is either through the ripple effect or from other companies just being proactive that Revit and BIM are making a lot of headway into the community.  Companies that we work with report that they hope to be doing all their projects in Revit by this time next year and with new ways of doing work, and changing workflow and even the environment comes opportunity.

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