As-Built Services
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3D Laser Scanning for Historic Preservation

3 Historic Landmarks Preserved through Digital Archiving

In October of 2013, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit the Philippine region of Bohol. In April of 2019, a fierce fire engulfed the roof of Paris’ famous Notre Dame Cathedral claiming the spire and causing devastating damage to the roof and upper walls. Fortunately, a 3D laser scan of Notre Dame exists that serves as a digital blueprint of every inch of the exterior and interior. The scan will likely be utilized in its restoration process. Unfortunately, many of the churches of Bohol were not so lucky. Crumbling to rubble and dust, only photographs and postcards remain. As natural disasters, increased tourism, exposure to environmental elements, and lack of maintenance lend to the decay of historical buildings, preservationists and historians are adopting the use of 3D laser scanning for historic preservation – digitally memorializing and safeguarding these beloved sites for centuries to come. Here are just a few iconic historical sites proactively archived by this technology.

1. Notre Dame Under Fire. Memorialized in 3D.

On a Monday evening in April of 2019 a devastating fire tore across the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France while the world watched in shock. For 9 hours, the beloved cathedral burned. Flames claimed the cathedral’s famous spire, roof, and upper walls leaving Paris in devastation as it prepared for a financial and logistical course of restorative action.

Rewind to 2015 – American Professor of Art at Vassar College, Andrew Tallon, visits Notre Dame while seeking to “understand how medieval builders erected some of Europe’s great cathedrals.” Using 3D laser scanning, Tallon digitally archived every square millimeter of the structure through billions of data points in the form of a 3D point cloud. It’s believed that Tallons scans will play a crucial role in reviving Notre Dame, but unfortunately, Tallon passed away in 2018 and will never know the impact of his work on likely the most high-profile 3D laser scan to date.

Photo Credit: Print Collector/Getty Images from Town and Country Magazine

In April of this year, French president Emmanuel Macron announced an ambitious plan to restore the cathedral in 5 years. Original construction of Notre Dame began in 1163. The famous spire was added around 1250, and the cathedral has undergone numerous changes throughout the years from revered cathedral to rundown storage facility and returned to the limelight following the famous novel Hunchback of Notre Dame. Its next chapter impatiently awaits. Although the cathedral may never be a complete replica of what once was, Tallon’s 3D laser scan gives the restoration team the best chance of restoring it to its iconic glory.

2. Tampa’s Famous Jackson Rooming House in Distress

Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Times

Located in Tampa, Florida, The Jackson Rooming House served as the only “Boarding House of the Stars” during the segregation period. Its walls housed African American superstars and famous activists whose status did not exclude them from the social offenses of the time including Martin Luther King, Jr., James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. During this era, the house was one of the only places for traveling African Americans to stay in the Tampa area.

Photo Credit: The Tampa Bay Times

Today, the historical 24-room house remains in need of extreme repair. Built in 1901, the house has seen its day and is under pressure from the city to address serious safety issues. With “broken windows, a sagging roof, and splintering walls, it looks as though the slightest breeze could topple the century-old structure,” says the Tampa Bay Times. The local paper reported that a team from the Tampa Bay History Center and the University of South Florida used 3D laser scanning for historic preservation to create a digital point cloud and record every inch of the two-story, 4,000-square-foot building in efforts to preserve its history. Not only will the team use the 3D digital data to create a 3D replica and virtual tour, they may also help replicate and reopen the real Jackson House to the public one day. As of late, beams have been installed to shore up the Jackson House as further plans are in discussion.

3. Belsay Castle Proactively Preserved with Point Clouds

Photo Credit: BBC.com

The fourteenth-century Iron Age hillfort castle situated in Belsay, Northumberland, England (14 miles northwest of Newcastle) was originally the home to the prominent Middleton family. Passed down through the family, it was eventually abandoned as a residence in the early nineteenth century when the family built a new Grecian-style residence on the same grounds which became known as Belsay Hall. Although an estate of this magnitude seems indestructible, preservationists have secured it’s history through 3D laser scanning should distaster or the test of time take its toll.

The medieval icon’s famous defense tower dominates the castle and was built as both a statement of family pride as well as protection from conflict and tension in this border region between Scotland and England. The tower is one of the best examples of a still-existing pele tower (also known as peel tower) – similar to a mini castle that is easy to defend. When King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England and brought the two kingdoms under union and relative peace, he decreed that all pele towers should be torn down and that the borders should be known as “Middle Shires”.

Despite the turbulent climate and King James’ ruling to remove pele towers, Belsay Castle and Hall remain a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building respectively. English Heritage, the non-profit organization administering the estate, undertook laser scanning of the entire grounds to ensure a digital point cloud replica. With the completion of the 3D laser scans, preservationists have ensured its history is protected against exposure to the elements, tourist traffic, and natural disaster.

Bohol Partners with 3D Laser Scanning Specialists for Historic Preservation

Bohol, Phillipines Church | Photo Credit: Reuters by way of BBC.com

After the devasting earthquake of 2013 in the Filipino region of Bohol, 3D technology specialists DigiScript Phillipines began utilizing 3D laser scanning to digitally preserve UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This digital data in the form of high-resolution point clouds, ensures historic buildings can be restored should disaster strike again. The efforts will include four Baroque churches erected during the Spanish colonial period including Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Sta. Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, and Miagao Church in Iloilo.

Proactive Protection. Digitizing History.

As the fear of natural disasters and foreseen decay weigh heavy on preservationists’ minds, the relief of 3D laser scanning plays a significant role. There’s now a solid, digitally archived backup plan. The partnership between preservationists and skilled 3D laser scanning and modelling professionals is key. Proactive planning with an As-Buit Surveying and Drafting/Modelling team you can trust ensures our century-old buildings are preserved for centuries more to enjoy.

About PPM

Precision Property Measurements is a full service As-Built Survey and Drafting/Modelling firm who utilizes 3D laser scanning and traditional measuring tools for historic preservation, home remodels, commercial properties, and national brand expansion. PPM serves all 50 U.S. states and has over 17 years of experience in capturing precise, existing building measurements.  For more information on our historic preservation As-Built services or other surveys, please reach out to us at office@ppmco.net, or visit https://ppmco.net/quote for quick and easy quotes.

Do you have an upcoming preservation project we can assist with?

Interested in learning more about our As-Built Survey process?

Sources:

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/notre-dame-fire-destruction-futurehttps://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellievhall/notre-dame-spire-collapsed

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a27210982/notre-dame-cathedral-paris-restoration-history/

https://www.dw.com/en/frances-macron-vows-to-rebuild-notre-dame-cathedral-within-5-years/a-48342036

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/travel-guide/a27118099/emmanuel-macron-notre-dame-cathedral-restored-in-five-years/

https://www.tampabay.com/tampa/laser-scanning-may-help-preserve-historic-jackson-house-digitally-at-least-before-it-collapses-20190219/

https://www.tampabay.com/tampa/laser-scanning-may-help-preserve-historic-jackson-house-digitally-at-least-before-it-collapses-20190219/

https://www.tampabay.com/hillsborough/watch-beams-were-installed-to-shore-up-the-historic-jackson-house-now-they-may-hasten-its-fall-20190424/

https://blog.hexagongeosystems.com/measure-what-you-treasure-laser-scanning-for-heritage-conservation/https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/3d-laser-scanning-heritage/heag155-3d-laser-scanning/

http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/north_east/belsay_castle.htmlhttp://www.interaksyon.com/lifestyle/2018/02/13/119744/filipino-specialists-in-3d-laser-scanning-take-a-swipe-at-preserving-unesco-world-heritage-sites/

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3 Ways to Simplify Your Merchandising Process

Competition in the retail space is fierce. Ensuring the right product in the right place, and at the right price and time is key to every retail brand’s success. Savvy merchandisers with a simplified and streamlined merchandising process have the best chance of growing sales and maintaining the competitive edge. Here’s why…

90% of information sent to the brain is visual and 95% of our decision making process is subconscious, leaving only 5% to the conscious mind. Consumers subconsciously make purchasing decisions based on the visual and organizational layout of a retail store. Merchandisers are the brains behind the revenue-driving operation. They are the analytical, strategic, design savvy professionals who carefully plan and organize the customer experience to increase store traffic and grow sales.

These key players perform a crucial role in the success of retail brands, and their jobs are not always easy – especially with quick seasonal turnarounds, high competition, and hundreds of locations from coast to coast.

HERE ARE 3 TIPS AND TRICKS TO SIMPLIFY THE REMERCHANDISING PROCESS FOR MULTI-LOCATION BRANDS

 

1. Harness Your Data

Make data-driven decisions to consistently improve sales. Plan, organize, gather, and analyze your data before you start the remerchandising process. This ongoing activity will give you the best insights for profitability in the planning phase. Determine the most important metrics and use Sales and Observational Data to drive product placement. Know which items are likely to increase sales before you place them.

2 types of important data:

  • Sales Data is data gathered from your POS system. Is there a particular wood flooring that is selling quickly? Where is it currently shelved? Would moving the flooring to an eye-level shelf or endcap help drive even more sales? Test it with a split placement. Compare your sales data to observational data to learn more. Then test the new product placement against the old product placement to get a deeper understanding.
  • Observational Data is data gathered by paying attention to shelf placement and product flow. One example of this is testing a product on a shelf versus an endcap display in half of your stores. Let’s imagine you are a floor and tile store like Floor & Decor. Take a new tile design that is expected to be popular for the season and display it in your flooring section. In 50% of your stores, display the tiles on a pop-up endcap that adds a visual “wow” factor. In the other 50% of your stores, simply place the tiles on shelves in an aisle. Combining sales data with observational data, do you see an increase in endcap tile sales that make special endcap displays worthwhile? Or, is the difference in sales marginal and not worth the extra effort? Is there a product that would be better suited for the endcap? Observational data helps you make better, more informed decisions.

Combine your data analysis into an easy-to-view report or presentation, so you and your team can reference your findings throughout the merchandising process.

 

2. Keep an Eye on the Competition

Are you maintaining a watchful eye on your competitors? You should be. You can learn a lot quickly from their product placement, fixture displays and designs, and remerchandising timelines. Documenting your competitors’ strategies over time can reveal new ways to streamline your process that you may not have already considered. It may also expose some strategies you’re better off avoiding. Make a list of your top three competitors and make a conscious effort to check in and record your observations.

Some of the key strategies you may want to note:

  • How often do they roll out new merchandise?
  • Which products do they highlight on endcaps or special displays/fixtures?
  • Which products do they place on eye-level shelves?
  • When do they run sales to clear store inventory?
  • What is their lighting style?
  • What kind of collaborations or endorsements are they running?

 

3. Maintain Up to Date As-Built Plans

Help your merchandising team stay informed of store layout remotely. Big retail brands with nationwide locations have a geographic challenge in merchandising each store to its full capacity. Teams need a clear view of the current layout of each store location to make actionable and data-driven decisions.

Does your company have a clear, up to date set of As-Built Plans of each store location?  If not, you’re likely missing valuable space you could be leveraging to highlight your best products and increase sales. Accurate Floor Plans are the minimum As-Built Survey type your team should have on hand at all times.

The most common As-Built Drawings used by retail brands include:

  • Floor Plans – Commonly used by merchandisers, brand architects, and construction professionals to plan store layout and construction
  • Elevations – Commonly used by merchandisers, brand architects, and construction professionals to plan store layout and construction. The marketing team may also leverage these plans to gather window dimensions for promotional signs and banners.
  • Reflected Ceiling Plan – These plans are, as they sound, a reflection of the ceiling. They are leveraged by marketers to understand ceiling layout when hanging promotional material from above. They may be used by merchandisers to highlight store sections and enhance the customer experience.
  • Fixture Plans – These plans provide merchandisers a better understanding of built-in and moveable racks, gondolas, and displays.

Acquiring and maintaining current As-Built store layouts for all of your locations is an incredibly valuable asset. Partnering with a trustworthy As-Built partner who can streamline your store plans nationwide can substantially save time, increase efficiency, and drive revenue.

Although merchandising across hundreds of storefronts may seem like a daunting task, streamlining your process using these tips and tricks can alleviate a lot of stress and prepare you for smart, profitable decisions and a smooth process.

Do you have an upcoming project we can assist with?

Interested in learning more about Multi-Site As-Built Survey programs?

About Precision Property Measurements

PPM is the leading provider of retail As-Built survey and drafting services in the United States. We provide As-Built surveys (measurements on existing properties) including Floor Plans, Elevations, Reflected Ceiling Plans, and more to architects, designers, and contractors who are transforming retail space. We are the first step in a smooth remodel or renovation and a trusted partner among some of the biggest brands including Floor & Decor, Chipotle, and McDonald’s. Learn more about our Multi-Site As-Built services here.

Image depicting community gathering at a coffee shop
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How Unique Retail Experiences Are Successfully Fending Off The Internet

COMPETING IN AN INTERNET-DRIVEN WORLD

The Brick and Mortar Retail Challenge

It goes without saying that competing in our Internet-driven world is no easy feat for brick and mortar retailers. Amazon is now a household name and Prime members enjoy expedited shipping so swift there’s no need to ever leave the couch. It’s safe to predict that Amazon will continue finding efficiency in its process and retail experience. One-day delivery is now the default for Prime members, and the online giant is capable of one-day and same-day delivery for 72% of the total U.S. population.

Quick delivery is just one perk for online shoppers as e-retailers compete for better, faster shipping options. Consumers also enjoy easy price comparison, consumer reviews, and front door delivery of big box items that are difficult to transport from store to home. Not only are Amazon and other big box and niche retailers a click away, but they’re also serving up visually appealing advertisements that remind us of the shoes we perused for our best friend’s wedding or that sofa that would fit perfectly in our space.

So how do brick and mortars compete with online shopping and internet-driven consumer behavior? Smart brands are elevating the experience and shifting the tide. Strategic brands whose shopping experience feels less like a burden and more like an outing are developing a playbook worth following. PPM’s As-Built surveys have been the starting point for a number of retail brands looking to upgrade their customer experience and drive more in-store traffic. The first step in amplifying the customer experience is measuring your store so your architects and designers can begin reimaging the layout and experience. That’s where PPM comes into play, but first, let’s look at how some of our favorite brands have succeeded at a holistic retail experience.

Brands Who Crush The Retail Experience

TOMS, the shoe retailer famous for their Buy One, Give One model donates one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair purchased. Since their 2006 launch, they’ve expanded to Buy One, Give One sunglasses and other retail items. But, most interestingly, they’ve reimagined three of their most popular retail locations into a space for coffee and community. “We believe in a better community,” reads their website. The coffee shop and community consumer experience aligns perfectly with their brand and brings neighbors together to enjoy TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee, live musical performances, and other community events like Ping Pong parties and clever collabs with like-minded brands. The earthy ambiance is also a great place to relax and unwind with a good read. Not only have they created a way to drive community, but they’ve also created another stream of revenue.

Ikea, the Swedish design and home furnishings company, was a pioneer in bringing experiential retail (and genius merchandising) to life. For the design-savvy or the not-so-design savvy, Ikea has done a great job at inspiring and driving purchase behavior. For anyone who hasn’t visited an Ikea, the floor layout brings customers through a maze-style showroom with bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and kitchens designed with Ikea furnishings to get the interior design juices flowing.

After the showroom, the maze continues through merchandise organized by room type. Heavier items like sofas, desks, and kitchen shelves are packaged and organized warehouse-style near the checkout. Ikea’s checkout line is similar to many retailers where they stock smaller household items you may have forgotten to add to your cart. We can only imagine that those last-minute temptations are a major source of revenue for Ikea. And their retail experience and merchandising strategy don’t stop there. Their brilliant post-checkout experience leads visitors through a cafeteria and market where you can grab a quick bite of Swedish meatballs and gravy, a slice of pizza, soft serve ice cream or Swedish novelties to go. If anyone has thought thoroughly through the retail experience, it’s Ikea – a retail experience all retailers can learn from.

And then there are brands that take it to the next level. If you’ve ever stepped inside a Bass Pro Shop, you’ve experienced a truly unique consumer destination that draws more than 200 million visitors annually and may literally blow your mind. You might compare it to stepping into a wildlife museum. Each location is tailored to its region with dioramas of landscapes and wild animals – many with ponds and incredibly tall trees. The Las Vegas location has featured a mermaid swimming in a giant aquarium with live fish, while other locations boast an ocean themed bowling alley and sport fishing themed seafood restaurants. Do yourself a favor and stop by a Bass Pro Shop next time you pass one. Or, make a day out of it. It’s a retail experience you don’t want to miss.

Outside The Box

While the brick and mortar retail experience is being challenged, the opportunity for reimagination and growth is on an uprise. Consumers will travel and buy based on how the retail experience makes them feel. In the era of smartphones and endless screentime, now is the time to connect with people on the next level and remind them that shopping is an outing and not a chore.

PPM has helped brands prepare for renovations and remerchandising for over 10 years. Our nationwide network of surveyors and drafters provide measurements such as Floor Plans, Elevations, and Interiors to begin your renovation or remerchandising project right. It’s the very first, and most important step, in the renovation process. Smooth renovations, especially across multiple locations, begin with accurate, streamlined As-Built plans your architects, designers, and contractors can trust. For high-volume projects, we’re able to draft and survey 50 locations nationwide per week beginning with our signature Pilot Program. Learn more about our Multi-Site As-Built programs to begin your renovations and amplify your retail experience.

Do you have an upcoming project we can assist with?

Interested in learning more about Multi-Site As-Built Survey programs?

About Precision Property Measurements

PPM is the leading provider of retail As-Built survey and drafting services in the United States. We provide As-Built surveys (measurements on existing properties) including Floor Plans, Elevations, Reflected Ceiling Plans, and more to architects, designers, and contractors who are transforming retail space. We are the first step in a smooth remodel or renovation and a trusted partner among some of the biggest brands including Floor & Decor, Chipotle, and McDonald’s. Learn more about our Multi-Site As-Built services here.

The PPM Multi-Site As-Built Survey Process
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The PPM As-Built Multi-Site Survey Process

A NATIONWIDE AS-BUILT PARTNER WITH A BULLETPROOF PLAN FOR MULTI-LOCATION PROJECTS

Ensuring accuracy, speed, and service on a larger scale

Renovations across multiple locations require careful planning and a well-developed process. At PPM, we bring a team of professionals who ensure your success through a carefully designed Multi-Site As-Built Survey Process. We make sure your program’s architects, designers, and contractors can begin renovations, upgrades, and re-merchandising with As-Built plans they can trust. Worry-Free, every time.

When working on Multi-Site programs, we take a strategic approach to completing a few locations to begin what we call a Pilot Program. Our pilot program typically includes three to five locations, which gives us, and our clients, enough information and feedback to make sure we are delivering exactly what our client’s need, including the drafting specifications and standards, the scope of work, and scheduling protocols for all projects. Here’s a look into our carefully crafted Multi-Site process that ensures your project begins and ends with communication and accuracy, on time, and on budget, every time.

1. GATHER PROGRAM DETAILS

The first step in any Multi-Site As-Built survey program is to fully gather and understand your objectives, As-Built scope, number of locations, timeline, and any other important details we should know. Your dedicated project manager works closely with you and your team to stay organized and communicate your project each step of the way. He/she will also be available for any questions you may have.

Gathering Program Details

2. CREATE PROGRAM DOCUMENTS

After we fully understand your needs, we create and confirm the written scope of work, checklists, CAD template, and other project deliverable guidelines. This step ensures each program location is delivered to your exact specifications.

Creating Program Documents

3. ASSEMBLE SURVEY TEAM

Based on the program requirements, the team will include your dedicated program manager, surveyors, drafters, Quality Assurance staff, and executive support. Team members are carefully paired with your project based on their expertise in your needs.

Assemble Survey Team

4. PILOT PROGRAM

Up to 5 pilot locations are surveyed, drafted, and delivered. Communication and feedback are gathered from the client to confirm any final revisions to the scope details and deliverable preferences. Pilot locations allow us to take our time on the first few and get detailed feedback from our clients, ensuring all program details are answered and confirmed before ramping up to full capacity, at which time we’re able to survey and draft up to 50 locations per week.

Pilot Program

5. FINAL REVISIONS AND TRAINING

Based on the results of the pilot surveys, scope documents and templates are updated as needed, and the entire team is trained on program standards and processes. This ensures all locations are drafted and delivered with the same file types and plan specifications making it easier for your architects, designers, and contractors to move between locations.

Final Revisions and Training

6. SURVEY PROGRAM LIVE

This is where things really get exciting! All remaining locations are surveyed, drafted, quality checked, and delivered to you in the confirmed format, within the agreed upon time frame. We maintain regular communication to ensure you are always aware of the program status. This phase might last a few months or multiple years – it’s all based our client’s needs. We have worked on programs where we surveyed up to 50 locations each week.

Survey Program Live

7. POST-PROGRAM SUPPORT

Just because we’ve delivered your plans doesn’t mean we are done supporting you. Our team is always available to discuss any questions or additional needs throughout the lifecycle of the project. Although we are the very first step in your project, we are with you the whole way.

Post-Program Support

Our commitment to Worry-Free As-Builts for every size client is second to none. Our tried and true Multi-Site As-Built Survey Process ensures we get the job done right. Worry-Free Accuracy, Worry-Free Timeliness, and Worry-Free Communication are the three pillars of our Worry-Free Promise that we stand behind for every client. It is our mission to continue to be the As-Built provider you can trust as well as a reliable advisor in your program. We’d love to hear more about your project.

Do you have an upcoming project we can assist with?

Interested in learning more about Multi-Site As-Built Survey programs?

https://ppmco.net/the-ppm-as-built-survey-process/
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The PPM As-Built Survey Process

A BULLETPROOF REMODEL STARTS HERE

At PPM, we live and die by process. That’s because we’ve learned that having a well-thought-out process and executing it consistently is the best way to give our customers the most accurate As-Built surveys, on time and on budget.

Every challenge, every potential problem that could arise, every structure (old and new), PPM has experienced it, and this is why we developed The PPM Process – a tried-and-true seven step system that begins when we discuss your needs and continues throughout the life cycle of your project – even after the plans are delivered. After 17 years, we believe this process is bulletproof! And this is how we do it.

This process is designed for single location projects. If you are working on a project with multiple locations, you will find the best information here.

1. PRICING AND PROPOSAL

From the point of initial contact, our team gathers and assesses the details of your project. And, with almost twenty years creating precision As-Built surveys, we know that no two jobs are the same. Instead of generating a quick quote from square footage, we take the time to research your property on real estate sites to assess the shape, structure, and conditions. This way, we are able to provide a proposal you can be sure we’ll deliver on time, on budget and to your specifications.

Pricing and Proposal

2. PROJECT SCHEDULING

Upon acceptance of the proposal, you’ll be assigned a project manager. Your project manager provides a complete project timeline including site visit, drafting, quality assurance, and estimated delivery date.

Scheduling

3. SITE VISIT

Field surveying is coordinated directly with you or your client and varies in time based on the size and complexity of the project: one hour to several weeks. Most projects take 2-5 hours to measure by our professionally trained surveyors using precise 3D laser scanning technology, and larger scale projects such as hotels, shopping malls and other sizeable commercial properties need to be properly assessed and given a longer timeline.

4. DRAFTING

After the surveyor has accurately captured all of the necessary measurements in the field, the drafting begins. Your drafter will review the scope of work and draft your As-Built plans in your preferred format of AutoCAD or Revit. Then, additional details are added to the plans, including dimensions, labels, and any custom client standards.

Drafting5. QUALITY CHECK

We know the importance of this step. Using 3D point cloud data, photographs and As-Built surveying best practices, our Quality Assurance team executes a 10-step checklist, looking for any omissions or indiscrepancies. A careful eye ensures each plan leaves this stage with complete accuracy.

Quality Check

6. PROJECT DELIVERY

When the quality check is complete, your project manager will deliver your files in your preferred format of AutoCAD or Revit, as well as other project deliverables such as a PDF sheet set and digital photographs.

Project Delivery

This home is an example of a 3D Revit model drafted from a laser scanned point cloud.

7. POST-PROJECT SUPPORT

Just because we’ve delivered your plans doesn’t mean we are done supporting you. Our team is always available to discuss any questions or additional needs you may have throughout your project lifecycle. Although we are the very first step in your project, we are with you the whole way.

The entire PPM Process for As-Built surveys takes most single location projects between 15 and 22 days. But, if you have a tight turnaround time, let our team know. We’ll do our best to accommodate, and always feel free to reach out with questions at any time. We’re great advisers and enjoy helping you in your remodel journey.

Do you have an upcoming project we can assist with?

Seeking As-Built advice?

If you are managing a survey program with multiple locations, learn more here.

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PPM’s As-Built Surveying Case Study #1: Seelbach Hotel, Louisville, KY

Welcome to the Seelbach!

The story of the Seelbach Hotel dates back to 1903. It began when the Seelbach brothers, who were recent immigrants from Bavaria, decided to open a luxury hotel in downtown Louisville that would capture all of the old-world elegance of the European hotels they had fallen in love with in their childhood. They decided on a Beaux-Arts Baroque style and imported materials from all over the world, including marble from Italy, bronze from France, table linens from Ireland, and exotic wood from the West Indies.

The hotel took a couple of years to construct but was an instant success, and as of today, remains one of Louisville’s greatest landmarks. Among the Seelbach’s famous guests were Al Capone, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Robin Williams, and John F. Kennedy, along with at least 8 other U.S. presidents. Parts of the Paul Newman film The Hustler and the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby were filmed at the Seelbach, and the iconic wedding scene of Fitzgerald’s classic American novel that inspired the movie was set at a hotel conspicuously called the Mulbach.

Seelbach Hotel

Northeast entrance to the Seelbach Hotel. 4th Street and W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.

PPM’s Chapter in the Story of the Seelbach

Fast forward about 115 years, to late June of 2018 when Precision Property Measurements was contacted by John T. Campo & Associates, Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm based out of New Orleans, about helping them with a major renovation of the Seelbach. Campo Architects had recently been awarded the contract as lead consultant for the Seelbach renovation’s Concepting Phase and was looking to secure a reliable partner for an As-Built Survey of the hotel. They had previously worked with PPM through a Construction Manager on the Fairfield Inn & Suites Renovation in New Orleans, and found our services to be top-notch.

On smaller projects, Campo had sometimes done their own As-Builts or used a small local firm in New Orleans. But this project was different. The Seelbach hotel has 11 floors across 5 interconnected buildings, 321 guestrooms, 32,000 square feet of meeting space, and 2 subterranean levels. Campo wanted a pretty detailed scope of work including Floor Plans, Reflected Ceiling Plans, Electrical, and Exterior Elevations. For a project of this size, Campo needed an As-Built partner with a proven track record of success on large, highly-detailed projects.

In addition to PPM, Campo also contacted 2 other As-Built surveying companies for a proposal. The whole process took almost a month, and then in late July we got the call – PPM had landed the job! It was our expertise with hotel surveys, our detailed project timeline, and impressive reputation that encouraged Campo to hire us, and needless to say, we were beyond honored to help with the renovations of such an iconic Louisville building.

How we Completed the Seelbach As-Built Survey

For the Seelbach Hotel, we brought the same integrity and meticulousness that we bring to all of our projects – just to a larger scale. First, we made a detailed project plan and started communicating with the Hotel management immediately, to make sure everyone was on the same page. Campo wanted all of the As-Built drawings delivered by August 31st, so we laid out our project schedule to meet this deadline.

Our survey team took to the beautiful Seelbach Hotel in early August and began their work, using laser distance meters for all of our measurements to make sure we got the most precise results possible. We had 2 primary surveyors onsite for 4 weeks who oversaw the entire project and made sure our field crew was working up to the high standards we require. We also added 2 additional surveyors for a week near the end of the project, in order to make sure we were able to meet our promised delivery deadline.

90% of the AutoCAD drafting we did for the project was completed onsite using laptop computers, which allowed for instant verification of all measurements before moving on to the next area of the hotel. This attention to detail and patience with all of our drawings is so important to our customer’s peace of mind. By drawing on-site, we can double and triple check our plans with the room’s actual measurements. This means that the architect gets the most accurate drawing possible, and we don’t have to come back to the site to remeasure.

Finally, we captured over 7,000 photos of the Seelbach’s extensive layout, which was quite a lot of material but helped us deliver the high-quality product that Campo Architects was expecting. Before we sent the final As-Built drawings and photos on to our client, PPM’s quality assurance team reviewed all of the 7,000+ pictures and compared them to the drawings to make sure nothing was omitted or drawn incorrectly, and that all the CAD standards and scope details were included and represented accurately.

The Seelbach Lobby

The Seelbach Lobby

The Biggest Challenges We Faced

We’re no strangers to running into speed bumps during our As-Built surveying projects, and our work at the Seelbach was no different. One of the aspects of our business that we take the most pride in is our ability to troubleshoot the various challenges that arise during any given project, and all of our surveyors, project managers and drafters have been extensively trained in how to overcome these obstacles.

One of the major issues we experienced while surveying the Seelbach came from the highly unique layout of the hotel guestrooms.  Out of the 321 total guestrooms, there were over 100 different floor plans, which is the most, by far, that we’ve ever encountered. Most hotels only have a few different room types, and the floor plates stack from level to level. 100 different guestroom layouts meant that each room had to be thoroughly inspected and accurately measured to capture its unique layout. When you add in the highly ornate architectural details inherent to a historic building like the Seelbach, it all added up to a lot of custom work on the As-Builts.  To mitigate any potential delays, our team pulled 20 hour shifts and worked through the weekends to finish up as soon as possible.

Another challenge, common to any hotel or place of business, was the constant flow of guests and employees.  We take great pride in the abilities of our onsite team members to work with and around people who are living and working in the properties we measure. As you can imagine, the Seelbach is consistently busy, filled with hundreds or even thousands of guests and staff every single day. This required quite a lot of coordination between hotel management and our surveyors to make sure that we were completing our work in a way that was least intrusive to their guests and operations as possible. Developing a great working relationship with the Seelbach staff was the first step in accomplishing this, and our team really went out of their way to make sure that all of the hotel’s employees felt comfortable approaching them.  Not surprisingly for such a legendary hotel, the entire staff was incredibly friendly and helpful throughout the project.  Some of them even gave us a hug when we left for the last time.

Though we faced a few challenges in this project, I think that we handled them with a lot of professionalism, and above all, made sure that we were communicating any changes in plans with our client while finding the best way to work around these issues.

Exterior Seelbach Hotel

Exterior Elevation of the Seelbach Hotel along 4th St.

Getting Results for Our Clients

After over 650 hours of on-site surveying, drafting, quality assurance, and project management, we delivered the Seelbach As-Built survey project to Campo Architects.  Campo was extremely pleased with the professionalism, detail, and quality that PPM delivered.

Kerry Soniat, who is Campo’s Project Architect for the Seelbach, said, “Using PPM allowed Campo to manage our time efficiently and focus on more important design priorities for our client. We were impressed with the professionalism, timeliness and team efforts received from PPM. We look forward to working with PPM again in the future.”  It was extremely gratifying to receive this positive feedback after all of the hard work and dedication we put into the project.

Now, Campo is in the process of moving on to the next phase of the Seelbach project, which involves a detailed renovation plan for the guestrooms and common areas based off of PPM’s As-Built plans. These design and construction drawings will be much easier for Campo to generate with confidence because of our accurate and detailed As-Builts, and will be instrumental in helping write the Seelbach’s next historic chapter.

Epilogue: The Seelbach’s Chapter in PPM History

The life of an As-Built surveyor is a constant adventure!  OK maybe not always… but the interesting things we see and experience at a cool old building like the Seelbach is definitely one of the perks of the job.  Our time at the Seelbach Hotel left some indelible memories we will not soon forget.  Here’s a few of the most memorable highlights:

  • The Seelbach bar: The bourbon selection was pretty amazing and their signature “Lady in Blue” IPA, named after the ghost that haunts the 8th floor, was VERY tasty.
  • Larry, the concierge and hotel historian, was awesome.  He has tons of great stories about the hotel after 30 years working there. He has even written two books about the Seelbach – and we left with a signed copy of one of them.
  • One of our surveyors set off the fire alarm after one of the kitchen staff convinced him that the door was no longer armed.  That was fun.
  • The metal in the building interfered with the compass on our drone (which we use to take exterior photos), causing it to lose control and crash into the adjacent building.  Nothing better than having a crowd full of people watch you fly your drone as you discuss how “smart” it is with its sensors that won’t allow it to crash… #embarrassing

The Seelbach Hotel was one of the most extensive and unique projects we’ve completed, and it was such an honor to be part of a nation-wide team who were helping to restore one of the most historic hotels in the country.

And thanks, as always, for reading!

Seelbach Bar

The Seelbach Bar. A perfect place to relax after a long day of surveying.

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PPM’s As-Built Surveying Case Study: Nationwide Quick Service Restaurant Chain

Quickly tackling a complex 550-restaurant project

When a large quick service restaurant chain wanted to remodel 550 stores in a year, they chose PPM as their As-Built partner.  By quickly understanding their needs, figuring out their preferred communication rhythm, and deploying our nationwide network of surveyors, we were able to deliver all their plans on time and on budget.

We first heard from our new client in June of 2017. They were on the hunt for a reputable As-Built partner to capture all of the physical store information needed for some upcoming strategic initiatives.  We worked with several members of their internal architecture and construction teams over the next month to determine, prioritize and document their requirements for this project.

The company needed accurate As-Built plans of all of their restaurants for 2 primary initiatives:

(1) They were looking to remodel their kitchens in order to expand capacity for preparing carryout and catering orders. As part of this initiative, an update to the area used for their digital ordering system was also required.

(2) The client wanted a comprehensive update of their physical store information for facilities management and other future store planning projects.

Upon learning how they intended to use the information collected on the site surveys, we worked with the client to develop a detailed scope of work. The architectural As-Builts included a detailed Floor Plan with Kitchen Layout, Reflected Ceiling Plan, Roof Plan, and Electrical Plan. They wanted us to provide an electrical line diagram as well (which included tracing and mapping of their panel schedule to show the connections between each individual outlet to the corresponding circuit on the panel). For photography, we agreed to provide both still photos as well as a 360-degree “Virtual Walkthrough” of each location using the Matterport platform.

About 6 weeks into these discussions, our client was gaining confidence in PPM’s capabilities and decided to test us with an initial batch of 33 locations in California, Colorado, and Texas. They wanted the surveys completed in 10 weeks, between August and October of 2017, so we developed a schedule to meet this deadline while also allowing for several rounds of feedback on the Deliverables to make sure the final product was exactly what our client needed.

The company was very impressed with our ability to deliver on schedule, as well as our service, communication, and extremely precise As-Built drawings. After further internal planning through the end of the year, they awarded us 334 locations in January of 2018, and we were off to work.

 

PPM Continental Clients Map

PPM ended up surveying 542 locations for the client, all over the U.S.

Our Process for a High Volume, Nationwide As-Built Program

Our first order of business was to create a program schedule. We were provided the list of 334 locations all over the country and a deadline of June 15th to deliver all of the surveys. With a few weeks of time to ramp up, this meant we would need to average about 20 completed surveys per week. To complicate the logistics a bit more, the client had different deadlines within these 4 months for each of the 6 geographic regions in which the stores were located.  The client allowed us to determine the specific order and schedule to meet the deadlines, which was extremely helpful as it enabled us to group the surveys together by location and proximity, allowing for more efficient travel and the flexibility to work with each surveyor on a schedule that best fit their availability.

Second, we had to get the resources in place to handle that kind of volume for a sustained period of time. This required field surveyors, drafters, QA staff, and dedicated project management.  Over the course of the program, there would be as many as 50 different people that worked on the surveys in one capacity or another. In additional to human resources, we also had to make sure that we had the specialized equipment needed to perform the survey at every location, including surveying tools, Matterport cameras, and electrical testing gear.

Finally, we had to develop a scalable and repeatable process that would consistently deliver a high-quality As-Built product that met the client’s exact specifications for every location. We had already worked out most of the process in the pilot round of 33 locations, but now with a higher overall volume and weekly output, we had to tighten things up even more.

For faster and more detailed data collection, we used a 3D laser scanner on approximately half of the locations, and the resulting “point cloud” data that we captured was converted into highly accurate As-Built plans by our CAD teams.  For the other half of the restaurants, our professional survey crews used laser distance meters and laptop computers onsite to capture, record, and draw the As-Builts.

Prior to delivery to the client, every plan was extensively reviewed by our QA team here in Long Beach. They compared each plan to the digital photography to make sure nothing was missing or drawn inaccurately. The final step was to place the drawings into the client’s CAD template and make sure we met all of their specific standards and preferences.

All of this planning and teamwork paid off – we were able to deliver all 334 surveys before the requested deadlines.  Our client rewarded our strong performance by giving us another batch of 175 locations in early July. This batch came with a September 28th deadline, which meant that we would once again need to maintain a delivery pace of about 17 locations per week. We streamlined a few more parts of the process including field scheduling and QA, and we once again delivered all of the surveys on-time and to the client’s exact standards.

 

Jan-Sep As Built Survey Graph

PPM reached a peak of over 100 surveys a month for this program

Challenges are an Opportunity to Provide Great Service

Even a single As-Built survey can run into unexpected challenges. When you’re surveying 500+ locations, you better be prepared for a few surprises, changes, and other potential obstacles. This case was no exception.

The first challenge was the aggressive program timeline.  We didn’t know how many locations we would receive and what the deadline would be until the day it arrived in my email. The timeline was so important to our client that we wanted to be 100% certain we would be able to meet every deadline.  This commitment to timeliness was so critical that it actually caused us to make the difficult decision to turn down an additional 30 locations in the final batch. When we crunched the numbers we realized that we just couldn’t make it work within the deadline, so we stuck with 175.  Our client was very pleased that we were honest about our capabilities and didn’t over-promise.

This program required that we meet a consistently high pace, often approaching 20-25 deliveries per week, with a highly detailed, labor-intensive scope of work. Because we didn’t want the process to come down to the wire, we front-loaded the schedule with field surveys, which allowed more time for our quality assurance team to inspect everything and make any necessary revisions before it was too late.

The additional resources that the program required, both employees and vendors, was also a major challenge. With this number of people, we created custom project management tools to make sure the status of every location was tracked, that work segments were clearly assigned, and that the client was always updated with the survey status of each location.

Another challenge was working in the restaurant environment. Our client’s stores got really busy around 11:30 AM and stayed busy for most of the day. Because of this, we had to complete the surveys before business hours, meaning we would typically start around 3 or 4 AM so that we wouldn’t interfere with their customer service and could finish up with most of the interior work before the doors opened.

As a result we were able to deliver all locations on time with a minimum amount of business disruption.

PPM Team

The PPM team reviews an As-Built survey prior to delivery to the client.

Results for Our Client are Our #1 Priority

PPM is incredibly proud to have been a part of this strategic initiative for our client.  By delivering all As-Built surveys on-time and with the exact information required, we were able to help them keep their kitchen remodel program right on track.

The Director of Architecture of the company agreed, saying: “Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence in delivering accurate and complete data. I appreciate your honesty and your desire to not compromise your company’s integrity. We are thankful for you and your team’s continued diligence as we complete this very important project.”

 

Planning a Remodel or Expansion?  PPM Can Help You Too

With a national footprint and an expertise in planning and customer service, PPM is ready to tackle the thorniest of multi-site jobs.

PPM's Top 5 Cutting-Edge Home Design Trends for 2019
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PPM’s Top 5 Cutting-Edge Home Design Trends for 2019

What Does an As-Built Surveying Company Know about Home Design?

For most of Precision Property Measurement’s history, we’ve been working hard to help our clients design and build the home of their dreams. My team and I have worked with countless architects and homeowners to deliver them accurate and reliable As-Built surveying information they can rely on for their remodel. Because many of us at PPM got our start in architecture or design fields, we like to keep ourselves acquainted with the latest home design and remodeling trends. We want to be sure that whenever you hire us to be a part of your team, we’re up-to-date on how our expertise can best aid your project.

So, for this week’s blog post, we looked at the most current and intriguing home design styles we could find and compiled a list of 5 trends for 2019. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your home with a few high-impact updates, or are finally ready to tear it all out and start creating your forever home, take a look at these innovative design ideas that are sure to stay fashionable and inviting for decades to come.

1. Steel-Framed Windows

Probably the most iconic example of steel-framed windows is Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater (pictured below) in Mill Run, PA, which was designed in 1935. And it’s no surprise that this style is coming back into vogue. Wright’s concept of organic architecture seems perfectly tailored for the 21st century, a time when so many people are interested in a getting-back-to-nature approach to their home designs and lifestyles.

Steel windows are slim-lined, incredibly sturdy, low maintenance, and they work with a number of styles. For instance, you could have outward-swinging, inward-swinging, casement, awning, and many other variations to fit your needs. If you have a drab, solid partition that is making your home seem closed off, consider a steel-framed wall with glass door to free up some space. Large panes with thin frameworks are a classic look that will brighten up any home.

Also, your remodel doesn’t have to be nearly as hard as it was for Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1934, when he decided to remodel the Kauffman’s summer house over a waterfall on Bear Run (what would later become Fallingwater), he had to hire a survey team who probably took about ten times as long as it would today to get him the pertinent As-Built information. In 2018, PPM can complete your survey in an hour or 2 and have your deliverable back to you in around a week.

Not to say we’re better than Frank Lloyd Wright or his team. That, of course, would be blasphemous for architect lovers like us.  He just didn’t have access to 3D laser scanners and CAD software like we do today.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Photo credit: wallyg on VisualHunt.com

2.  Darker Cabinet Colors

Don’t be afraid of adding some darker colors to your kitchen cabinet palette. You might be thinking that dark = drab or way-too-serious, but the truth is that darker cabinets can add a lot of depth and calmness to your kitchen. If light colors are meant to invigorate, darker colors are meant to provide you with a serene peace-of-mind that you just can’t get from bright blues or yellows.

Black and gray are generally the go-to if you’re looking for traditional dark colors, and they do add a modern, sophisticated look to most kitchens, but consider dark greens, reds, or browns if you want something a little less conventional.

Just remember, when using darker colors, make sure you have some accents that add some contrasting color to your kitchen. Monochromatic dark colors can be extremely disinviting and gothic-looking, so find a brighter color that will compliment your cabinets and use it sparingly.

Trust us, there’s no more important room in your house to have the most precise As-Built measurements than your kitchen. If you’re looking for stylish, custom cabinets, you want to be absolutely sure they fit perfectly into your space. Our laser scanners measure down to 1/8” or even smaller, so you can be 100% confident in what you are working with.

Modern kitchen with dark cabinet colors

Photo credit: designmilk on VisualHunt.com

3.  Stylish Convertible Accommodations

Convertible and multipurpose pieces are very trendy right now and it’s no wonder. Everyone is looking for ways to make their house feel more open and comfortable and many of us don’t have a ton of space to work with. Consider investing in a stylish Murphy bed, collapsible furniture that can be stowed away, or walls and partitions that can be reconfigured to dramatically change your house’s shape.

This trend is all about practicality and ingenious design that’ll make your house into more than just a staid and rigid environment. With these functional accouterments, you can be active and engaged with your surroundings like never before.

We’re a born and bred Southern California company, so we understand how important (and expensive!) every square inch of your house is.  There’s a reason hundreds of architects choose PPM as their As-Built partner.  No matter how much square-footage you have, we can get you the information you need to maximize your space.

Check out the video below from faircompanies.com to get some ideas about convertible furniture!

Video of convertible furniture to give readers some interesting ideas.

YouTube video with some amazing convertible furniture.

4. Terrazzo Floors & Walls

Maybe one of the more controversial design trends of 2019 is terrazzo floors and walls. Some experts say they’ve run their course, others say they’re just getting going. We think they still look pretty amazing, so we decided to include them on this list. Terrazzo is a pattern, popular in the 1950s, that is created by pressing stone chips into concrete. This gives the floor or wall a lively, textured look that can be created in any number of colors.

These days, terrazzo is everywhere. You can buy terrazzo handbags, dishes, pillows, rugs. The design has become so popular that it’s transcended its original use. Regardless, its popularity has always relied on the fact that terrazzo can either compliment an organic, natural look, which would be perfect for both the steel-framed windows and darker cabinets we mentioned before, or you can seek out brighter colors that have a more playful vibe perfect for a kid’s room or a light-filled bathroom.

If you’re looking to remodel your walls or floors, our precision As-Built surveys will help you and your architect figure out exactly how your design ideas will best fit your layout. If you have a large or non-traditional floor plan, don’t worry. We can complete your As-Built plans without you ever having to lift a finger.

Nicely constructed and polished terrazzo floor.

Photo credit: Phillip Pessar on VisualHunt.com

5. Rustic Brass Fixtures

Back in the day, around the mid-90s, to be precise, brass was a popular material for faucets, knobs, frames, etc. And it’s come back into style over the last couple of years, but not in exactly the same way. 90’s brass was much shinier than the variety used today. Just like the steel windows and more organic-looking terrazzo floors, the brass that’s all the rage these days is warmer and antique-looking. It’s not made to stand-out, but to have an old-world charm that compliments pretty much any décor. Also, if you’re thinking of going with darker cabinets, just imagine what a great contrast brass would make against a black or dark green color palette.

Remember, our As-Built surveys include the locations of all your plumbing fixtures so your architect or interior designer can get an incredibly accurate idea of what they’ll need for your remodel. Our technology along with our meticulously detailed drafting will save you tons of time and headaches!

Hip, rustic brass faucet.

willstone on Visualhunt.com

Best of Luck on Your Project – We’d Love to Help!

As we get closer to another New Year, PPM is super excited to work with you on any home remodeling projects that you are ready to start. And remember, our #1 priority is working with your architect or designer to fulfill their and your vision as best we can. This means that we’re consistently keeping our ears to the ground to discover the newest and most unique design trends in the business. It’s this commitment to our customers’ satisfaction that inspires us to be the best As-Built surveying company we can be.  Our purpose is to help you achieve a “Worry Free Renovation”.

So, thanks for keeping us on our toes and thank you, as always, for reading!

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4 Ways 3D Laser Scanning Is Changing Your As-Built Customer Experience

3D Laser As-Built Surveying in the Information Age

At Precision Property Measurements, we get it. You’re busy, you’re under a deadline, you need the most accurate As-Built survey possible, and you want it to be completely Worry Free. Believe us. We’ve been in the business for over 16 years now and we understand what you need from us, whether you’re starting a home remodel, moving your business to a new location, or renovating the guest rooms at a large hotel.

It’s this understanding of our customers’ needs that has been one of the primary catalysts for the adoption of 3D laser scanning into our As-Built surveying process. As mentioned in my post last week, for the first 14 years of PPM, we did everything manually with tape measures, laser distance meters, sketching boards, and good old-fashioned problem solving. But within the last couple of years, as this technology has developed, we decided that laser scanning is the best way to enhance your As-Built surveying customer experience. In our last post, we discussed how laser scanning has changed the financials of our company, so this week we decided to discuss how these impressive little gadgets are helping us help you.

1. Do You Really Want Us in Your House All Day?

3D laser scanners have dramatically reduced the amount of time that our surveyors need at the job site to capture all the necessary As-Built information. Take the example of a typical 2,500 square foot single family home – the type of project we survey just about every day at PPM. It used to take one of our surveyors around 5-7 hours to gather all the measurements and information we needed for this type of project. That’s an entire day of us at you or your client’s place, measuring every inch of the building. If you’ve ever had workers inside your house for an entire day, you know that this can be somewhat obtrusive and often requires you to plan your entire day around the worker’s schedule.

Now, with 3D laser scanning, we’ve cut our time in the field dramatically. A project that used to take us about 7 hours in the field only a couple of years ago, today takes maybe 1 to 2 hours using a laser scanner. This means that we can get in, get what we need, and get out before you or your client even figures out what they are having for lunch. You can get on with your busy schedule, or just relax in your house without a stranger hanging out all day.

Although, I do think we make pretty decent house guests.

 

3d-scanning-technician-at-work

On location with one of our 3D scanning specialists. Our laser scanners work well in both small and large spaces.

2. Millions of Data Points = We Can Accommodate Any Request

Another big advantage of using a 3D laser scanner for As-Built surveying is the amount of information that is gathered. Before laser scanners, we had to pick and choose the measurements we would take and the information we could capture based on the scope of work requested by our client. If our client wanted an As-Built floor plan and reflected ceiling plan (RCP), we would only gather enough data to complete these 2 plan types. Now with the laser scanner we can digitally capture everything visible in your house or building with incredible precision. This means we know where every wall, window, door, ceiling beam, light fixture, cabinet, and piece of furniture is located in the building.

This information gathered from your property by the 3D laser scanner contains millions of data points that we use to create your finished As-Built deliverables. The big advantage for our customers in capturing all this data is the flexibility that it provides if more information is needed. For example, what if our customer decided after the field visit that in addition to the floor plan and RCP, they need some interior elevations and a section drawing? Previously we would have had to return to the building to take additional measurements – requiring additional time to schedule a second field visit, and an additional inconvenience to the property owner. With laser scanners, we already have all of the data we need to create these additional As-Built plans, so we are able to accommodate these change order requests quickly and keep the project moving.

It’s what we do best!

 

Roof Top View By 3D Scanner

Our 3D Laser Scanning team can produce As-Built surveys of a variety of different building types.

3. Complicated Structures are Now a Breeze

It’s hard to overstate how much more precise our AutoCAD and Revit deliverables are now that we use 3D laser scanners. We have always been extremely accurate, recording individual measurements to the fraction of an inch and employing multiple redundancies and other As-Built best practices to ensure a quality product. But, to be honest with you, there’s just no equating what can be done with tape measures and simple electronic measuring tools compared to what we can do with 3D laser scanners.

No matter how many measurements we took back in the good old days, we simply couldn’t have collected as much information about your building as a laser scanner can. For a simple building with basic geometry it might not make too much of a difference. But for larger structures and more complex architecture such as curved walls, vaulted or arched ceilings, and non-standard angles, laser scanners provide a whole new level of precision and detail. This increase in total accuracy becomes even more critical when we are creating a comprehensive 3D BIM model from the data captured in the field. This benefit to our customer is yet another reason why we’ve decided to adopt this technology with so much passion.

 

Happy-customer-shaking-hands-with-PPM-surveyor

At PPM, we take great pride in making sure that our customers are comfortable and satisfied with all phases of our service. With the faster location time afforded by 3D Laser scans, our customers are even happier.

4. You Tell Us What You Want and We’ll Deliver

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear already, 3D laser scanning allows us more flexibility to tailor our deliverable to your needs. Because we have so much data gathered for your As-Built survey and because this information is accurate, complete, digital, and portable – we have a wide variety of options for our clients when it comes to the As-Built information we provide.

The 3D “point clouds” generated by a laser scanner can be worked with either in 2D or 3D. Our 2D AutoCAD drawings and 3D Revit models can be created exactly to your specifications and are always designed with your project’s best interest in mind. This means that our customer service and project management outreach is more important than ever. We have a dedicated staff whose primary purpose is to find out exactly what you require, and then create a deliverable that will make your job infinitely easier. Another new option is to deliver the raw data (the point cloud) directly. For those that know how to work with it, the point cloud is an extremely detailed “digital twin” of the building, and can be delivered as soon as the day after the field work.

 

3D Laser Scanners – Good for Us and Great for You!

So, as you can see, 3D laser scanning had really improved the As-Built customer experience in many different ways here at PPM. We are beyond excited to see how this technology will continue to revolutionize our business and provide you with the best As-Built service possible.

Now that you know how 3D laser scanning can improve your customer experience for your remodel projects, I hope you’re as excited about these new developments as we are.

Thanks for reading!

Street Perspective Of Home 3D Laser As-Built Scanner
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How I Finally Learned to Drop the Tape Measure and Embrace the 3D Laser Scanner

How 3D Laser Scanning is Changing The Financials Of As-Built Surveying

For the first 14 years of Precision Property Measurements, it was just a few trusty surveyors and me waking up at 5 AM, Monday through Friday, hopping on the freeway to beat the LA morning traffic, and breaking out our handy measuring tapes, pencils, and paper to collect our clients’ As-Built property measurements. Our “high-tech” equipment was a laser distance meter, but even that high-precision tool can only take 1 measurement at a time. In some ways, I remember those days fondly. It was much more of a physically demanding process back then, and there was something gratifying about coming home each day having put in a number of hours dangling from ladders or scraping through crawl spaces.

If I had the choice, would I go back to those early days?

Probably not, but there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing. Though we do hand measure our clients’ properties from time to time depending on size and scope, over the last 2 years 3D laser scanners have revolutionized the way we do business, both in the field, in the office, and financially.

With that being said, over a series of posts, I’d like to explain how different PPM is today now that we have made a big push into this amazing, revolutionary technology. This first post will be about how 3D laser scanners have transformed the financial dynamics of what we do best: delivering accurate, high-quality As-Built surveys to our clients.

So, if you’d like a behind-the-scenes peak into how one of the top As-Built surveying companies in the country is changing due to this innovation, then please read on.

3D Laser As-Built Survey Showing Hi Angle View

A 3D laser scan can present unique perspectives for architects.

First Things First—What the Heck is 3D Laser Scanning?

MacBooks are to parchment and quill as 3D laser scanners are to tape measures. What I mean is they’re almost not even in the same universe.

To keep it simple, 3D laser scanners shoot… well, lasers in all directions, and whatever the lasers hit gets recorded as a 3-dimensional point for us to decipher later. The laser scanners we use shoot tens of thousands of points per second! So even a small building will generate many millions of data points in very little time. The resulting file containing all of these 3D points is called a Point Cloud file. The next step for us then is to take that point cloud, and through a series of different processes and software applications, create a usable deliverable for our client: Typically, a 2D AutoCAD drawing or a 3D Revit model.

These days, working with point clouds is what we spend quite a bit of our time doing here at PPM. Whereas a couple of years ago, we were creating accurate As-Built plans based on our hand-draw sketches containing individual measurements, now we are working with this incredibly accurate digital point cloud data. The challenge for us is that the point cloud contains everything that the lasers hit – wall decorations, furniture, coffee cups, pets… just look around you right now and you’ll get an idea for everything that can be contained in a point cloud. Our job is to focus on providing only what’s important for our client.

As you can imagine, this dramatic change in our process has been quite an adjustment in how we deal with dollars and cents here at PPM, so, next, I’d like to tell you about the 2 major ways that 3D laser scanning has changed the financials of our company.

Roof Top View By 3D Scanner

3D As-Built scans can provide extremely useful views that previously were difficult to obtain.

“Looks like we’re going to need a bigger equipment budget.”

When I started with PPM back in 2002, it cost about $5,000 to outfit my workers or myself with all of the tools we needed to start on a client’s project. This provided us with the field equipment, which was pretty minimal back then, plus the computer and software we needed in the office to create the finished CAD product.

Now, since the 3D laser scanner came around, we’ve seen quite an uptick in how much overhead we need for our field and office operations.

First, the 3D laser scanners—there are many different units on the market so the price will vary, but the 3D laser scanners that we use cost about $50,000 a piece. That’s right, this single tool is 10x more expensive than our entire kit cost only a couple of years ago.

Second, we need a much more sophisticated and high-powered computer and networking system than what we used back in the good old days, in order to handle all that point cloud data. So, over the past couple of years, we’ve replaced all of our production computers with high-end models, bought new servers and networking equipment, dramatically increased our local and cloud data storage capacity, and we are about to significant upgrade our internet speeds so that we can quickly transfer data to and from our regional offices, field survey crews, and clients.

You might be wondering how we can afford to make these investments without any increases in the rates we charge our clients. Good question. Well, there are more than a few cost advantages of using 3D laser scanners for As-Built surveying, as you’ll see in the next section of this post.

3D-Laser-Scan-House-Roof-Exterior

Architects are enthusiastic about the exterior configurations of homes that are scanned and surveyed with the highest accuracy by 3D laser scanners.

Less Time on Site = Less Time in LA Traffic!

With the adoption and integration of 3D laser scanning into our processes, our productivity has increased dramatically. First off, we save a ton of time in the field. A couple of years ago, to survey a typical Single-Family house, we would have needed 5-7 hours at the site – a full day’s worth of work including travel. Our day in the field used to consist of sketching, measuring, maybe using a laptop to draw on site, and although we were great at it, the process was pretty tedious. Also, because we’re located here in Southern California, we would start at the crack of dawn so we could be done by early afternoon and not have to suffer through endless gridlock.

Now, using a 3D laser scanner, that same house would take maybe 1 to 2 hours in the field – making our time in the field about a quarter of what it used to be. For larger projects which used to take multiple days, this reduction in field time can also save a lot money in travel, as we now only need one trip to the project instead of 2 or 3. It also makes out-of-state projects more financially feasible, since we can save money on hotels, rental cars, and per diem due to our much quicker surveying process.

The other part of the As-Built process, the office work, has not yet seen any significant gains in efficiency, but things are trending in that direction. Currently, it still takes us about the same amount of time as it used to, to take the field data and draft it into AutoCAD or Revit. But we think that over time, as we get better and better at working with point clouds, and new software comes along that help automate different parts of the process, we will see similar gains in our productivity on the backend.

Because of this shift in the process, PPM is working to revamp our labor force. Everyone is learning new skills, and our hiring plan has changed dramatically. Whereas previously the general ratio was one office worker for each field surveyor, now the field work is so efficient that we need 4 to 5 drafters for every surveyor. Just another change like so many others that is brought about by the transformation of our business with 3D laser scanners.

Now, you may be asking yourself…

Point Cloud 3D Laser Scan

The beauty of the point cloud scan rendering is in the details, as well as the colors.

Why Do We Love 3D Laser Scanners So Much?

The answer is simple: We want to deliver the best and most accurate products as we can to our clients, and 3D laser scanners are the perfect way to accomplish this for the foreseeable future. Though overhead costs have increased, and we have to remake our labor force, there have been just as many positive aspects of switching to 3D laser scanning.

For instance, in order to accommodate all of the additional drafters we need to work with point clouds, we’re opening a new office in Salt Lake City, which we are calling our “CAD Command Center”. This move has upped our profile on a national level and will set us up to achieve our Mission of opening at least 8 new Regional Offices by 2025. It will also increase my opportunities to go skiing once winter rolls around.

But beyond all of the financial ups and downs that this new technology has caused us, it’s our commitment to our craft and our clients that informed our decision to adopt such a business-exploding piece of equipment.

At PPM, we’re looking forward to the future and all of the technological developments that will bring our business into the forefront of the 21st century. To us, there’s no improvement without innovation, and we’re glad that we’re placed firmly on the cutting edge of what is sure to be a revolution in the As-Built survey business.

Thanks for reading!