Building & Infrastructure

Beneficial to pre-construction programs


Feb. 4 2021

Utilizing 3D camera technology and 3D Lidar scanning and is a shift away from static surveys and photo arrays.  These 3D space capture technologies will provide a bird’s eye perspective and a “3D Tour” allowing walk-throughs of a property without ever being onsite. It is now possible to create a digital twin model of a location for remote site inspections, appraising, work planning, asset management decision making, and developing pre-construction strategies for renovation programs.

3D Photos & 3DVR

The 3D camera utilizes multiple lenses or multiple points of view to capture high-resolution imagery. To replicate three dimensions, the photo data is software processed with advanced mathematical computations to “stitch” the images together into a seamless 3D environment. Viewing applications allow exploration of the 3D Virtual Reality (3DVR) and provide an accurate foot by foot and corner to corner immersive experience for site inspection. The software allows snapping and confirming of dimensions in the 3D model form. This technology enables collaboration with internal teams and vendors to make important data-driven decisions about properties without logistic or site visit considerations. 

Are 3D photos reliable or accurate enough for every program? 3DVR is a great tool for architects and owners to interactively review field information. However, as an example, a retail project where there may be tight tolerances where even 1/8” may have impacts for gondola displays and wall standards – the 3DVR should be used as a complement to a trained surveyor taking field measurements. 

As-Builts & Site Plans 

While 3DVR itself is not a CAD “As-Built”, it can be converted to one. The 3D camera is paired with Lidar equipment which uses lasers to bounce off surfaces using Time of Flight (TOF) calculations to determine measurements at great accuracy. The combination of technologies allows for creation of as-built plans in CAD or Revit. 

This process or service is often referred to as a ‘Site Survey’ or ‘Site Investigation’. In addition to the CAD drawings, the typical deliverable is a combination of 3DVR photos, digital photos, and a field report of the visible conditions. 

  • Field Report (or Survey Form): The report that accompanies CAD drawings is usually very specific and may or may not include opinions of the condition of the property, code research and permitting timelines, or other descriptions of the visible conditions. It is important to specify what information is required for project due diligence and investigation. 

The plans can be specified as simple floor plan layouts or include interior and exterior elevations, reflective ceiling plan, roof plans, plenum spaces, or even include tagged fixture and merchandise data. These are some variations of level of detail for site plans: 

  • Measured Drawings (or Pre-Construction As-Built): As-builts are defined as “the Contractor’s redlines on the Construction Drawings reflecting changes during construction” and is often used as an interchangeable term for “Measured Drawings” as defined by the AIA. The Measured Drawings (or Pre-Construction As-Builts) are derived by site measurements and documentation of existing conditions and used as a basis of design by the Architect. 
  • Post-Construction As-Built: A set of drawings capturing the final visible results of construction. Level of detail and type of deliverable varies depending on Client needs.

Note that these may be referred to as “Record Drawings” which “are CAD drawings inclusive of the GC’s redlines which have been created or approved by the Architect”. The difference in price and deliverable between a Post-Construction As-Built and Record Drawings can be substantial – it is imperative to delineate what level of detail is required.

  • As-Built “Level of Detail” or Development: While “LOD” is defined by the AIA strictly in association to the development of a BIM model for design and Construction Documents, it is sometimes misappropriated to Measured Drawings. If you are utilizing LOD, it is highly suggested to provide a clear outline of the exact expectations of the deliverable to obtain pricing. Service costs can widely vary, as does the on-site impact to business operations, and the turn-around time for final deliverables.
    • General “Level of Detail” Definitions LOD 100 – Shows basic 3D massing of the building without any specific details. 
      • LOD 200 – Shows approximate indications of openings, structure, and systems in a generic way. 
      • LOD 300 – Shows quantity, type, size and location within the model
      • LOD 350 – In addition to quantity, type, size and location, also indicates connections and assemblies. 
      • LOD 400 –Includes all of the above and this adds detail of the connections, hardware, and assemblies similar to the level of detail present within a shop drawing. 
      • LOD 500 – Field verified model.


  • Timely and Scalable – When an owner is ready to invest, sell, or improve their property, generally market conditions or finances impose a timeline on decisions and site plan creation. 3D capture technology helps field professionals gather site information efficiently which means they can process the data and deliver information in a timely manner.
    • BV has a local presence in major markets which can reduce total program costs or unplanned expenses by providing national and scalable service.
  • Cost-Effective –3DVR, 360, and Drone survey services have come down in costs over the last few years and often will be more cost-effective than using laser tape and pencil site information capture. As with any newer technology, the price of the service and equipment, the breadth and scale of its availability, and the training of the surveyors have all helped bring costs in line with or even below the ‘old’ method. 
  • Accurate – Accuracy is the foundation of any remodel or construction program. It is key to mitigating dimension busts, equipment replacements, or last-minute construction costs that derail opening dates and wreak havoc on Capex budgets. Site data is driving decisions on construction costs, schedules, and drawings. Predictable programs start with high-quality, detailed site information through 3DVR, 360 photos, and accurate CAD or REVIT deliverables.
    • BV will provide a sample deliverable and scope of work to assist with developing and delivering focused and detailed program requirements. 
  • Operational Continuity – There are often concerns about disruptions anytime a sub-consultant or vendor is on-site – especially when it involves evaluating major building systems and other site concerns. The process requires site data collection to be done quickly and discreetly. Time at the facility can be limited by 3D capture. Providing a 3D digital twin of the site to project vendors and team members may eliminate unnecessary site visits.
    • BV understands when we are on-site, we are acting as an extension of your brand when interacting with employees and customers. 

Bureau Veritas can provide 3DVR and As-Built services for pre-construction projects. Programs at scale and speed are a heavy lift for many organizations and BV can offer project and construction management solutions.