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In our previous post, we explored the importance and drawbacks of as-builts, and suggested the use of Reality Capture to document as-built conditions. Today’s post profiles a recent project by Stiles Corporation, who used Reality Capture to cost-effectively create an as-built for project coordination.

Stiles Corporation

Stiles Corporation is a full-service commercial real estate firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. With more than 60 years of industry experience, Stiles services include development, construction, tenant improvement, realty, property management, architecture, acquisitions, and financing. The firm has been using Autodesk BIM solutions—including Autodesk® Navisworks® and the Autodesk® Revit® platform—for many years and began using Autodesk® ReCap™ when it was first introduced as a technology preview on Autodesk Labs.

The firm is part of a joint venture contracting team involved in the expansion and renovation of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, a large multi-venue theater and entertainment complex located in Fort Lauderdale. This multi-phase capital project featured the addition of a waterfront pavilion and an education wing, the renovation of the center’s existing performance venue, and major infrastructure upgrades to support the expansion, including the air conditioning system. As a part of that effort, Stiles used Reality Capture to coordinate the installation of a new 8.5-ton chiller.

The center’s mechanical room is located in the basement of the facility, and the new chiller is positioned between two other chillers with no straight-line egress from the room. In addition, the room is accessed through 8-by-8-foot service corridors with two smaller doorways. This tight configuration presented significant installation challenges. To complicate matters further, the work needed to be completed in just five days—during the downtime of a very full performance schedule.

The chiller was clearly too large to fit through the doorways and into mechanical room. The manufacturer’s warranty only allowed the disassembly of the chiller’s two tubes. But one of the tubes had the chiller motor attached to it, contributing to its height and raising concerns as to whether it could actually fit down the hallway and through several doors. Stiles used scanned reality data of the facility’s existing mechanical room and the access hallway, combined with a digital design model of the chiller, to perform 4D clash detection and carefully plan the movement of the new unit.

The firm began by laser scanning the mechanical room and service corridors, and using ReCap to process the point clouds. Stiles used those point clouds in Revit as a backdrop to model some key existing features of the facility such as the concrete structural walls of the hallway, the floor slab, and two columns in the chiller room that could not be moved. The chiller manufacturer also provided a Revit family library for the unit, which Stiles virtually disassembled into two pieces. The result was an as-built model that combined reality data with modeled representations of some critical components.

Next, Stiles imported this as-built model to Navisworks and virtually ‘walked’ the larger chiller tube through the facility—performing 4D clash detection to determine the extent of demolition required. The clash detection uncovered several low-hanging ducts and pipes in the hallway that could be easily removed and restored, as well as issues with a doorway that could be cut open and made larger. Unfortunately, it also revealed a very serious problem: another interference with a doorway through a 12-inch-thick load bearing concrete wall.

BCPA access hallway - as-built

Stiles Corporation used Reality Capture to capture existing conditions during the renovation of a performing arts center. To limit the center’s downtime, the firm used scanned reality data of the facility’s existing mechanical room and the access hallway (above), combined with a digital design model of the chiller (below), to perform 4D clash detection and carefully plan the movement of the new unit.  Images courtesy of Stiles Corporation.

BCPA 4D clash scanning

The precision of the as-built conditions and the results of the virtual 4D clash detection helped the team convince the manufacturer that moving the chiller into place, even in two pieces, was impossible. The manufacturer allowed them to disassemble the chiller into three pieces by detaching the motor, without voiding the warranty. Stiles also shared this as-built data with the mechanical contractor, who used it to plan the structural supports needed to place the unit and prefabricate the connecting piping.

With the help of Reality Computing, Stiles needed only 3 days to complete the replacement: one day to remove the old chiller, a second day to move the new chiller into place, and a third day to install the prefabricated piping and connections. The firm calculated a 700 percent ROI for its use of Reality Capture on this project. The figure is based on the money budgeted for demolition, offset by the cost of the laser scanning and the time spent for 4D modeling and clash detection.

With numbers like this, Stiles (as part of another joint venture) is now using Reality Capture for the interior renovation of a hotel. On one of the floors, all the guest rooms are being converted to suites, and all the windows are being replaced. Stiles has only 11 weeks to complete the project, from demolition to handover, with little time to spare for field changes. Once the demolition is complete, the firm will use laser scanning to capture the existing conditions of the structure, and combine the point cloud with a design model of the new interiors to check for conflicts and quickly adjust the plan if need be. In addition, Stiles is considering purchasing its own laser scanning equipment to document as-built conditions during construction more easily.

In our next post, we’ll explore how McCarthy Building Companies used Reality Capture to create as-builts for a new Kaiser Permanente medical complex in Oakland, California.

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