Demonstrating the power of scan to BIM at the University of Reading in Malaysia

See how Redstack used laser scanning to develop an as-built BIM model after construction had begun to deliver significant benefits on the University of Reading construction project in Malaysia.

Through laser scanning (also called 3D scanning / LiDAR scanning), it is now possible to leverage the power of building information modelling (BIM) for a construction project even after work has begun. This represents a true revolution in how this incredibly versatile framework can be brought to bear for developers, designers, builders and owners.

This technology proved its value recently at the University of Reading Malaysia, where it was used to generate a BIM model at later stages in construction. Mike Lim from Redstack Malaysia sat down to offer his insight into the project and talk about the benefits of using 3D scanning on BIM projects.

An impressive addition to higher education in Malaysia



Located in Johor and just 20 minutes from Singapore, the University of Reading Malaysia (UoRM) is in a real hot spot for development.

A new branch of the London-based institution, this campus facility spreads out over 30,000 square metres and represents an investment of 150 million Malaysian Ringgit. With two wings connected by a garden area known as the Heartspace, the development is a stunning addition to the city's architecture.

The first class of students is set to walk through the doors in September 2015. Awaiting them will be an innovative space boasting four lecture theatres, 10 research labs, libraries and cafes. At full capacity, the complex will be able to support 3,000 students.

Using 3D scanning for BIM model generation



One of the most impressive elements of this project was the way that Redstack technicians were able to bring BIM into the project after construction had begun. Normally, in order to create an as-built BIM model, a BIM workflow must be adopted from the start of the construction timeline - sometimes three to six months before that.

With a laser-scanned BIM reengineering project, an as-built model can be created after construction has already begun. This is exactly where Redstack came on board at UoRM. 

"In the region there are many criteria and standards for BIM, so if you want a complete as-built BIM model, you need to have either laser scanning or a BIM implementation beforehand," Mike notes.

"This is the best and fastest way to create an as-built BIM model for this project."

Fastest is not an exaggeration; Redstack was able to complete the scanning nearly three months ahead of schedule. Mike observed that the team was able to quickly learn the unique characteristics of the project, which really helped the project take off.

How does laser scanning work?

Using powerful, tripod-mounted 3D scanners, technicians were able to record all interior and exterior surfaces of the campus in amazing detail.

"The scanners can achieve accuracy within 6 millimetres, while the industry standards call for 11," Mike explained.

"Because of the accuracy of this laser scanning method, a lot of construction firms are looking into such technology."

While construction is progressing, technicians are able to work their way around a job site and apply similar methods of traditional surveying. This more high-tech system shoots a laser at the space being modelled, bounces it back, gauges the reflection and notes the exact X-, Y- and Z-axis in an accurate point plot.

Once modellers use the laser-scanning data to finalise the model, they will be able to hand it over to the university. The model isn't done with then; UoRM plans on taking it forward into BIM for facilities management, as well as showing students how BIM can be applied to the post-construction phase of an installation.

Project Images:

BIM project

BIM project


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