University of Pennsylvania

3D Scanning

Philadelphia, PA

AKF's 3D Laser Scanning service allows us to capture site conditions with an efficiency, accuracy, and speed impossible using the human eye and manual drafting. In a year fraught with potential dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 3D scanning has also proven to be a great asset for documenting and sharing site conditions without the need for people to assemble for in-person review. The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) put our 3D Scanning abilities to the test. We were tasked with documenting very complex existing conditions in a research facility's 20,000 square foot mechanical room.

The project began when UPenn engaged AKF to design a straightforward HVAC controls system upgrade, but the upgrade revealed deteriorated piping within the mechanical space, necessitating a scope update to include piping replacement to maintain service in this critical system. While the University had CAD as-builts of the existing piping, the sensitivity of entering a medical research facility during the initial phases of the pandemic limited the on-site time we could spend verifying the documents. AKF leveraged our 3D Scanning technology to capture the existing conditions of the space, accurately documenting the locations of existing utilities to within 1/16 of an inch.

The scans included both dimensional data and visual imagery so team members could identify locations as well as functions of existing objects. AKF's design team referred to the scans while creating contract documents showing the new piping layouts. The scans allowed AKF to identify inaccuracies in the as-builts and to avoid other obstructions not shown on the older drawings. Accuracy was a key concern during this process due to the sensitive nature of running new pipes parallel to existing critical systems. The accuracy of the scans demonstrated that the routing of new piping would fit within the constraints of the space and that the project was buildable without shutting down systems for a significant period of time.

Once the design documents were complete, mechanical contractors needed to prepare bids. The team encountered an additional challenge - how could we safely host a dozen prospective bidders examining the existing conditions amid a pandemic? AKF volunteered to prepare a virtual walkthrough for the full team as part of the electronic pre-bid meeting hosted by Construction Manager TN Ward. We led a virtual guided tour using the output of our precise scans, showing bidders prospective constraints and each critical piping connection necessary for the success of the project. The virtual walkthrough allowed the group to easily zoom in to small details that would not be apparent to the naked eye. In addition, the virtual walkthrough afforded everyone the equal ability to hear and see what was presented, in contrast to on-site walkthroughs where a bidder's position in the group can influence what they can see or hear.

Our 3D Scanning technology allowed us to produce precision design documents in a fraction of the time that traditional manual survey and drafting would have taken. The scans allowed for seamless project coordination, a more comprehensive and accurate review of existing conditions, and are serving as a reference to the team throughout the lifecycle of the project, therein reducing the possibility that unforeseen conditions will lead to future change orders. The speed and availability of the 3D scans accelerated the process of coordinating the design and bidding phases, ultimately expediting execution of the work.


OWNER: University of Pennsylvania
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