Company Spotlight: RGL Surveys Ltd

Company Spotlight - RGL Surveys

Company Spotlight does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. Learn all about the history, BIM journey and latest Building Information Modelling developments of some of the industry’s most-recognisable names.

In the spotlight this week is RGL Surveys Ltd, a Land & Measured Building Surveying company based in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. They are actively and efficiently utilising point clouds to create as-existing Building Information Models for a vast array of clients. Learn more about the business below.

RGL Surveys Ltd is an efficient, personable and professional group of land and measured building surveyors. Working from their base in the South East of England with architects, developers and private clients, they provide highly accurate and detailed survey information, for a variety of redevelopment projects including One Hyde Park, The London Aquarium and Lords Cricket Ground.

RGL use the latest cutting edge technology to deliver the highest quality surveys and we continually develop and invest in new techniques and equipment to ensure a quality and consistent service is always provided to their loyal client base.

They work with architects and developers, who all require accurate plans of the project they are about to work on, to enable their design to fit within the size and shape of the plot or building. So we provide them with an accurate model to work with from the outset.

Primarily concerned with the acquisition, interpretation, and presentation of spatial data, real world features are measured, using a variety of techniques, and then processed to provide survey drawings or information for a range of different purposes.

Historically, the firm has captured survey information in the field in 3D. Measured building surveys including elevations as a wire frame would be flattened and incorporated in to the floor plan drawings to deliver 2D plans to the client. Many new build projects will have some sort of BIM model and include collaboration between consultants, but new builds only make up a small fraction of construction work. Refurbishments and new fit out are far more common, and this is where accurate plans and elevations have been required. The 2D plans, elevations and sections of the building, would be read together to understand the size and shape of a building.

More recently however RGL’s clients have been asking for more sophisticated 3D measured survey information. To produce comprehensive as existing measured survey information, laser scanners have been adopted as the tool of choice, creating point clouds.

The Westcott-based company has been using point clouds in Revit and AutoCAD to create as-existing BIM models for their clients. The point cloud can be left in the software and used as a reference for greater examination of the buildings details. The point cloud represents a snapshot in time of the building and includes huge amounts of data. Sharing this information with the design team has huge potential in reducing site checking and return visits to site.

Managing Director Scot Gear explains: “Leaving the point cloud in the BIM model has huge benefits to our clients, particularly in historic or dilapidated buildings, as parts of the structure are not always square or plumb. This allows the consultants to check particular areas of interest to see how true the architectural features may be, or to examine an ornate part of the building in detail.”

Web based viewing platforms like Leica TruView allow quick and easy access to this information. A detailed brief is required to define who is to annotate services for M&E systems and which parts of the model this is important for too, especially for a partial refurbishment or an extension to the existing building. The model can very quickly have large amounts of added value for various consultants.

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A recently completed Revit model of an Old Rectory proved challenging, as some parts of the building dated back over 400 years, with various additions over the centuries, and finally a modern annex being added. This also included elevations of the adjacent 12th Century Church.

“This project, with its variety of medieval and modern construction materials, small intricate areas, large open rooms and split levels, tested our surveyor’s geo-spatial skill,” explained Scot. “It was a complex mix of old and new and ideally suited to the skills and experience that we have acquired over many years, measuring and plotting buildings. Land Surveyors have the skills required and are ideally suited to create accurate as built BIM models”.

The as-existing BIM model provided RGL’s clients with a comprehensive 3D model offering far more information than 2D plans, elevations and sections. The BIM model will offer advantages for planning, design, construction and potentially management of the building. The Architect is able to work directly from the model and quickly begin creating various concepts for their client to study.

Cost has been a prohibiting factor in some cases of BIM implementation, as the upfront costs are seen as a barrier by the project client. The cost of as-existing BIM models will reduce as the cost of laser scanners reduce, their technology improves and crucially, the ability to handle large data sets in the software also improves.

As a survey company with experience in producing these models and working with hardware and software manufactures, and close collaboration with clients, RGL are in an excellent position to exploit the current and future technology to provide first class measured survey information.

They are keen to expand on this service beyond their current client base, offering advice and support to those looking to take the first steps into as existing 3D models. The company can also supply competitive quotations to those looking to add options and variety to their supply chain.

If you would like to find out more about RGL Surveys, give them a call on 01296 651833, visit www.rglsurveys.co.uk or follow them on Twitter – @rglsurveys.

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