Lead Forensics

Modelling Buildings Using 3D Laser Scanning Technology

Aug 5, 2022 | 3D Scanning, Construction, LIDAR, News

Developments in software and technology mean that higher standards of quality are available in the creation of 3D buildings models.

The use of 3D Laser Scanning is becoming increasingly important, and can provide a highly detailed, high-quality 3D model of the location in near real time.

Laser scanning technology involves the use of a laser scanner mounted on a static tripod. A beam is emitted from the laser sensor and the time taken and therefore distance travelled is measured for the beam to travel to the object and back. By combining this distance with the known position of the laser scanner, a large number of points can be obtained, leading to a point cloud that represents the surrounding space in three dimensions.

Common uses of 3D Laser Scanning for Modelling Buildings
Uses of 3D Laser Scanning for Modelling Buildings include.

  • As-built survey, reality capture or existing conditions survey
  • Construction verification, sequencing, scheduling, and simulations
  • Design engineering for facility upgrades or expansions
  • 2D and 3D laser map of a building
  • Architectural documentation or historical preservation
  • Calculating volumes, deformation analysis and overhead clearances
  • Virtual design and construction
  • Creating digital twin solutions to easily visualise and analyse data in a single 3D model.

What are the benefits of 3D Laser Scanning?

Fast—A single LIDAR laser scanner can capture up to a million 3D data points per second, providing incredibly accurate and rich detail of every aspect of the project.
Accurate—Individual measurements acquired by tape measures or hand-held devices are subject to errors. Laser scanning is the most accurate form of measurement available, delivering accuracy of a few millimetres or less.
Reduce costs and change orders—Incorporating a laser scan into the design of a project assures accurate and complete information, avoiding the cost of equipment rental, manual measurement, clashes, change orders, not to mention project delays and headaches.
Answers unanticipated questions— A 3D BIM scanning will capture extra data, eliminating the need to return to the project to answer unanticipated questions.
Minimise shut-down times—Laser scanning is quick, safe and non-intrusive – eliminating or minimising operational shutdowns and client inconvenience.
Safety—3D scanning can obtain measurements in hard to reach or hazardous locations while keeping workers out of harm’s way. Scanning is completed safely from the ground without the need for harnesses, lifts or cranes.

3D Laser Scanning and Creating 3D Models

The process of 3D Laser Scanning for Modelling Buildings includes.

  • defining the area to be surveyed.
  • defining the expected resolution and accuracy of the point cloud;
  • choosing optimal locations for the scanning stations.

In the field, the operator sets up the instrument at the defined location, defines the 3D section of the scene to be captured and select the necessary options in the software (e.g., sampling resolution, accuracy mode, number of scans, etc). When surveying buildings and similar spatial entities, the laser scanner is placed at multiple stations to cover the entire object.

Overlaps between these scans obtained at successive stations, create a complete 3D representation of the building. Each scan location is referenced by the internal coordinate system of the scanner, and these registered scans are combined into a single dataset. From this data set a point cloud can be generated and further 3D models and views created.


3D Laser Scanning is a modern method that is increasingly being used to create accurate 3D building models. This technology enables the collection of large amounts of high-density and detailed data in a much shorter time and with fewer resources.

The data collection and processing are largely automated and allow for additional analyses, updates, and changes to spatial data. Finally, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are also increasing in importance in many areas of life and work, and it is only a matter of time before we see the further expansion and development of such methods that incorporate these modern concepts.

To find out how we could help your project contact us.


About The Blog

The PES Scanning blog provides information and news on the scanning and engineering services we offer. The blog also includes views from our team and information about projects we’ve been working on.