Reality capture drives value, point by point

Reality capture drives value, point by point

by RICARDO KHAN, Mortenson Construction

Have you ever seen "verify in field" on a set of construction documents. Of course you have. Then you visit the project site and use the trusty tape measure or luckily a laser measuring device. Two days later you have it all documented. Or did you?

        Credit: Kelly Alpers, Mortenson Construction

        Credit: Kelly Alpers, Mortenson Construction

Reality Capture or 3D laser scanning measures intricate surface details and reproduces the exact size and shape - even the color - of a room or building into a 3D image. The laser scan creates a "point cloud" of data - millions of points measured by the rotating laser over each surface of the space. We can then take the point cloud and transform it into a Building Information Model (BIM). Once the data has been translated into a BIM, it can be used to create design drawings, document as-built conditions, or be referenced by a facilities management team. We are able to manipulate and tweak that model to fit client needs and brainstorm design improvements.

To learn more about the value of reality capture please visit our Reality Capture page on

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Why is this so important?

It all about managing or minimizing risk and eliminating non-value add time! Through reality capture we can quickly validate existing conditions, convey that to our design partners which dramatically increases certainty. The result is simple, better design documents that allow us (the builder) to ensure we deliver on our customers vision and the architects design.

What's next? Or better yet, what's already happening? Hand Held Scanners

UAV + Scanners

UAV + Photogrammetry

The next evolution... Google Tango

What are YOUR thoughts?  I'm interested...

Please share what you are seeing and let us know if there are opportunities to work together to drive innovation into the industry. We are always looking into what's next, and continuously improving what we do to deliver higher value to our customers.

Based in Minneapolis, the author is Mortenson's national director of integrated construction. He provides company-wide leadership of Virtual Design & Construction (VDC), driving efficiency and customer impact through the integration of technology into design, fabrication and installation. In this capacity, he oversees Mortenson's Integrated Delivery Advancement Team (IDAT), made up of over 60 VDC professionals who drive and support the use of virtual tools and technologies on projects. Email:

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