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The Next Generation of Site Photography

May 25, 2021

When implementing the steps of an asset management program or formulating the components of an asset renewal project, 3D building scan models can serve as a key tool in the toolbox. A 3D building scan is an expedient method for answering question number one of the Five Core Questions in EPA’s Asset Management: A Best Practices Guide: What is the current state of my assets?

First, what is a 3D Building Scan Model?

Three-dimensional building scan models are essentially hundreds of pictures that are stitched together digitally by a software company in the cloud to allow a “walk-able” tour through a building space (think similar to real estate walkthroughs). The viewer can move from spot to spot or floor to floor in the model, look at assets, evaluate their condition, and take distance measurements. It provides a digital snapshot in time that can be engaged with easily and quickly to reference in the future.

Answering the Five Core Questions: Determining Current State of the Assets

Completing an asset inventory as part of an asset management program can be a time-intensive process depending on the facility. It can take significant time on-site to gather the necessary attribute data and condition information. With a 3D model, the assets can be brought to the office, allowing the inventorying task to occur during staff downtime or even by those who are working remotely from home or a more distant office. Along with discussions with the operator or facility manager, a great deal of condition information on the assets can also be obtained.

Gaining efficiencies during the Design Process

When it comes to on-site photography, we have all been there, clicking through hundreds of photos we took on site, just to realize the one area of pipe or wall we were interested in is just out of view. With a well-planned 3D scan, you will have a visual of that pipe and quick and easy access to its digital location. Measurements can be taken in the model (often up to 99% accurate) to figure out if a piece of equipment can fit in a specific location. It’s also a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page during a virtual discussion and give staff a better understanding of what they are designing for without ever setting foot onsite. So it not only reduces time on site, it allows all parties to access the facility remotely and even share screens to discuss project plans. The 3D scanning model has additional aspects to it that can also be used as floor plans or other parts of design drawings.

Making the most of your time onsite

Don’t want a lot of people at your site, but want them to have the benefit of seeing the facility firsthand? Have a scan completed and share it with potential bidders. Have the models as a record to help train new staff or even inspire the next generation.

3D Scan models won’t (and shouldn’t) eliminate all site visits, but a little extra camera work can go a long way in collaborating with the team, completing an asset inventory and/or planning for a design project. Over the life of an asset, from condition assessments to asset renewal, there are numerous uses and benefits to completing a scan of a facility.

Learn more about our Asset Management Services and our 3D Scan capabilities by contacting Timothy Taber, P.E., BCEE for more information.

Asset Management

This article is from members of the Asset Management Practice Area.

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