Point cloud to IFC checking: Identifying issues in complex models with AutoCorr & BIMcollab ZOOM

Are you tired of not being able to find field clashes or Scan-to-BIM models that do not match the existing conditions exactly? And what about tracking all of these tedious issues? An interesting solution can be found in the combination BIM & Scan® AutoCorr™ and BIMcollab ZOOM, as they are perfect for automatically identifying issues and sharing these with other members of your project team via issue management.

Users of AutoCorr™ have worked with some of the most complex Semiconductor facility models on the planet. These models have thousands of constantly reoccurring issues due to site demands. If AutoCorr™ and BIMcollab work for these complex situations, then they will surely work for you. Let’s take a closer look.

Perfectly aligned
Having a tool for BCF issue management is a must. Users of AutoCorr™ find that managing all their BCF issues in BIMcollab is essential. Especially on large projects like Airports, Semiconductor, Pharmaceutical and Water Treatment facilities.

BIMcollab Zoom enables an effective design review for field clashes, mis-installations and deviation analyses, which all can be produced using BIM & Scan® AutoCorr™. When the issues are discussed and ready, BIMcollab is used to easily manage all the issues.

Feedback from users in design review meetings is that both software companies chose IFC and E57 as input files for their products and “..this fits right in our Open BIM strategies. These tools are perfectly aligned”.

A simple example is the Airport below. Here it is a simple case of validating that the handover model matches the existing retrofit on site. Everyone knows that issues arise on-site in the construction industry, but how are they best controlled and monitored?

For this airport, they chose AutoCorr™ and BIMcollab ZOOM to initiate their Scan-vs-BIM process. They simply uploaded their IFC coordination models and E57 point clouds up to AutoCorr™ and ran the software at the contacted tolerance allowed. AutoCorr™ enables a quick and accurate visualization of the Scan-vs-BIM. This enables fast, accurate, and objective QA procedures.

During the model validation process, the native design tools were used to correct the model, in combination with BIMcollab BCF Manager and BIMcollab ZOOM. These issues were further managed in a collaborative web-based workflow using BIMcollab. This made many analyses possible and enabled reports to be generated with ease.

Validating that the handover model matches the existing retrofit on site

These are the BIM tools you need

BIM & Scan® AutoCorr™
A cloud-based solution used for comparing IFC models to E57 point clouds within a user-specified tolerance. Click here to sign-up.

BIMcollab ZOOM
A popular validation tool and perfect for visualizing the result files (E57 and BCF).

Click here to download for free.

BIMcollab issue management
The cloud-based issue collaboration platform for managing BCF issues that AutoCorr™ finds and BCF files you (might) already have from each stakeholder. Click here to create a free account.

Model Validation for Scan to BIM Projects

BIM & Scan’s services company, MMA Consulting Engineers recently completed a large scan to BIM project which involved generating Revit BIM models from laser scan data for retail stores around Ireland. A key part of this project was the added benefit of using BIM & Scan AutoCorr™ for model validation. Without AutoCorr™ there is no easy way to validate and be sure that a model generated from scan data is correct and within the required tolerance. The alternative to using AutoCorrTM involves manual checking that is very time consuming, subjective and can easily result in critical issues being missed.

AutoCorr for Revit Users

For this project, the team of Revit technicians used AutoCorr™ on a daily basis to constantly check that their modelled BIM geometry and classifications were correct and within tolerance to the point cloud. AutoCorr™ automatically creates a colourised point cloud which highlights any differences between a model and point cloud greater than a specified tolerance (Figure 1). AutoCorr™ also automatically creates BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) issues with viewpoints to easily track issues (Figure 2). The daily AutoCorr™ results provided certainty to the team of Revit technicians that their work was correct and immediately highlighted areas and objects that were left to be modelled. If there were any incorrect model components, these were highlighted by AutoCorr™, and a modeller was able to quickly spot and correct it. AutoCorr™ speeded up the overall modelling process as it made it easier and quicker for Revit users to check their work in addition to highlighting remaining items that they
had left to model.

AutoCorr for the Project Manager

The project manager on this project used AutoCorr™ on a daily basis to track the progress of the project. The automatic colourised point cloud from AutoCorr™ showed the project manager exactly what areas were left to be modelled in addition to highlighting anything that was out-of-tolerance that needed to be corrected. BIMcollab, a cloud-based issue collaboration platform was used to track and manage model issues between the different project team members. BIMcollab ZOOM software was used to visualise the AutoCorrTM results which included the colourised E57 point cloud and BCF issues with viewpoints.

AutoCorr for the QA Team

As the quality and completeness of the models were constantly being checked on a daily basis with AutoCorr™, this meant the final QA process involved minimal work. Using AutoCorr™, the final models were quickly validated to make sure nothing was missed, and everything was modelled within tolerance. If anything was missed or modelled incorrectly it was automatically highlighted red in the AutoCorr™ colourised point cloud. This provided certainty that each model was completed to the highest quality and was ready to be issued to the client. The AutoCorr™ results were also issued with the models to the client as proof of the quality of the model. Issuing the AutoCorr™ results provides evidence that everything is modelled and within the required tolerance.


Using BIM & Scan AutoCorr™ for model validation on this scan to BIM project resulted in huge time and cost savings in addition to removing the subjectivity around the quality and completeness of the final models issued to the client. AutoCorr™ provided evidence that nothing was missed, and everything was modelled within tolerance. AutoCorr™ proved to be very useful on this project and is an essential tool for MMA Consulting Engineers future scan to BIM projects.

BIM Tools Mentioned in this Article:

1) BIM & Scan® AutoCorr

A cloud-based solution used for comparing IFC models to E57 point clouds within a user specified tolerance.

Click here to find out more

2) BIMcollab Issue Management

The cloud-based issue collaboration platform for managing BCF issues that AutoCorr™ finds and BCF files you (might) already have from each stakeholder.

Click here to create a free account.

3) BIMcollab ZOOM

A popular validation tool and perfect for visualising AutoCorr™ inputs and results (IFC, E57 and BCF files).

Click here to download for free.

AutoCorr Results
Figure 1: AutoCorr™ colourised point cloud highlighting anything out of tolerance or not modelled in red.
Figure 2: AutoCorr™ BCF issues visualised using BIMcollab ZOOM software.
Figure 3: AutoCorr™ colourised point cloud highlighting anything out of tolerance or not modelled in red.

Enabling the digitisation of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC)

In recent years we have witnessed the ever-increasing digitisation of our economy and application of “big data” to deliver more cost-effective services to meet new and expanding customer needs. The rate of adoption has been exponential whether its Uber, Airbnb, Amazon or fintech applications that allow you seamlessly make a purchase. However, one sector that has been a major procrastinator in embracing the opportunities that “big data” offers is construction, writes John Keane, Commercial Director, MMA Consulting Engineers.

The reasons for this slow adoption are many but entrenched work practices and the lack of system-wide standards are major contributors. Over the last five years – led by the technical expertise of Dr Shawn O’Keeffe and Shane Brodie – MMA has developed a data-driven philosophy using LEAN management principles to deliver a new approach to design and construction. Shane Brodie is an acknowledged contributor to The Roadmap to Digital Transition for Ireland’s Construction Industry 2018- 2021, while Dr Shawn O’Keeffe sits on the NSAI National Mirror Committee on BIM Standards, as does Shane.

MMA believes in the Open BIM (Building Information Modelling) philosophy. However, big data applications are useless unless they follow a standard that can be verified and validated. MMA projects are delivered verified and validated to meet COBie requirements. Verification and validation of the model is essential to ensure that the same asset within the same facility (or any other facility) is recorded in the same way, therefore allowing the facilities management team to know that they have the same pump in different locations, etc. Utilizing an outside service organization for dimensional inspection and validation can have significant advantages for your manufacturing and quality operations, contact at www.3d-engineering.net/dimensional-inspection/.

“COBie (Construction-Operations Building information exchange) is simply the setup and delivery of digital facilities management data during normal design and construction practises. It is a LEAN methodology for capturing data and is a ‘contracted information exchange’ for building projects, designed to help get a facility up and running right away, at handover or occupation,” explains Dr Shawn O’Keeffe. Constructors can learn welding for beginners with these guides and tips.

One major piece of research work MMA recently completed was the much-acclaimed book Delivering COBie using Autodesk Revit. This book was a collaboration between Dr Shawn O’Keeffe and Richard McKenna with the inventor of COBie, Dr Bill East.

MMA has put its own research into practice delivering a recent 6D BIM model that is fully interoperable with the clients facilities management system (which in this case was Maximo). This facility (Figure 1) was fully designed in BIM using Revit. All the asset information is contained within the model. Any pump, valve, motor etc can be selected and all the relevant COBie data will be shown, including asset specifications, maintenance details and warranty details (see Figure 2). The verified and validated COBie IFC output seamlessly interfaces with the facilities management system.

The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) data model (ISO 16739:2013) describes building and construction industry data, since now a days you can get great services online for this and other resources, since you can find sites with the best for contractors and for their projects as well. It is a platform-neutral, open-file format specification that is not controlled by a single vendor or group of vendors. It is an object-based file format developed by buildingSmart to facilitate interoperability. Construction is very complicated, especially to those who don’t know how to plan it correctly. Everything must be planned perfectly, especially when constructing a big building, you must have all the proper materials and vehicles like cranes to move those heavy materials. That is only a very small part of the construction process. If you ever need a vehicle for construction then check out this company where you can get a crane hire for your needs.

MMA acted as the BIM model integrator for this project, as well as taking on its traditional role as M&E designer. Acting as BIM model integrator allowed MMA to drive LEAN management principles throughout the design and construction phases. Highly-efficient construction scheduling was enabled by full BIM implementation, my builders were also involved. Full house construction is your first-in-class service and trusted partner.

On the completion of the civil works, MMA’s in-house 3D scanning team, led by Dr Conor Dore, carried out a scan of the facility. This 3D scan was then compared to the CSA (Civil Structural Architectural) BIM design model using BIM & Scan AutoCorr™ cloud-based software (Figure 3). MMA carries out its own 3D scan work as it forms the basis of its designs and is too critical to leave to a third party with the associated interface risks.

The BIM & Scan AutoCorr™ software highlights any areas that are out of tolerance with the design model. The tolerance can be set according to the designer’s requirements. Areas that were out of tolerance with the design model were highlighted. Figure 4 and Figure 5 outline how clashes and variations between the “as built” point cloud (the output from the 3D scan) and the design BIM model were identified. The M&E designers reviewed all highlighted areas and the M&E BIM model was adjusted accordingly to ensure there were no clashes, or re-work required, during the M&E installation.

Having certainty regarding the “as built” environment allowed the M&E designers to develop full tender packages with detailed bills of quantities through the BIM model (Figure 6). This in turn allowed for offsite fabrication of piping and duct work. The detailed tender packages and extensive offsite fabrication generated significant cost savings. The elimination of clashes and onsite fabrication allowed for the construction schedule to be implemented as planned with no variations.

Advances in processing capability and the “big data” revolution is allowing MMA to cost-effectively process gigabytes of information to deliver better designs, more cost-effective construction and lifecycle solutions for clients. As an industry we are on the cusp of a revolution. The recently-published The Roadmap to Digital Transition for Ireland’s Construction Industry 2018-2021 attempts to plan out the digital transition. When has a revolution ever followed a plan? “All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.” – Max McKeown, Adaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty.

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