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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 »

Bridging the Gap Between Reality Capture and Digital Construction

June 28th, 2018 by Susan Smith

The process of creating useful 3D mesh models from point clouds and as-built images is one that can be challenging for software but is in high demand in the AEC industry. Pointfuse is a construction software solution that creates intelligent, manageable 3D mesh models with separable objects based on as-built images and point clouds. Customers around the world use it to help in clash detection, scheduling, verification, and other construction processes that benefit from reality capture.

With the new integration between Pointfuse and Autodesk BIM 360, customers will be able to use the product to its full potential.

By integrating Pointfuse into BIM 360, Autodesk bridges the gap between reality capture and digital construction. When exported to BIM 360, a Pointfuse model allows easy comparison between the original design at each stage and the reality as captured in up-to-date images and point clouds. With this information, teams can more accurately update construction schedules, issue RFIs, detect clashes, and assign responsibilities by trade, owner, contractor, and profession.

AECCafe Voice spoke with Mark Senior, Regional Sales Director, Pointfuse, about the new integration.

What does Pointfuse bring to the table that didn’t exist in Autodesk products to date?  

There has been a gap between the capabilities of reality capture technology, and the ability to use it to its fullest potential during the construction process. A new integration between Autodesk BIM 360 and Pointfuse changes that.

What was the previous process of getting as built models into BIM? 

Design teams would manually trace and section point clouds taking days and weeks to produce geometry.

What might be a typical workflow of using Pointfuse integration with BIM 360?  

During the construction process, there is a need for timely as-built data to be fed back to all of the teams (via the BIM coordinator), to ensure that any alterations to the design can be identified and re-design work can occur quickly – avoiding hold ups. Therefore a typical workflow would be as follows:

-“As-Built” point cloud data captured on site, delivered via cloud to Pointfuse desktop user, where it is processed into an intelligent mesh model

– This model is then classified to remove noise, so that only the construction elements are left – this stripped down model uploaded to BIM 360 docs

– within BIM 360, the BIM coordinator can then perform their BIM coordination tasks (construction verification, clash detection between any elements that have changed)

– They then feed this information back to design teams across all disciplines, again using BIM 360…

When are the clashes detected, at the point when the Pointfuse data enters into the BIM 360?

Clashes can be detected when combined with design data using BIM 360 clash tools as well as model comparison to identify clashes and changes.

What platforms is the Pointfuse integration available on?


How does the small model size of Pointfuse distribute across the breadth of a big BIM model in BIM 360?

Pointfuse provides an ‘as-built’ snap shot that can easily be distributed by trade assists in the process of validating completed works.

Is there an additional charge for Pointfuse or does it come as part of the subscription program that includes BIM 360? 

Pointfuse is a separate subscription offered as both an annual license or leased on a monthly basis.

Benefits of the Pointfuse Integration

The Pointfuse integration with BIM 360 brings as-built data into the construction management software that is effective, manageable, and useful.

  • Pointfuse converts “dumb” point clouds into intelligent mesh models that can be manipulated and investigated from any location with access to BIM 360 project documents.
  • Pointfuse reduces file size so that they are easily uploaded, downloaded, manipulated, and managed from within BIM 360.
  • Pointfuse models allow easy comparison to the original design at every stage and part of the building process, arming team members with information that improves construction scheduling, RFI management, clash detection, and responsibility assignment.

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AEC, AECCafe, apps, AutoCAD, Autodesk, construction, IFC, integrated project delivery, project management, reality capture

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