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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Reality capture for building innovation

January 9th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Josh Lowe, senior innovation advisor and Mike Whaley, president of TURIS Systems,spoke at Autodesk University during the session entitled, “BuildX: Construction Site of the Future.” Lowe and Whaley talked about the scanning revolution, or “reality capture” as it is now called.  TURIS  develops and implements project-specific Building Innovation Systems that utilize a technology-based modular approach for knowledge management. Laser scanning or reality capture has become more accessible, portable and more applicable.

In numerous aspects of building design and operations, Turis Systems now uses reality capture. The following are some areas in which they are using it:

Site conditions –

  • cut fill
  • for storage
  • less waste
  • Capture and monitor during construction

Structure –

  • formwork
  • concrete reinforcement

Mechanical Systems

  • weekly QA/QC scans, and get weekly feedback.


  • pre-installation verification
  • floor flatness where you can document exactly what’s happening and where tolerances are.


  • monitor movement such as seismic events or freeze thaw
  • do thermal monitoring and analysis

Lowe said they can get get instant feedback from the scan for statistical analysis with walls and other buildings parts. They also use scanning to see what is in tolerance and what is not.

“As soon as the ironworkers are done we’re scanning,” he said. “It helps us zone in on where to do QA/QC, and doing analysis before we pour. We can  do corrections in real time.”

Whaley said that reality capture is not just laser scanning, but blending multiple pieces of technology and putting that into a method that they can do analysis on. “With precast metal you can laser scan it, so if there is damage then you can show if there is damage – and whether it was delivered with a crack or not.”

Turis takes laser scans at each stage of installment so they can verify how much has been installed.

An example is as follows: inside the plant, Turis needed to install a new assembly line on top of the old one. They scanned the room, worked with the manufactuer of the overhead conveyance system, thereby saving tens of thousands of dollars. They used mashups for 3D thermal energy, and they did “before and after thermal” images with the model.

In closing, Lowe and Whaley commented: “The future is here – it is just not evenly distributed.”

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Categories: AEC, architecture, AutoCAD, Autodesk, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, construction, consumerization, engineering, infrastructure, integrated project delivery, plant design, reality capture, site planning

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