Reduce risk with 3D laser survey

How a 3D laser survey generates project efficiencies

I am sure that you would agree, there is always room in a projects delivery for making a saving.  Of course delivering a project under budget or ahead of schedule is always rewarding and provides a sense of achievement, but nobody could argue that reducing risk and completing a project safer was any less important.  

So when completing a recent 3D laser survey and reviewing the specifications requested by our client.  I was looking at the connection of an exhaust to a chimney located approx 10m above the ground and I couldn’t help but notice how this scenario embodies PointSCAN’s ethos to provide a SAFER, FASTER and BETTER way to acquire on-site measurement data. 

Reduce risk of working at heights


Scaffolding was being erected by another contractor on the  adjacent chimney stacks, presumably to complete some remedial or maintenance works.

35%* of all fatal injuries in the workplace  in 2017-2018 can be attributed to falls from heights. It goes without question  the easiest way to reduce the risk is to eliminate it, therefore by acquiring the measurement data safely from ground level 3D laser scanning eliminates the risk at this stage of the project.

Even mobile access equipment would have increased the overall risk although due to access restrictions these were not possible on this site.

On this occasion our client was utilising the 3D laser survey to obtain accurate on-site measurement information and to reference the point cloud model and panoramic images as a planning tool.  However virtual access to the site is available to all members of the team especially those who may not have sufficient authorisations and training certification to access these areas.


Throughout the day contractors erected the scaffolding around the labyrinth of pipes, tanks and steel structures.  As a working platform this probably provided best access for the required tasks to be undertaken.

However, had scaffolding just been erected to allow access for survey purposes, it would have possibly added 2-3 days to the overall process. More importantly it would increase project costs and possibly obscured the ability to obtain suitable measurements.  The fact was that 3 of 4 laser scans were completed within a matter of minutes and within a  couple of hours millions of data points were acquired from the remainder of the site.

The accuracy of the acquired data was within a 2mm tollerance and the added visual data made accessible through the point cloud or planar views a single 3D laser survey  allows designers to view sites from multiple angles and obtain measurements information reducing the need for further site visits.  As a result greater confidence can be gained from a design resulting in a faster decision making process and ultimately reducing your design programme. 



Planar view
power station stack
3D Point Cloud


So the 3D laser survey has proven to offer a safer and faster solution to acquiring on-site measurement data whilst at the same time creating visual imagery that can be interogated.

One critical piece of information required by the clients design is what angle the flange comes off the stack at?

Given that there is little of no suitable point to reference from a few degrees off at this point could have major repercussions later in the project.

One of the most satisfying benefits of acquiring 3D laser scan data is the ability to measure from any point.  Even a point suspended in space, so calculations and measurements can be obtained even though they may not have been fully accessible on site.  

How many times have you reviewed site photographs only to find the specific detail is just out of shot? Now a 3D laser survey allows your team to safely walk around the site in virtual reality without having to leave their office. 

Point clouds can be incorporated into presentations and 3D simulations and shared digitally throughout the team.

Further more our client still has the opportunity to have the point cloud converted into a 3D CAD model so that they can use for more detailed design and fabrication drawings as their project progresses. 


If you are looking to make savings on your project wouldn’t you look to do it #SaferFasterBetter ?

  • #SAFER , reduced on-site risk, virtual access given to your entire team, minimise revisits
  • #FASTER survey times reduced, increased data optimises design duration and  reduced programme costs, minimised disruption to working site.
  • #BETTER improved survey data collection, additional 3D visual model, eliminate temporary access for survey,   multiple uses for digital data, increase design confidence and client satisfaction. 

Find out how PointSCAN can create efficiencies on your upcoming projects contact us at the link below or leave a comment.and make your upcoming project #SaferFasterBetter 


*Health & Safety Executive –