MEP Facility Scanning

3D Laser Capture Helps Contractor Convert Historic Facility into Modern Living Spaces

Projects - MEP Facility Scanning

The Summary:

Direct Dimensions uses many 3D laser scanning technologies for a wide range of applications. This project shows how we used a spherical laser to capture and 3D model a complicated MEP space within an aged historic building for renovation into new modern living spaces.

The Backstory:

The first American to attain sainthood, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, was known for founding the original American province of Daughters of Charity, a religious order dedicated to aiding the poor. In 1809 she founded her congregation, which included the nation’s first Catholic school, in Emmitsburg, MD and for the last two hundred years the sisters there have dedicated themselves to helping the less fortunate all over the globe.

The current Provincial House was built in Emmitsburg in 1964 and was used to house the Sisters and headquarter various charitable efforts. But like other religious orders in the United States, the Daughters of Charity membership has dwindled and by 2009 the building was severely underutilized.

Rather than let the building sit empty, the Sisters proposed a plan in which the unused space could be used to create affordable apartments and assisted living facilities for local senior citizens. While the structure itself was in excellent condition, the electrical and mechanical systems would have to be updated to accommodate the new facilities.

The Challenge:

To plan for the overhaul and installation of the new MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) systems for the historic facility, Whiting-Turner, the construction contractor, needed a fast and accurate 3D layout of the boiler room, and the various aged components and extensive piping. The traditional methods of hand tools, such as tape measures, distance meters and sketch pads, is very time consuming, expensive, must all be done on-site, and prone to numerous errors. Whiting-Turner and The Daughters of Charity found an excellent solution with Direct Dimensions using long range laser scanners and advanced 3D software tools.

The Solution:

  • Using 3D laser scanning technology, specifically the FARO Focus3D Laser Scanner, two Direct Dimensions technicians drove to the building site in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Over two days at the site, the crew compiled significant amounts of raw 3D data throughout the 11,000 square foot mechanical space including capturing all of the MEP components and pipes.
  • This raw laser data, in the form of “3D point clouds,” was carried back to the office in Owings Mills, MD where it was aligned, cleaned, processed and modeled using various software tools including PolyWorks, Rhino3D and Pointools.
  • The final 3D CAD model of the entire space was delivered to Whiting-Turner for importation into REVIT and Navisworks. This deliverable format allowed it to be used to plan and design the installation of the new equipment.

The Benefits:

  • Time – Lasers cut the time on-site into two days vs. weeks using conventional methods
  • Cost – the overall cost may be more, but the value of the final product is significant
  • Accuracy – Lasers are very accurate, especially over long distances, compared to other tools
  • Completeness – the entire space was captured and modeled, nothing was missed
  • Safety – overhead measurements are safely performed from the floor
  • Format – the final 3D CAD deliverable imports directly into virtually all softwares

The Bottom Line:

This project is just another example of the work that Direct Dimensions does every day. Are you renovating an older structure? Do you need an accurate as-built for architectural design, planning, and analysis? Contact the experts at Direct Dimensions now to get a free proposal for your project.