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Laser Scanning Solves Piping Problems

From the FARO 3D Blog

Rodney Roebuck, CEO of Roebuck Contracting, has been in the industry for 27 years and got his start in the HVAC and piping industry. In that time, he’s seen numerous innovations come to light — including building automation, CAD, and BIM — and more traditional methods of work fall by the wayside.

Roebuck Contracting’s most recent project is the installation of an air-cooled chiller and the replacement of several 20-year-old air handling units and pad-mounted condensers at a training facility campus just outside of Atlanta. Made up of numerous buildings, the campus already has one building being serviced by an air-cooled chiller.

The goal of the new chiller installation is to configure the pipe and valve arrangements so as to offer a level of redundancy to the existing air-cooled machine, as well as replace the low SEER-rated equipment with a higher efficiency method of cooling two other buildings.

Roebuck was directed to design the chilled water system and route the piping in the most economical and aesthetically-pleasing way possible. However, Roebuck’s client for the project didn’t have an accurate up-to-date set of drawings for the two buildings.

That’s when the FARO FocusM 70 Laser Scanner came into play.
“The scanner has been used as the first boots-on-the-ground for this modeling project,” Roebuck says. “The inside and outside of the buildings have been scanned, including ceiling plenums. The processing and registration of the scans have been completed, and the Autodesk® ReCapTM; file is linked into the Revit® project.”

Roebuck used the PointSense software to create the topography for the Revit® Site Plan. He then moves the point cloud to match elevations if he didn’t scan with the GPS on. Once the elevation is correct, other levels such as tops of walls, slab heights, and roofs are set, and he then rotates the cloud to the “Project North” that he wants to draw in. After enough PointSense Construction Points are created to suit the project, he lets PointSense build the topography with its Topo Surface command.

One of the biggest challenges of the project was the routing of chilled water lines from where the new chiller was located to the new chilled water air handlers, which were located just a few hundred feet away.

Roebuck’s initial discussions with his customer had the piping going through the plenums of both buildings to be served by the chiller. However, once the site was scanned and the plenum spaces were assessed, they realized that the piping would have to run externally to the building. The biggest problem being that there were I-beams and ducts that would have made the pipe runs both difficult and expensive.

Not only did the laser scanner help provide the necessary steps to get the piping supports built, but it also cut down the time needed to complete the project. “The data acquired through the use of the laser scanner improved our modeling accuracy and efficiency and saved weeks of labor in field measuring time. All of the scanning necessary to model the project took about 20 hours” he says.

To read more click here.

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