ISG is a global fit out, technology and construction services company operating in 24 countries and employing over 2,800 people. Serving a range of sectors including retail, education and public sector, and science and health, ISG is committed to becoming the world’s most dynamic construction services company.
The challenge – disseminating large point clouds for BIM coordination
Another day, but not just another project for Michael Woods, BIM technician at ISG. Today he is in an historic building on Regent Street in Cambridge, owned by The University of Cambridge, which ISG has been tasked with refitting as a modern office. The interior of each of the building’s four floors and basement has been stripped, and Michael’s job is to take a 3D scan of the entire interior of the building which the team can use to plan the new office. It’s a big project – the first for this client – and Michael’s scans will be essential to ensuring things go smoothly. “Historic buildings have a lot of unexpected features and tend not to be as square as modern ones,” he explains. “If we were to work with an inherited model, or hand-drawn plans, we wouldn’t be able to guarantee that our designs would work in the space at all.”
The data from Michael’s scans will be used to coordinate the different tradespeople who will work on the project. In the past, the size of the point clouds Michael produced would have made this very difficult. Not anymore, thanks to PointFuse.
The solution – point cloud to mesh for effortless BIM coordination
Michael and ISG have been working with PointFuse since 2019, using our software to condense their point cloud files into intelligent mesh models. The PointFuse engine enables Michael to condense the point clouds down to a fraction of their size, making it much easier to work with the data. “The point clouds for the Regent Street project were 10GB per floor. With PointFuse we got them down to megabytes instead – with the data still being perfect for BIM coordination.”
Using PointFuse, Michael has been able to greatly speed up ISG’s BIM coordination process by condensing the size of the files that he has to work with. Even more excitingly, for the Regent Street project Michael used colour meshing for the first time. This has enabled ISG to use the mesh models directly for BIM coordination, instead of using a Revit model, further speeding up the process.
“The colour meshing is excellent,” says Michael. “With black and white meshes it was impossible to make out existing surfaces and objects like sprinkler systems – but with the colour mesh we get the full picture.”
Michael has also been consistently impressed with the PointFuse team, who are always on hand to help with technical questions. Michael recalls, “I find the ability to remove areas from the mesh very useful – it’s great for removing debris from the file, for instance. The team at PointFuse showed me how to do that.”
Outcomes – a time-saving process the whole business can benefit from
The Regent Street project is still in progress, but Michael is very pleased at how much quicker the process has been now that ISG is using the colour meshes. In fact, the business has reported that using PointFuse has reduced the modelling and clash detection time by 70%, which has translated to further time and cost savings downstream in the project.
What’s more exciting is the role PointFuse is playing across the wider ISG business. Thanks to Michael’s results, all arms of the business are starting to use PointFuse.
“We’ve found that PointFuse helps enormously with collaboration,” explains Michael, “and it’s helped us keep site visits down for all our tradespeople as they can take all their measurements from the mesh. That obviously has applications beyond the fit out team which I’m a part of – all of ISG can benefit from that. And now, they are.”
In Michael’s department, other professionals are also exploring PointFuse. BIM technicians are starting to use it as part of their modelling process, which Michael is excited about. “One of the joys of PointFuse is how easy it is to use. It means our BIM technicians can work with it incredibly easily, improving the way they do things too. But the great thing is that PointFuse doesn’t need a skilled BIM technician to use it as it is so intuitive”
Augmented by PointFuse, ISG’s reality capture workflow is fast becoming a key differentiator for them when bidding for projects, too. In fact, ISG won the Regent Street project in part due to their advanced technology. Mark Norton, Group BIM Director at ISG, comments:
“Clients are increasingly forward-thinking in their approach to technology, and The University of Cambridge was no exception. Having the right technology shows our clients that we’re committed to helping them create outstanding places while being cost conscious. PointFuse is an instrumental part of our ability to deliver exceptional quality while also operating leaner.”