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NVision Inc.

Metrology

Laser Scanning Helps High-Tech Retailer Open New Store One Month Early

3D scanning exposes design issues that aren't visible in a 2D design print

Published: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 12:02

A popular high-tech retailer recently used NVision Inc.'s long-range scanning and measurement services to reduce by one full month the time and cost of expanding its business into a newly vacated space. The system is designed to scan large structures where precise manual measurements are difficult or even impossible.

The scans were used to create a computer-aided design (CAD) file that revealed numerous interferences contained within the proposed design for the vacant space. The retailer used the CAD file to revise its designs before construction began, thus avoiding costly and time-consuming midconstruction corrections.

When a retailer closes its brick-and-mortar store, it can provide a neighboring retailer with the opportunity to expand its own space, increasing its displays, inventory, customer services, and ultimately, sales. However, this opportunity invariably requires some redesign work and new construction on the part of the expanding retailer.

The high-tech retailer's store, part of a chain owned and operated by the parent company, was due to expand into a newly empty and adjacent space that had a completely different façade and interior layout. "We were tasked with measuring all existing exterior dimensions and elevations of the retailer's current store, along with the roof," says NVision president Steve Kersen. "To do this, we used our long-range scanning system, which provides accurate measurements and geospatial data about large structures and areas—essential information for a store expansion. Once the current store was scanned in detail, we provided a Revit file containing the measurement data to the construction contractor."


Long range scan of existing interior and exterior structure

The building contractor then went into both spaces and completely demolished all existing internal structures, shared walls, HVAC systems, and even the floors. When he was finished, the newly enlarged space was nothing but bricks and girders. Then the client demolished a portion of an exterior wall to gain more space and a large portion of the roof.

NVision engineers returned and once again scanned all existing structures. "After scanning, we processed the data into a CAD model and compared that model to the retailer's original design model created from 2D blueprints," says Kersen. "We did this because existing buildings can vary greatly from their 2D blueprints. For example, construction inconsistencies—designs that appear doable in a 2D design print but aren't actually possible in the real 3D world—are often discovered only after building begins. This can result in a significant loss of time and money while revisions are made to the design."

When NVision did the comparison, it discovered more than 800 areas of interference. As a result, the client was able to amend its design before construction began and actually opened one month earlier than anticipated.

The cost to do the scanning and modeling was less than one day's profit from the store's early open, and the net benefit to the parent company was a savings of several million dollars. Best of all, a vacant retail space is now home to a thriving store whose business continues to grow.

"Significant cost and time overruns can result from clashes between architectural designs and existing space and structures, seriously hindering the expansion of retail stores into adjacent floor space," says Kersen. "Long-range scanning and other conflict-detection technologies provide the solution for growing retailers seeking to avoid the interference and redesign issues that have so often plagued expansion projects in the past."

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About The Author

NVision Inc.’s picture

NVision Inc.

Established in 1990, NVision Inc. provides customers with the highest accuracy noncontact optical measurement systems and services for reverse engineering and inspection. Focusing its expertise on the aerospace, power generation, and oil/gas industries, NVision provides both contract scanning services and systems sales to companies throughout North America. Its team of engineers provides customers with an unmatchable level of experience and is able to advise and assist with the most difficult engineering challenges.