Designing within a labyrinth of building utilities often requires the precision of a race car driver. Unfortunately, most methods of assessing existing infrastructure conditions are somewhat imprecise. A lack of accurate data can create hassles for engineers trying to maneuver around obstacles within often-crowded spaces, which can lead to costly changes and delays during construction.
While providing design services to connect the chilled water distribution between two locations on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, OHM Advisors opted to employ new technologies to improve accuracy during design. Instead of using traditional field survey methods to depict conditions in an extremely congested underground utility tunnel, we utilized laser scanning technology to create a detailed 3D AutoCAD model.
The 3D model provided our team with the ability to verify interference and to design the new piping through “holes” in the existing piping. Although the project has yet to be constructed, a much lower installed cost is predicted as a result of employing this laser scanning technology. Not only did the verification process require far less time than traditional field verification methods, but far fewer changes are expected during construction. The technology can also be used for other non-building applications like modeling roadway corridors.