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The Construction Contract Administration Knowledge Community (CCA) has been established to help our members better understand the issues, actions and resultant impact of the decisions required in this often neglected part of Project Delivery. It is our goal to provide clear answers to issues of concern to the Institute’s membership and share case studies and best practices. We further hope to provide guidance and direction in developing guidelines for new and evolving approaches to Project Delivery as well as guidance in the continuing education of our emerging young professionals.

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Have you used Lidar during construction?

  • 1.  Have you used Lidar during construction?

    Posted 02-27-2019 13:07

    Has anyone used Lidar during construction, such as to help document the site and/or ensure quality control?


    Lidar has been a popular topic of conversation in my circles, but I'd love to hear from people who have used or considered the practical application in their own work. We are currently using Lidar on a project and would like to make sure its worth the investment. Have you found Lidar to be particularly useful during construction? Are there any tools you've found essential for being able to utilize all the raw data you collect? What challenges have you had with Lidar? Any tips for people considering incorporating it into their own work?


    Alternatively, if you've considered Lidar and decided not to use it, why?

    Shelby Morris AIA
    Associate Principal
    The Beck Group
    Atlanta GA
    CCA 2020 symposium call for proposals

  • 2.  RE: Have you used Lidar during construction?

    Posted 03-04-2019 17:06
    the case for Lidar simply put is that the built environment is not accurately reflected in Record Drawings. The tools of our trade depend on things being plumb, square and level. even in new construction the precision and tolerances of construction vary (though they are greatly improved in our day). Working on existing buildings on any complexity or size means that the record drawings (formerly referred to as 'as-builts') are at best 90% accurate. in practice i have found when field verifying dimensions for a remodel / renovation project, that the historic drawings can be off by quite alot. (I found columns increasingly out of place with the worst case being 24"). Now that may not seem like alot but when you are planning for upgrades to structure, opening up floor plates, running new stairs, installing / updating plumbing, electrical, etc. the assurance that comes from having access to a LIDAR point cloud and accompanying 360 degree imagery, means that a drafter can zoom in, isolate, manipulate the point cloud to cut sections through the building to see behind the finishes and respond to reality.  Yes LIDAR is an investment, but if it is a project of significance, or if you want to avoid the headaches that are inevitable in assuming all columns align, that the walls are plumb and square, then go ahead and take a pass.

    As for me, anytime i am faced with a remodel / renovation of anything larger than a convenience store i will lobby for the owner to invest in a LIDAR point cloud for the project.

    hope this helps
    M. Scott Woodruff
    Sr. Project Manager
    Klai Juba Wald
    Las Vegas, NV

    Matthew Woodruff AIA
    Sr. Project Architect
    Klai Juba Wald Architects

    CCA 2020 symposium call for proposals

  • 3.  RE: Have you used Lidar during construction?

    Posted 03-05-2019 17:46
    Lidar is definitely a great asset on a remodel project.  Unfortunately, it is still way too expensive for most remodels.  I've found, however, that a more modest investment in a Matterport camera allows the creation of an interior point cloud with a 1" tolerance is very useful. I bought mine at about $4,000 and it has been very helpful on many projects already. The limitations are the resolution of the point cloud (1") and the fact it only works on interior spaces. It also is needs ample lighting because it uses optical scanning instead of lasers.

    With that said, on projects that justify the added cost, the Lidar scans are far more accurate and allow for exteriors and low light conditions.  We've used both and it really just depends on the project scale and budget as to which method is preferable. For the Lidar scans, I suggest contracting out to someone who specializes in that service offering.

    Best wishes,
    David Clayton, AIA
    DEIV Architecture
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    David Clayton AIA
    DEIV Architecture and Design
    West Bountiful UT

    CCA 2020 symposium call for proposals

  • 4.  RE: Have you used Lidar during construction?

    Posted 03-05-2019 17:51
    I should add, that during construction, I have not used LIDAR but on high dollar projects that require precision, I could easily see that being worth the investment.

    David Clayton AIA
    DEIV Architecture and Design
    West Bountiful UT

    CCA 2020 symposium call for proposals

  • 5.  RE: Have you used Lidar during construction?

    Posted 03-05-2019 18:21
    We used a LIDAR scan prior to a remodeling project.  We had very low headroom in converting an office building to education facility.  We needed exact joist spacing, clearance, etc. to pre-order some log lead time HVAC distribution boxes.  Our engineer and selected mechanical contractor took the point cloud and accurately produced both the order for the VAV boxes as well as a complete and accurate shop drawing for all of the ductwork under and through the steel joists.  

    The LIDAR is becoming more common with many contractors having the device themselves and no longer having to deal with rentals or specialized firms.  

    It's worth the investment anywhere where dimensions and existing data is critical.



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    Arlen M. Solochek FAIA
    Maricopa Community Colleges
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Capital Planning & Special Projects
    2411 West 14th Street, Tempe AZ 85281
    (480) 731-8232 |
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  • 6.  RE: Have you used Lidar during construction?

    Posted 03-06-2019 11:20
    I recently attended a CE course, where this surveying technology was explained. My friend, who is an expert in Revit asked a really imprtant question: What format does the point cloud file come in? How can you use it in Revit? and we all discovered that the information had to be traced over, to become useful in construction documentation.
    I also learned how expensive the equipment and related services are. I suppose it has applications. but make sure if and when you order, that you will actually use them.
    I was not surprised to learn that the one entity that hired services was a local government, wanting to preserve an "historic"structure.
    Despite the above, i am intrigued; I recently found a company named Occipital that sells an iPad attachment. it does not use point cloud, instead it creates a mesh. and they convert the files to CAD or Revit formats.
    I purchased the device, but have yet to try it out.

    Ivan Contreras, LEED AP, AIA
    Qualifier | Director
    Miami FL

    CCA 2020 symposium call for proposals