News and Information

JBD Group News including: Steel, Concrete Panel, Timber Detailing and Laser Scanning Industry news

Real world dimensions, real time value gains

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Steel Australia Magazine | December 2016


Real world dimensions, real time value gains


The proprietor of ASI steel detailer, JBD Steel Detailing’s JOE BIGGS beams in on how his practice’s early adoption of advanced 3D scanning has streamlined its processing of digital design work and reduced project cost, time and risk.

Clients have been blown away by the speed and accuracy of our 3D system, something I developed to take the risk out of renovations and extensions. This end-to-end 3D workflow conducts a 3D laser scan of the existing site, creates a 3D model of the new structure and provides a 3D laser setout of all new fixings and associated works.

Clients report cost savings on even the most basic projects. In fact, we’ve had no negative feedback. Scanning simply requires a cost shift along the supply chain. Builders and fabricators are absorbing the scanning fees because they are receiving a significant overall project cost saving, reporting savings of 5:1 in redesign, rework, rigging and site time.

Renovations are difficult for many reasons, including a lack of dimensional information, limited site access, existing business operations and tight timeframes. Too often we receive data from builders, surveyors or onsite measures that contain errors or omissions and cause mistakes that cost us and our customers money.

Even though detailers have used digital technology for 20 years and steel suppliers have used it for about 12 years, other trades are still measuring by hand onsite and that’s where we see many errors and omissions made. Tape measuring assumes so many things that simply are not correct, like walls being plumb or at 90 degree angles to each other, which they rarely are.

Digital scanning by comparison is remarkably accurate. We can scan to an accuracy of 2mm from just 15 metres away and we only need to go onsite once. The scan data is compatible with our detailing software which in turn is compatible with CNC and other automated plant equipment and so the process is seamless. The 3D system has reduced the fundamental risk of errors in those measurements and we now find projects are consistently correct the first time.

We first came across the technology two years ago on a project for a limestone cave walkway replacement where some 3D scanning had been used. The quality of those scans was poor and we couldn’t use them. However, we saw potential in the data and that drove us to learn all we could. Once we saw the way in which scanning enables us to get the ‘as-built’ 3D dimensions detailers require, we were sold.

The 3D system means issues are highlighted long before steel, cranes and personnel arrive onsite. We can now assess if a wall is in fact flat and plumb and modify our steel to fit before it is made. We can easily identify clashes, such as a new steel element against an electrical conduit fixed metres above and move it well before works commence onsite.

The detailed 3D dimensions also offer both the detailer and the contractor more security when things onsite are found not to be built as designed. Our customers report this back-up is invaluable.

We’ve used our scanning capability on over 30 projects so far, the largest being a six storey office refit. It was invaluable to scan all the site information of the half century old building. We completed this with zero safety issues, no access equipment required and provided our information to other trades. For example, our scanning allowed the façade contractor to assess what part of the old existing structure protruded the most and subsequently how to set-out hundreds of brackets without having to go onsite. This process saved several weeks of work and we did this all from the safety of the sidewalk outside the site.

In terms of adopting the technology, it is important to understand that not all scans are created equal. 3D scanning is a tool and not a ‘set and forget’ service. Every project we undertake is unique and requires a unique solution. It is therefore critical that the technology be in the hands of a skilled professional who understands what scans to take and why.

While the initial startup is fairly easy to adopt, the learning curve is steep and the training is continuous as this technology advances. We invested a substantial amount in equipment, software, training and development over the two years to be able to offer this level of service. We are pleased it now provides so much benefit to our clients and our business.


JBD Group
Level 2/84 Sandalwood Lane, Forest Glen QLD 4556

Phone: (07) 5456 1211