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27 December 2022
Shalini John

Are As-fitted Models from Point Cloud Surveys Useful for Facilities Management?

Longevity requires adaptation skills. The longevity of a building depends on adapting to new circumstances and maintaining health, something that facilities management takes care of. Point cloud surveys result in 3D models, which are then developed into as-fitted models to accurately represent building services and other details after construction. These as-fitted models are created from point clouds after installation of building services systems, making them as accurate as possible. So, facilities management, which involves several parameters, will certainly benefit more from as-fitted point cloud models as compared to coordinated models created during the design process.

For the uninitiated, what are as-built or as-fitted drawings?

Contractors develop as-built drawings as a record of any changes to the design developed during the pre-construction stages. These changes may have resulted due to last-minute decisions, modifications, financial or time constraints, local politics, changes in zoning laws or the whims and fancies of the building owner.

Surveying buildings conventionally and developing 2D plans can result in errors and take time. Conventional-style plans can be misplaced, lost or destroyed, so that construction documents, as-built drawings and other paperwork will need to be re-created. These challenges can be avoided by creating as-fitted point cloud models.

What is the general procedure?

  • During renovation, 3D laser scans of the building are taken to register non-parametric geometries.
  • Architects, engineers, contractors and surveyors utilise BIM tools to convert the scanned data to 3D models.
  • These 3D models help integrate building details from a point cloud, which can then be used within a BIM environment.

Who creates as-built models and how do they do it?

Skilled BIM experts create accurate as-built models based on the record drawings created by the architect and as-built drawings provided by the contractor by:

  • Generating accurate point cloud scans
  • Capturing a minimum of five scattered ground control points for software references and greater accuracy.
  • Bringing together multiple scans to create a single point cloud file
  • Converting point clouds to as-built models

As-built models are used to create as-built drawings, which last through a building’s lifecycle. How and why are as-built 2D drawings created?

  • As-built drawings can include architectural or topographical surveys and may include site area, dimensions, contours, elevations, etc.
  • Point clouds are imported into CAD software, such as AutoCAD, to create drawings.
  • Drawings are traced, carefully studied and navigated before being finalised.
  • As-fitted drawings are required for building health and safety or operations and maintenance.

When we speak of the health and safety of a building’s operations, what are the parameters of facilities management?

  • Maintenance: The facilities management team plans and carries out maintenance for all building assets and deals with any unplanned work.
  • Assets: Facilities management teams are responsible for the lifecycle, installation, training to manage, maintenance and repairs of all building assets. They must work with senior management to decide when and how assets are replaced.
  • Building systems: Facilities management includes the management and maintenance of fire systems, security systems, HVAC systems and elevators.

Hard facilities management services deal with space and infrastructure. It includes:

  • Plumbing systems – bringing water and removing wastewater from a building; quickly and efficiently replacing pipes and fixtures, so that blockages are eliminated and sufficient water pressure is maintained
  • Lighting and HVAC systems – repairing, replacing and managing lighting, cooling and heating fixtures for cost and energy savings, comfort, and functionality
  • Fire safety compliance – regularly servicing and checking fire safety systems for compliance issues by facilities management teams
  • Mechanical & electrical systems – maintaining, ensuring the safety and smooth functioning of electrical systems, elevators and water pumps
  • Structural maintenance – identifying, classifying and managing structural problems due to wind, sun, salt and extreme temperature changes

Soft facilities management includes space planning and management. When the building expands to a new floor, adds new assets that take up space or remodels existing space, the facilities management team organises the space for comfort, safety and functionality. It also involves building security and control of building temperature, noise and visual attractiveness.

Now, how do as-fitted drawings fit into the facilities management world?

As can be seen above, facilities management involves several sub-categories that must be kept in full working condition and perform at optimum levels till the end of the building’s lifecycle. Among the many aspects of facilities management that as-fitted models and drawings can help with, here are a few:

  • Under-floor cabling in office buildings can be complex and unpredictable without record drawings and accurate as-fitted drawings, as previous tenants cut off or retain old cables while installing new systems.
  • Facilities management teams possess updated as-fitted drawings to avoid future surveys in case of modifications.
  • BIM as-fitted models can be updated to show design changes and are then handed over to the facilities management team, who can update it when required.
  • Building owners can use record drawings, as-built models and drawings for lease area audits, facility management and asset tracking.

High-quality as-fitted drawing services can bridge the gap between design process models and as-fitted point cloud models for the smooth running of facilities management operations. Increasingly, Western firms are looking eastward for experienced, accurate and expert as-built drafting services.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing as-fitted drawing services for general contractors and consultants. Our range of services for consultants and manufacturers across the world include providing coordinated models, design process models, record drawings, as-built drafting and as-fitted point cloud services. We create these models and drawings by using Revit, AutoCAD and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration.