5 Ways Reality Capture is Transforming the Construction Industry

April 20, 2018 Annie Phan

You may have heard that reality capture is transforming the design and construction industries. By making it easier and faster to capture site data and convert it to usable 3D models, today’s reality capture technologies have already changed the way many construction companies do business. But did you know there are 5 ways reality capture technology is actually changing the landscape of the entire industry?


1: It’s Improving Accuracy

Modern reality capture technology makes out-of-date 2D blueprints and measuring tape obsolete. Instead of multiple site visits to double and triple check measurements, a single drone survey with photo-to-point-cloud creation provides an accurate 3D model based on actual site conditions in a fraction of the time, with a remarkable level of detail. Improved accuracy is changing owner and designer expectations around timelines as well as rework expectations, meaning that GCs have to up their game. Fortunately, the same tools that demand this of us, provide us with the means to accomplish this.

reality-capture-customer-3d-designTurner Fleischer avoid change orders and increase ROI by using reality capture technology


2: It’s Accelerating Efficiency

By reducing site visits and increasing the speed of data collection, today’s reality capture technologies accelerate efficiency at many levels. Marin Pastar of Bates Architects estimates that, for their Mercy Hospital project, they reduced costs by 50% by using 3D laser scanning instead of trying to capture the same information with a traditional 2D surveyor. Most of this, Pastar says, came from time savings.

"I estimate approximately a 50% reduction in cost by using 3D laser scanning vs. trying to capture all the same information with a traditional 2D surveyor. The biggest savings was the time savings – this was probably the shortest time frame project of the largest scope which Reality Capture helped us deliver."

Marin Pastar, Director of innovations, Bates architects


3: It’s Reducing Tedious Manual Work

Where site drawings and point clouds used to involve a long and tedious manual process involving both site visits and manual manipulation of the data, today’s reality capture technologies automate most if not all of the tedious tasks. Data from drones and other reality capture technologies on site can be streamed directly into 3D models that are immediately available for manipulation in AutoCAD or other software. Designs based on these models flow directly into the construction workflow, eliminating the tedious task of converting design info into buildable plans.

reality-capture-customer-time-savingsMcCarthy Building Companies highlight their man-hour savings by using reality capture


4: It’s More Collaborative

Reality capture was once a tedious and technical task used primarily on large scale projects for the benefit of the design team to create documentation. Today’s software tools make the point cloud data easy to use, manipulate, share, and incorporate into design and construction workflows. In a digital environment, stakeholders across the project life cycle can take notes, capture feedback, measure current site conditions, and more, directly inside workflows. Because all of this happens in real time, it creates a far more collaborative environment for all stakeholders.


5: It Validates the Construction Process

Because reality capture is simple, fast, and intuitive, it is now frequently used to validate the construction process and ensure that it aligns with design intent. This is good news for construction companies, because it reduces rework by catching problems earlier, and helps ensure throughout the process that the project remains aligned with expectations.

 Reality capture is not new, but the technologies being used today are far superior to anything that’s been available in the history of our industry. Its implications are far-reaching and we’ve only begun to see its effects.




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