One of the most impressive stories to tell is how it’s possible to design and fabricate a highly complex piece of equipment and then install it into an environment already loaded with existing machinery (with a maze of utilities running every which way) without ever once using a tape measure. When you work exclusively in 3D, this is not just a story, it is simply how business is done. Using the power of 3D validation services to develop a highly accurate 3D model of the existing environment creates a background into which new equipment will be designed. This process can happen in just days, whereas the ‘old school’ method of documenting as-built project conditions may have taken weeks or months with surveying equipment and tape measures. 3D scanners collect data at a rate of 900,000 points per second and create a highly accurate 3D building scan of the existing environment that is used as a background as-built model into which new equipment will be designed. Once the background is in place, designing in 3D within that space puts all the physical constraints clearly in plain sight.
Whether as-built drawings are needed for insurance purposes, to fulfill legal requirements for the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) or for planning a major expansion and retrofit, it is important to ensure that they are accurate and readily available. With the realities of daily O&M requirements over years of operation coupled with traditional as-built recordkeeping, it is not uncommon to have as-built drawings that are outdated and incorrect. This is not only a liability for reporting, outdated or incorrect as-built drawings can significantly drive up unplanned costs for a project and drastically increase vendor bids. Millimeter accurate laser scanning ‘reality capture’ hardware can record as-built project conditions in a series of scans.
Even if accurate and up-to-date drawings exist for equipment retrofits and system updates, getting a clear understanding of a plant through decades of 2D as-built drawings is a skill possessed by few. When a new retrofit project or safety evaluation needs to be undertaken, everyone in the team has to be able to see and understand key data points about plant equipment, operations, workflows and clearances. Reality capture helps teams make decisions by ensuring that everyone is on the same page at the same time when it comes to the as-built project conditions.