By: Daniel Bachinski

As a project engineer on the Structural Team at Pearl Engineering, I’ve had the privilege to be trained with the Faro 3D Laser Scanner. The 3D scanner is something that has become an integral part of our workflow at Pearl Engineering across all our respective disciplines. In some respects, it provides a “safety net” when collecting geometrical data in the field that can be otherwise missed.

Although the 3D scanner aids me while I’m working on design projects, it shows its power particularly well when working on condition assessment projects. The condition assessments I work on can be anything from concrete slabs to 300-foot-tall boiler stacks and everything in between. In my opinion, the most important aspect of doing a condition assessment for a client is how the information is presented and conveyed to the client. To do this the information and analysis data that is collected during the project must be organized into a clear and concise report that is visually pleasing and not overwhelming, especially if the client does not have an engineering background.

This is where the 3D laser scanner is so invaluable. The scanner allows us to capture very accurate high-resolution 3D images that can be easily annotated with modeling software. In an assessment for a structural element that covers a large area such as a concrete slab or CMU wall, this feature can be especially useful in visually documenting things like the geometry of the element, magnitude of deterioration, and areas of concern. We can also use the scan data to precisely measure and document specific criteria such as crack size, crack propagating, element deflection, settlement, and element deterioration. We use this data to create baseline values to monitor elements such as smokestacks, CMU walls, tank foundations, and buildings. This provides us with more of an insight into the actual behavior of the structural element verse just going on theory alone, which in turn makes it easier as structural engineers to make the best possible decisions regarding repair and remediation.

Another advantage of using the scanner in assessments is the ease of creating an accurate model of the structural element being evaluated.  Often existing drawings are not readily available and may not exist at all. A lot of the time clients are expecting recommendations on repair or remediation options. With the accuracy of the scan data, we can efficiently create a model and provide concept repair details in a timely fashion.

The scanner makes performing and documenting a condition assessment a breeze relative to the antiquated way of using a ruler, plumb bob, and a camera. It provides powerful and efficient tools to guarantee the best product and engineering service for the client.

Want to learn more? Watch our recent webinar and discussion on Pearl Engineering’s 3D scanning capabilities for condition assessments and other projects.