ZS Solutions


Innovation During the Pandemic: How 3D Laser Scanning and UAV / Drone Technology Can Be Employed for Architects, Contractors, and Facility Managers

Posted by: ZS on April 17, 2020

Innovation During the Pandemic: How 3D Laser Scanning and UAV / Drone Technology Can Be Employed for Architects, Contractors, and Facility Managers

During these challenging times we are faced with finding new ways of accomplishing our responsibilities while working remotely and practicing social distancing guidelines as recommended by the CDC. For the architecture and engineering community working on existing facilities this often means sending teams of professionals into the field to take measurements and photograph existing conditions. By employing 3D laser scanning technology, this work can be completed by sending a single technician into the field thus minimizing social interaction. Once collected, the resulting data can be used to perform virtual site visits from your computer thus eliminating the need for return visits and enabling design activities to commence through stay-in-place orders.

 Figure 1: 3D Laser Scan of Office Floor Permits Virtual Site Visits by Simply Clicking on Mirror Bubble


3D laser scanning is especially beneficial for facility managers in education, institutional, and health care facilities requiring upgrades to mechanical spaces while minimizing visitors. Facility managers can have their spaces laser scanned and provide the resulting data to contractors. The contractors can then utilize the point cloud for Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and detail the new equipment upgrades to fit within a fraction of an inch saving installation time/cost and minimizing field visits.

Figure 2: Example Mechanical Space Design Resulting from 3D Laser Scanning Data


In addition to laser scanning, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) otherwise known as drone technology, enables inspections and documentation of building exteriors all while never entering the facility. Facility managers can therefore inspect roof leaks, clogged drains, and window issues remotely using both high resolution imagery and a recorded video of the flight. For architects and contractors, an as-built photomosaic roof plan can be developed documenting all existing equipment, roof areas, and building maintenance equipment for example.

Figure 3: Building Inspection and Documentation Utilizing Remote UAV Technology


ZS is a specialty architectural engineering firm headquartered in Milwaukee, WI with additional offices located in Chicago, Denver, and Raleigh-Durham. Our certified and licensed professionals have extensive experience performing both laser scanning and UAV /drone surveying of commercial buildings, industrial facilities, construction sites, health facilities, and educational institutions.

If you are interested in a customized web presentation or would like to know more about how ZS can help you on your next project, please contact Ryan Larson (rlarson@zsllc-us.com) or call ZS offices at +1 (414) 727-5000, and visit our website at www.zsllc-us.com.