3D Modeling BIM Laser Scanning Markets Technology

3D BIM – What is the Real Adoption Rate?

The 3D laser scanning industry has certainly demonstrated that they have the technology to deliver an as-built 3D BIM. The question is – “Are the building owners willing to pay for it?

From a blog post in November 2018.

Slide for 3D BIM


I had a chance to speak with some knowledgeable people in the Boston commercial real estate market a few months ago. One was with a national real estate firm and the other with a large consulting engineering firm with over 1400 employees.

This was not at a 3D laser scanning event. These people had over 30 years of experience. They had no vested interest in 3D laser scanning, but were familiar with it.

I asked them about the willingness to invest in 3D laser scanning the as-built structure, HVAC, MEP and more before the interior finish is applied and everything is covered up. The answer from both experts was not encouraging.

They said that the owners/developers were not interested in having this work done and that, in fact, all of the facilities management that they were involved with was still being done with 2D CAD and/or facilities management software. OUCH!

The one major group that is the exception to this is  the long term building owner, such as government, hospitals and higher education. If they are the driver of the full project lifecycle then there is an interest in lowering the cost of long term operations and maintenance.

So what is it going to take to convince the vast majority of commercial building owners to make the investment in 3D BIM? That is a question that remains unanswered. The Built World industry remains very fragmented and dynamic. Perhaps the LEED model could be applied to make a building with a 3D BIM more valuable, but that is going to take some long term thinking and education of the industry.

What do you think?

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  • I would suggest that the market adoption rate of scanning to create 3d as-builts is 10% or less. I would also clarify that 3d laser scanning is being used to create 2d deliverables on a regular basis…many times without an owners knowledge.

  • After working in the 3D Reverse Engineering disciplines for over 15 years now, I’ve found that the construction, housing, and real estate industries in general to be incredibly reluctant, almost recalcitrant, to the adoption and use of 3D Scanning / 3D Modeling / 3D Printing technologies. The only exception seems to be the GIS sector. I would have thought that AR/VR would have been of major interest if anything, but it’s only made small inroads. For an industry that is all about 3D spaces they are stuck in a 2D reality of the last century.

  • Strangely, I experience that it is not even a problem of cost. As a city land surveyor in Switzerland, we offer free 3d scan for public infrastructure. Many peoples don’t even consider this option when they want final products. It basically a problem of knowledge and we might need to find a way to “teach” how those new possibilities can help other branchs of the industry.

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