2023 | 3 min read
Miron Construction Co., Inc. is one of the premier building contractors in the US. Proud to be a family-owned business since 1918, they offer comprehensive services from preconstruction to design-build.
With approximately 1,700 employees, they strive to exceed expectations with a client-centric culture and a focus on continuous improvement through the adoption of new technologies. It was this drive for improvement that led Miron to PointFuse.
Miron serves a wide variety of sectors, from industrial and healthcare, to environmental and commercial. Often, they are engaged on complex refurbishment projects, which have a legacy of incomplete original plans, or no plans at all. In order to create a detailed, accurate picture of the existing state of the building they often turn to laser-scanning. The data output from this, the point cloud, can then be used as a basis for the 3D design work, helping to identify and avoid any clashes between the as-built conditions and new designs.
However, they found that the massive size of the resulting point cloud, often many gigabytes, was too large and cumbersome to be used effectively inside BIM software such as Autodesk Revit and Navisworks. In addition, point clouds could not be used in Autodesk Construction Cloud’s Model Coordination tool for clash detection. This resulted in workarounds which often took days to complete and, however skilled the professional, was prone to human error.
The result of this incomplete coordination workflow can be costly, with coordination issues found on site costing the construction industry billions of dollars each year through overrunning schedules and rework*. As Noah Kuester, virtual construction specialist at Miron explains:
“To improve accuracy and efficiency, we introduced laser scanning several years ago. However, our biggest issue was that we couldn’t use those scans in our BIM coordination process to help eliminate further rework.”
The Virtual Construction team at Miron knew there had to be a solution out there.
I quickly realized that this workflow would be perfect for what we’d been looking for. We’d been trying to find something like this for a while.
Noah Kuester, Virtual Construction Specialist, Miron Construction
Screenshot captured from Autodesk Construction Cloud, showing a combination of manually created design objects and classified mesh objects federated into a single view, highlighting coordination issues and inaccuracies in the design model.
The team was introduced to PointFuse’s unique meshing software and immediately requested a free 2-week trial. As Noah explains:
“I quickly realized that this workflow would be perfect for what we’d been looking for. We’d been trying to find something like this for a while.”
Immediately upon testing the software, Noah was impressed by how easy it was to convert the point cloud into a mesh model, reducing the file size down by up to 1/100th of its original size – now in MB not GB – meaning that a scan could now quickly and easily be viewed, classified, and shared.
He wanted to test this out on a previous construction project where reality capture data was available and had already been used. A recent cheese plant expansion, completed in Wisconsin the year before, had utilized point clouds so it would establish a good baseline for the new methodology. This was a large project that had incorporated both the renovation of existing areas and the development of a new addition. Between two of the buildings was a corridor that was a high traffic area in terms of mechanical and process systems, and the objective was to route new systems through this section. Due to the limited size of this area and amount of existing structure and piping systems, the refitting of this was highly complex, and so Noah felt that this would be a great place to try out PointFuse.
In the original work, the team scanned the corridor using a Trimble X7 3D laser scanner which created a large point cloud 20 GB in size. A virtual construction specialist was then tasked with modeling the existing conditions from this point cloud using Autodesk Revit, essentially tracing over the point cloud. This is a tedious and time-consuming process due to the complexities of working with large point cloud data. In fact, this task took 40 hours before it could be uploaded into Autodesk Construction Cloud Model Coordination, ultimately increasing project time while reducing the available time for the designers to implement any changes to their models.
It was the perfect place to test out the PointFuse solution.
We’re looking at laser scanning completely differently now that we have this tool. PointFuse is helping us keep projects on time and on budget, as well as opening up new opportunities for use. It’s fair to say that since discovering PointFuse life has got a whole lot easier for our field teams!
The results were outstanding. Using the existing point cloud, Noah imported this into PointFuse Pro which created a mesh model and reduced the file size from 20 GB to 41 MB. On top of this, the simple classification tools in PointFuse allowed Noah to quickly add intelligence into the model prior to exporting – information that would make the coordination process work even better later on. With the PointFuse plugin for Revit he was now able to seamlessly import this file into Revit and on to Model Coordination, saving days of time. The team were astounded to learn that a task that had originally taken 40 hours to complete, was now done in just 6 hours! Moreover, by basing the modeling on the existing conditions taken by the scan, rather than by manually modeling over the point cloud, human errors were avoided. Following this pilot project, the team at Miron is excited at how the PointFuse solution enables them to go from scan-to-model in one seamless workflow and recognise how much more they can now do with data collected from laser scanning.
Screenshot from Autodesk Navisworks, showing the classified mesh model prior to being imported into the coordination workflow.
Workflow that Miron Construction have adopted to effectively utilise their laser scanning data as part of their BIM coordination processes.
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