Visualisation of floor flatness ... the colours indicate whether the deviations (labelled in mm) are within certain tolerances.

Visualisation of floor flatness ... the colours indicate whether the deviations (labelled in mm) are within certain tolerances.

BuildIT raises bar on flatness analysis

US-based Faro has further enhanced the capabilities of its BuildIT Construction software to support levelness and flatness analyses.

May 2020

Faro, a trusted source for 3D measurement and imaging solutions, has released the latest version of BuildIT Construction which enables analyses of flatness and levelness in construction virtually when work is in progress, thus taking quality control to greater heights.

Described as the first fully-integrated building lifecycle quality control (QC) management tool, the software empowers construction professionals to continuously evaluate projects by real-time comparing CAD and building information modelling (BIM) designs with reality 3D scan data.

Some of the major improvements of the new version are the support of levelness and flatness analyses according to TR34/DIN EN 15620 or DIN18202 and the support of both American and metric units for analysis according to ASTM E1155.


Fresh concrete floors

“All over the world, analyses are required when pouring concrete floors and ceilings to prove that the work has been carried out correctly,” says Udo Haedicke, Product Manager for BuildIT with Faro. “The protocols supported by BuildIT Construction are used not only in the countries where they are originated but in most countries around the world.”

Quick detection of areas beyond tolerances, indicated by the value and highlighted in red, using scans on site.

Quick detection of areas beyond tolerances, indicated by the value and highlighted in red, using scans on site.

When inspecting small areas, it is possible to measure the fresh concrete for flatness and levelness using walkable auxiliary structures that bridge the fresh area. The process is time-consuming as many individual points must be measured manually after a grid has been defined.

This, however, would be virtually impossible when casting several hundreds or even thousands of square metres of industrial floors for factories and warehouses. Until now, these areas could only be measured when the concrete was walkable. For this purpose, the surface is divided into a grid and the corresponding points are measured with total stations and prisms. Other methods include the use of a spirit level and measuring wedge or walking down the grid with a measuring device that is pulled on wheels behind the person measuring. The procedures are time-consuming and error-prone, they only record grids or individual points, and the documentation and preparation of the reports is also laborious. “What’s worse, however, is that measurements can only be taken when the concrete is cured – far too late for corrections. Rework becomes expensive and time-consuming – if possible at all,” Haedicke says.

This is now possible using a 3D laser scanner with the analysis software BuildIT Construction.

“You pour a concrete surface and a few minutes later you have recorded the surface in all details to the exact millimetre – without touching it. Then you get a visualisation of the levelness, the inclination, the deviation from your construction model, etc. It enables the contractors to fix the fresh concrete until everything is perfect,” remarks Haedicke.

“The documentation and the corresponding protocol are created on the site,” he adds.

BuildIT Construction can process data from all common 3D scanners, but also point clouds from other sources like mobile mapping systems, drones or photogrammetrically generated point clouds. 

The freshly poured concrete surface is captured by a 3D scanner like the Faro Focus, which sends the data to a laptop or tablet. The measurement and analysis process take only a few minutes. The range of the device is 70 to 350 m, depending on the model. This means that large areas can be recorded, also from various scanner locations.

BuildIT Construction analyses the data according to the selected standard and the results can be visualised in different ways – as coloured areas, as sections, by labels with the measurement and analysis values, as outlines or also by diagrams. As the process only takes a few minutes, the measurement and analysis can be carried out again immediately after fixing the issue, and the scans can be evaluated and be compared.

“In the prefabrication of concrete components, BuildIT Construction controls also a laser projector like the TracerSI to display assembly points and geometric objects such as embeds and openings. It can also mark areas that deviate from the CAD model,” says Haedicke. “At the 2019 Autodesk University in Las Vegas, we presented a prototype of a small mobile projector with the same functionalities. Final customer validations on their construction sites clearly show the immediate need for such a projector. They are eagerly waiting to embed the solution in their workflows to visualise deviations to wet concrete.”


Enormous savings 

The use of this workflow provides certainty during construction and saves reworking, which can be enormously expensive for large areas. Whereas larger tolerances can be corrected or tolerated when building small areas in private homes, they have a major impact on the entire construction when casting large floors of apartment blocks and office buildings, Haedicke emphasises.

“Huge concrete surfaces of factory and warehouse floors have to meet high demands. The assembly of high racks and machinery, which must stand horizontal over long distances, requires plain and level surfaces. Unevenness would cause forklift trucks, which move loads at great heights, to swing and inclinations would make trolleys and goods roll more easily. The Faro workflow accompanying the construction not only provides documented reliability but also saves expensive repairs,” he points out.

On the other hand, BuildIT helps to keep specified slopes, for example, to ensure the drainage of water, or to maintain and repair old floors. Here, too, the levelness analysis detects reliably the areas where the floors have deformed or moved.


Universally applicable

Flatness analysis is only a small part of the BuildIT Construction functionality. BuildIT is universally used for construction supervision. The software not only evaluates point clouds according to various criteria, it is also frequently used to compare CAD and BIM models with reality data or to compare point clouds with each other.

Fields of application are not only quality control during construction, but also the monitoring of buildings, industrial plants, tanks and infrastructure as well as use during the modification of existing buildings and plants. For these purposes, BuildIT Construction has numerous special functions, such as the analysis of steel structures, piping systems and tanks, which makes using the software highly profitable in all architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

The results of analysis reports can be shared worldwide as coloured 3D point clouds with all relevant stakeholders leveraging Faro’s cloud service Scene WebShare Cloud.  

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