The million-dollar question is how do you know if a BIM project is a good candidate for laser mapping. Key considerations are:

Requirements. Has the owner or agency operating the building requested 3-D mapping? Increasingly, 3-D modeling is being required, especially by government agencies that have to maintain and operate buildings over many decades while administrating renovation projects. For many government buildings, CAD drawings are lacking, which makes identifying areas during the troubleshooting and concept phases difficult. In such situations, 3-D mapping can be particularly useful.

Time and cost. What is the opportunity cost of not using 3-D laser mapping? When you consider the time it takes experienced designers to verify and document all existing conditions, especially with multiple utilities in a condensed area, 3-D modeling becomes much more cost-effective. The use of laser mapping frees up resources for valuable tasks, such as preparing preliminary calculations and developing conceptual layouts, and it expedites coordination of disciplines. Manipulation of a building information model to test-fit various design scenarios is paramount to productivity and quick client turnaround. Whether a project is of considerable size or has been fast-tracked, the time and efficiency benefits of using 3-D modeling can outweigh the expense of the technology itself.

Product quality. Will laser mapping lead to a better end product? If a renovation is extensive and there are potential conflicts with existing utilities, 3-D laser mapping can make the design more accurate while minimizing cost overruns and delays.