Understanding Scan-to-BIM

Understanding Scan-to-BIM

15 Mar 2024

Pentagon Solutions

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This informal CPD article ‘Understanding Scan-to-BIM’, was provided by Pentagon Solutions, a leading technology and consultancy partner in the UK & Ireland for companies who strive to gain efficiencies in their business by digitalisation of their assets and processes.

What is scan-to-BIM?

Scan-to-BIM is a process used in the construction and architecture industry to create accurate 3D models of existing buildings or structures. The process involves using laser scanning technology to capture precise measurements and data points of a physical space or structure. This data is then processed and converted into a digital 3D model using specialised software.

Scan-to-BIM is particularly useful for renovation, restoration, and retrofitting projects where accurate as-built documentation is essential. It allows architects, engineers, and construction professionals to have a comprehensive understanding of the existing conditions of a building or structure before any design or construction work begins.

What are the benefits of using scan-to-BIM?

Using scan-to-BIM can result in many benefits for your projects. These include:

  1. Accuracy: Laser scanning technology provides highly accurate measurements, resulting in precise 3D models.
  2. Timesaving: Scan-to-BIM reduces the time required for manual measurement and documentation, speeding up the design and construction process.
  3. Cost-effectiveness: By reducing errors and rework, Scan-to-BIM can help save costs during the design and construction phases.
  4. Improved collaboration: BIM models created from scan data facilitate better collaboration between architects, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders involved in a project.
  5. Enhanced visualisation: 3D BIM models created from scan data allow stakeholders to visualise the existing conditions of a building or structure more effectively than traditional 2D drawings or documentation.

Applications of scan-to-BIM across the building life cycle

Design Phase:

In the design phase, a 3D BIM model serves as a crucial tool for architects and designers, providing an in-depth understanding of site conditions and enabling informed decision-making. Key considerations during this phase include identifying necessary building elements, non-geometric attributes, and the desired Level of Detail (LOD) for retrofit, renovation, and restoration projects. Scan-to-BIM technology facilitates the preservation of architectural heritage by offering accurate representations of historical buildings or structures, capturing details such as space, angular resolution, and architectural significance.

Construction Phase:

During the construction phase, scan-to-BIM models play a pivotal role in identifying ambiguities between the as-built and as-designed 3D models. These models undergo rigorous checks to ensure compliance with standard regulations and codes, enhancing data accuracy and construction quality. Virtual field installation simulations enable early detection and resolution of potential issues as well as minimising rework and costs. The conversion of point cloud data into 3D models facilitates quick design changes and visualisation, while fabrication and installation-ready scan-to-BIM models streamline quality assurance and control processes.

Facilities Management and Renovation:

Scan-to-BIM technology supports facilities management and renovation endeavours by facilitating performance analysis, structural assessment, and accessibility diagnosis through point cloud to BIM models. These models ensure optimal performance in terms of energy consumption, structural integrity, and accessibility. Scan-to-BIM generates accurate and comprehensive documentation, including geometry, component specifications, warranty dates, and other parameters in Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) format. This data-rich documentation set enables efficient maintenance and management, addressing issues stemming from inaccurate or incomplete documentation. 3D visualisation enriched with data enhances facilities management functionality, empowering clients to optimise operations, space management, renovation planning, and emergency protocols seamlessly.


Scan-to-BIM technology presents a powerful solution for addressing the challenges encountered in reconstruction, renovation, and facility management projects. By leveraging this technology, surveyors and laser scanning companies can overcome limitations in information availability and accuracy, ensuring precise spatial analysis, reliable cost estimates, and enhanced visualisation.

Through the interpretation of point cloud data and adherence to best practices in modelling, stakeholders can achieve accurate and comprehensive 3D models, facilitating informed decision-making and streamlining project workflows. The integration of scan-to-BIM across various building phases offers significant benefits, including improved design validation, enhanced construction safety, and streamlined facilities management. As the construction industry continues to evolve, embracing scan-to-BIM methodologies promises to drive efficiency, mitigate risks, and deliver better project outcomes.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Pentagon Solutions, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.


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Pentagon Solutions

Pentagon Solutions

For more information from Pentagon Solutions, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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