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Point Cloud to BIM: The Key to Success for MEP Engineers

Modern technologies such as BIM have taken the construction industry to greater heights. Until a few years ago, the potential of BIM technology was not fully explored by the construction industry. However, it has changed, with close to 49% of surveyed builders in the U.S. preferring BIM for its enhanced visualization capabilities.

But what can make the entire BIM system more valuable for AEC companies? Point Cloud – the breakthrough technology that helps surveyors map a building using 3D scanning technology. Let’s understand how Point Cloud to BIM can help detail, estimate, and renovate a project.

What is Point Cloud?

What is Point Cloud?

Point Cloud is one of the advanced 3D modeling technologies that accurately measures the properties of an object in a non-intrusive manner. Point Cloud creates a massive collection of individual points, with each point plotted along the X, Y, and Z axis in a 3D space.

With a 3D scanner, multiple points within the coordinate system are captured. They are then filtered and processed to create an entire scene. Each scanned point may also contain additional information about the object, such as its echo, reflection, and color.

Types of Projects that Benefit from Point Cloud to BIM

Point Cloud to BIM is used in renovation projects, extensions, facility management, and demolition projects. A Point Cloud software generates raw 3D data points of a structure’s external surface, color, and geometry. After the Point Cloud information is generated, it is fed into the BIM system for building modeling.

For instance, when construction companies work on renovations and extensions, they typically deal with outdated construction drawings or blueprints. But these drawings are unsuitable for developing digital models of the structure. Moreover, changes or modifications to the internal spaces of a building impact its outer shell. It also has a significant impact on MEP systems. When exporting Point Cloud to BIM, you can create precise architectural 3D models of the structure without much effort.

Building Extension and Renovation

By exporting Point Cloud data to BIM, it is easy to create as-built models of the building depicting the walls, pipes, roof planes, slabs, and more. The Point Cloud software reduces the time and cost needed to visit the site to visualize the structure.

Point Cloud helps to visualize the new design, reduce construction time, enhance planning, and provide accurate load calculations before construction.

Refurbishment Project

In refurbishment projects, it is essential to assess the damage to the building. Point Cloud scanned models help extract spatial relationships between surfaces, objects, and structures, and it can provide enhanced visualization of the building, giving contractors a complete idea about structural damage, deformation, and placement.

In a refurbishment project, several aspects of the building are considered before beginning the project, such as the installation of new systems, re-equipping, or retrofitting. Repair or replacement of existing systems, such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, and ventilation may also be required.

Survey details derived by the use of a Point Cloud scanner are considerably better than manual surveys. With Point Cloud 3D data, MEP engineers can work with a higher level of detailing of the structure, which helps reduce project lifecycle time, improve reliability, and reduce energy usage.

How Point Cloud Data Aid MEP Engineers?

Point Cloud should ideally act as the basis for your BIM strategy that can extract datasets from physical assets. Point Cloud helps you get your building projects off the ground quickly, efficiently, accurately, and on time.

Using Point Cloud software before the start of your project is the ideal first step, as the data from the Point Cloud scanners can act as an accurate source of building and environment information. This information can help create accurate digital plans of building. The valuable real-time field data helps in forecasting requirements, accurately plan execution, reduce rework, and eliminate delays.

Developing Accurate Structural Details

If you’re working on remodeling or renovating a building, MEP engineers would be dependent on the accuracy of the structural and architectural details of the building. Point Cloud gives them exact details of beams, ceilings, walls, and columns.

If ground-based LIDAR is used, you can capture details of a building or a landscape with less than a millimeter of accuracy. Drone-based LIDAR, incorporates GPS, to give accurate information to 1 to 30 cms accuracy.

Meticulous and Detailed Drawings

Detailed and meticulous drawings of buildings are instrumental in the accurate planning, scheduling, and execution of projects. Without coordinated drawings, the project can run into construction delays, snags, increased costs, and risks.

Since the Point Cloud software, along with the photogrammetry platform, organizes the data by triangulating the points automatically, you can save hours trying to manually manipulate data.

Moreover, the data collection is also faster and more detailed, as large data points can be collected at once.

Enhanced Site Monitoring

The point cloud is extensively used to achieve a comprehensive view of the site and project progress. By regularly using Point cloud data points throughout the construction project, it is easier to track progress and gain valuable insights.”

Gaining a Complete Perspective of the building

Regardless of the 3D scanner device used to capture data points, it is possible to view the Point cloud data points from any perspective. For example, if you have captured a building using a handheld 3D scanner from a frontal perspective, you can also view the image from a top-down angle. With Point cloud, you can get a complete view of the building, including rooms, stairwells, walls, and objects, from any perspective.

Less Time Consuming and Better Visualization

One of the major advantages of using Point Cloud is the enhanced visualization capabilities it offers. Additionally, Point Cloud also reduces the time taken to gather accurate measurements of a building compared to traditional surveying methods.


Scan to BIM is a non-intrusive system of developing a virtual representation of a building complete with structural and functional characteristics. In Point Cloud software, a 3D scanner is used to plot the coordinates of a physical structure in a 3D space and export it to BIM software to create a real-world model of the building. Point cloud increases accuracy, efficiency, and quality of construction from planning to execution.

Want to integrate Point Cloud into your BIM strategy?

Explore scan to BIM services to Virtual Building Studio to give your project the advantage of enhanced visualization and valuable data for better decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.

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