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7 min read

The Smart Way for Starting Capital Projects

Nov 21, 2022 9:09:14 AM

Starting capital projects off right requires not just knowledge of your fundamental assets, but accurate data on those assets as well. Many times, people depend on information about their assets from old paper drawings, flat files, blueprints, public documents, etc. Unfortunately, these older files are often not reliable. Those drawings, which may have been accurate at one point in time, may not be up to date. It is common for buildings to shift, sag, or undergo undocumented renovations. With that being said, you will not know the current conditions of the building looking at old drawings. To avoid wasting time and money, it is crucial to make sure that your documentation is correct before you invest in your capital project renovation. When you call Existing Conditions, our team will help you start your project off right by finding out exactly what you need. We will provide you with high-quality existing conditions documentation for you and your teams and provide the support and information you require to make well-informed decisions.

Technology Investment

The team at Existing Conditions is invested in state-of-the-art, survey-grade equipment and technology to better serve our clients and provide superior accuracy. Using this equipment every day, we are experts in the field, knowing how to use the right tool for any job. We are able to scale this technology in order to capture only the data needed for the current phase of your project. This will help you stay within your budget at a given stage while still gathering the accurate data that you need to make informed decisions. We provide a variety of services to meet your needs and can help you navigate the various technologies. This will enable you to have confidence in moving forward, knowing that our teams will provide you with accurate information about your assets. Below is a list of some of the technology we employ and how they can help you on your next capital project.

Drone Technology

Our commercial drone technology services are used for accurate building envelope condition evaluations, gross square footage calculations, and building footprints. This data will show you the current state of the asset rather than depending on out-of-date satellite or street-view images. This is a low-cost option for getting large amounts of valuable data before you make large investments. If you are purchasing a building and would like an idea of the square footage before you invest, this would be the best solution for you. With the help of drone imagery and other tools, you will have the best situational awareness of your assets.

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3D Laser Scanning

Lidar is a laser-based method of collecting highly accurate building information. We employ a variety of Lidar-based hardware which are known as 3D laser scanners. A survey grade terrestrial 3D laser scanner lets us scan a building extremely quickly and capture information up to one kilometer away, while SLAM technology enables us to scan a building at a walking speed. This technology is essential for the collection of accurate interior and exterior information about your asset. Our scanners are able to capture millions of data points per second, providing incredibly rich detail of every aspect of your project. This quick, safe, and non-intrusive option allows you to have exceptional spatial awareness of your building. Because these tools scan 360-degrees, when scanning the exterior of a building they scan the surrounding areas as well, giving you great situational awareness of your site.

The amount of information gathered through the laser scanning process is phenomenal. The scanner places a point at the correct XYZ location at almost every millimeter of the space, giving what many call “Reality Capture.” This data shows the true state of warped, leaning, sagging, or twisted structures. On-site, much more information is collected than can be modeled in a short period of time. Once this data is collected, we can discuss what elements of the asset need to be documented in a BIM model or CAD drawing, allowing us to tailor the drawings to exactly what you need and when you need them. We can later use the data we already collected to create other drawings, such as Reflected Ceiling Plans.

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Virtual Site Visit

We will provide you with access to the collected data so that you can re-visit the areas that were surveyed. This technology acts like many online street-view tools that allow you to walk through the site and see the actual conditions of when the building was surveyed. If the data was collected when scanning, you will have access to laser-accurate dimension tools to help you evaluate the conditions of your asset remotely. Teams from all over the world can now collaborate on your project and visit the site virtually without ever having to step foot on the ground. This virtual walkthrough data is typically accessed through a free Windows PC-based software, but it can also be made available online to enable anyone to access this secure location from any web-enabled device.

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BIM Modeling\CAD Drawings\Other Platforms

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a term used for software like Autodesk Revit that allows users to not just model a project in 3D, but also allows them to document 2D data and other related information about that project. Autodesk Revit is an excellent tool for working on laser scan data for both large and small projects. It lets us accurately document the conditions of an asset based on the data captured in the field. Because the drawing is a manual process, our skilled technicians only model the scope of work required for your project to save you time, and money, and give you the best value. If other deliverables are required (such as CAD, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, Sketchup, or Rhino), we can easily export file formats from AutoDesk Revit to meet those needs. In special cases, we can even work within AutoCAD to meet stringent requirements for specific projects. Our scope of work is driven by your needs, and we constantly tailor our work to meet the requirements and budgets of our clients.

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BIM Custodian

Because of our expertise in the industry, we can assist building owners with managing the BIM files for their assets. This is to ensure that renovations are accurately documented in their BIM/Revit model, keeping them up to date. We can host large datasets and provide access to the project data for contractors, architects, engineers, and more. Once renovations are complete, we can document those changes and update the BIM model so that you always have the most accurate data at your fingertips.

Scaling Our Technology

To Meet Your Budget

Depending on your needs, this may start by first employing drone technology to get you accurate building envelope condition and information, accurate gross square footage, and building footprints. If the project is ready to move forward, we can continue by using our 3D laser scanners to more accurately document the exterior and interior of the asset as access allows. Finally, when the data has all been collected, you can review the laser scan data to see what elements are most important for you to have in the existing condition drawings. 

To Reduce Time On Site

We can reduce time on site by employing 3D Laser Scanners with SLAM technology, which speeds up the data collection process and allows us minimal time on site to collect large amounts of data.

To Increase Levelness of Data

We can provide highly accurate and leveled scan data for floor deformation maps and elevation information.

To Tie Into Survey Control

We can tie in our laser scan data to existing survey control to provide a greater level of accuracy and coordination between various consultants on a project.

To Deliver a Project in Phases

For most projects, we can deliver specific floor plans, square footage, and ceiling heights relatively early on in the project. To do so, you would let us know what areas are a high priority and we will adjust our schedule to get you those drawings first. After that, elevations, RCPs, and MEP documentation can be completed and delivered. Since we’ve already scanned the building, no additional site work will be required to add additional drawings to the project (as long as we have access to all the spaces required).

We frequently deliver projects in phases to allow teams to begin their work before the entire project is complete (as deadlines and project timelines are tight). In order to facilitate architects' work prior to demolition, we can scan a building and provide minimal core and shell drawings. Once the demo is complete, we will return to the site to capture the beam and column locations and deliver updates to the architect so they can further refine their work.

Leverage Our Expertise

Existing Conditions was created to deliver high-quality documentation more accurately, efficiently, and cost-effectively than anyone else in the market.

We have stayed true to our founding principles and continue to excel at leveraging reality capture technologies to deliver the most comprehensive building documentation.

Over the past 23 years, we have measured and documented an estimated 200 million square feet of space for architects, engineers, building owners, and real estate professionals and served clients and projects across the entire United States.

When you need existing conditions drawings of your valued asset, trust the experts at Existing Conditions. Let us be your eyes in the field so that you can devote your time to what you do best. We provide professionals with situational awareness and empower them with the confidence to make smart decisions based on accurate data. Leverage our experience, equipment, and expertise. For decades, we've helped professionals in the building industry implement solutions to the hardest problems they face.

Start Accurate. Stay Accurate. Click here to begin your capital project planning journey today.

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Philip Smith

Written by Philip Smith

Philip Smith is the VP of Product at Existing Conditions.