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Field to BIM MEP: What and Why?

Field to BIM MEP: What and why?

Field to BIM is the transfer of as-built building information from point of source in the field directly into a Building Information Model (BIM). It encompasses all activities from the creation of a 3D Point Cloud to the development of a model using point cloud processing and analysis, through to the capture of data pertaining to specific elements in the model. 

As an MEP Contractor working on refit or renovation projects you may often face the daunting task of building digital representations of existing sites into 3D models before you even begin to design the new installation.

It is highly desirable and financially beneficial to use Field to BIM technologies such as 3D Scanners and point cloud analysis technologies to mechanise this process.


What is a point cloud?
A point cloud is a set of data points in a three-dimensional coordination system created by a 3D scanner. Normally a standard X, Y and Z system is used and the coordinates generated by the scanner will represent the external surfaces of the items scanned.


Why are companies adopting Field to BIM technologies?
Up until last year the emphasis with Building Information Modelling has been on the upstream activities, focussing on specification, design and build activities primarily for the construction of new buildings. More recently MEP contractors have begun to wholeheartedly embrace the use of Field to BIM technologies like 3D Scanning, seeing the benefits of using these tools in the design and modification of existing buildings. 

Why are companies adopting Field to BIM technologies?

  • Deskilling field-based 3D model data capture
    3D scanners are very easy to use, meaning inexperienced users can be trained to scan a site very quickly. This means you don’t have to tie up your most experienced staff for days measuring and creating 2D drawings or 3D models.
  • An economical solution
    3D Scanners are relatively inexpensive given the quality of the data produced and the speed and ease of data capture. MEP Contractors using scanning technologies report quick ROI.
  • High-quality results
    A high-quality 3D Scanner produces high-resolution data which in turn can be used to generate a high fidelity BIM model. The level of detail achieved far outweighs that previously achieved using manual methods and as a result, provides the MEP contractor with a greater understanding of the as-built environment. This can lead to a reduction of clash and general errors caused by omissions and manual mistakes made during the measurement and drawing process.

Field to BIM techniques have as much to offer smaller companies as larger ones. In many ways they enable small companies to behave and feel like their larger competitors, producing high-quality 3D models quickly, effectively and relatively cheaply.

Trimble offers a number of Field to BIM technologies to support you and your team as you begin to use BIM methodologies on renovation and refit projects. The Trimble 3D laser scanner is a compact, lightweight and efficient 3D scanner that captures high-resolution data. Trimble RealWorks is specifically designed for point cloud processing and analysis. The software provides a complete solution to efficiently register, analyse, model and create deliverables using data from virtually any point cloud source.