Asbuilt models: From BIM to Reality Capture


Obviously, Asbuilts have usually been developed so that we have a record of what's built to use it in the future without a need to check the physical asset. The process was to do the site survey, use the latest construction drawings, and red-mark them on-site to highlight any changes, then communicate them to the drafting team developing the built drawings as a final product.

When BIM became more often used, the process remained the same, with the addition of BIM, where red-marked drawings were first reflected in the models, and then asbuilt drawings were extracted from the models. A better scenario is when we have a cloud platform where the site team communicates the changes as they happen, gets the designer's and client's approval through the construction management platform, and then the modelers update the BIM Model accordingly, so by the end of the construction process, this live BIM Model shall be the Asbuilt model.

At a certain point, laser scanning started to be popular. With the correct "expensive" device and reasonable man-hours, you can capture the whole building and have a point cloud model with Photos to navigate as if you are in the actual asset. Unfortunately, these models were heavy and didn't host information other than geospatial information. To use these scans, Scan to BIM has emerged as one of the most hectic processes I've seen. Although there are some great projects that I have seen using San to BIM to preserve heritage buildings, many other Scan to BIM projects end up neither precise nor beautiful.

I think the next step is to be able to abandon Scan to BIM and use the scans as the final product. To do so, we need smarter point clouds that can act as BIM Models where the elements can be identified and parameters can be assigned. Whether machine learning can understand that this group of points is a specific column or use a reference BIM Model to help the AI automatically assign information to the points. Some good tools are already available in the market but with limited capabilities, and innovative providers are working on better use of captured data. However, advancement in this direction will significantly help the industry.

Finally, I would appreciate it if you could share your thoughts with us on the below two points:
️- What's your process for Asbuilt capture and handover?
-️ Recommend a good tool or platform that can facilitate the Asbuilt process