Skanska speeds BIM workflows with as-built laser models

Pointfuse point cloud software is helping Skanska undertake complex clash detection during the early stages of construction of a new landmark building in London.

For part of the 80 Fenchurch Street development, Skanska used Pointfuse to process laser scanned data to create an “as built” 3D model of surrounding buildings and temporary works for comparison with BIM design models.

Using Pointfuse Skanska was able to reduce the size of the original point cloud file by 99%, allowing for faster onward processing of the data. As a result it was able to save time and money and develop efficient workflows that could be scaled up for the whole project.

The £127m building contract was awarded to Skanska in December 2017, construction started in spring 2018 and the development is due for completion in April 2020.

Working within these tight timeframes Skanska has utilised data from survey company Site Engineering Surveys (SES) which had performed a laser scan of the site following the demolition of the previous structure. Using a Leica P40 laser scanner, SES captured more than 99 million individual measurements resulting in a point cloud above 12GB in size.

“The need for clash detection arises as within the BIM process there is not just one model but many that form one federated model,” commented Skanska engineer Sophie Baker. “Clash detection helps in early offsite issue identification, and allows both the construction and design teams to work through potential problems in a much cheaper and quicker way.”

To undertake initial clash detection in key areas, Skanska attempted to load the point cloud into Autodesk Revit, which proved to be slow and difficult. However, by processing the file in Pointfuse it was able to reduce the file size to 70MB.

Using Pointfuse files could then be exported in NWD (a CAD file created by and compatible with Autodesk Navisworks) and IFC (a BIM format developed by buildingSMART to facilitate greater interoperability), making the onward use of the data for clash detection analysis faster and simpler. 

“Using Pointfuse to process the raw data to undertake clash detection resulted in tangible time savings,” said Baker. “This obviously has an impact on costs but more importantly gives us workflow that will be applied across the rest of this project and is now proven for use on other projects.”

80 Fenchurch Street will be an iconic office building in the heart of London. The 14-storey landmark was designed by TP Bennett and will comprise office accommodation and retail space. The project will be constructed to deliver a BREEAM “excellent” rating for sustainability and Wired Platinum Certification to ensure the building will fit the digital needs of future tenants.   

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