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Heritage Surveys & Digital Twins for Preservation.

The BIM methodology widely used in new projects yields countless benefits in terms of productivity and savings. However, many existing buildings require daily operation, occasional intervention, and periodic maintenance to preserve their useful life and continue fulfilling their mission, whether it’s a housing building, a hospital, a museum, or others.

The significance of preserving buildings of heritage, historical, and cultural importance becomes even more pronounced due to their close relationship with cities and their inhabitants. These structures are not only repositories of symbolic, emotional, and cultural value but also vital links to our collective past. However, they are particularly vulnerable to the passage of time and the inherent fragility of their forms and materials. As such, they face a constant threat, highlighting the urgency and necessity of conserving these cultural assets.

Gonzalo Mejía Building, Medellín, Colombia. Demolished in the year 1967.

3D surveys using point clouds: 

By employing high-precision capture technologies like 3D laser scanners, we can gather geometric information about buildings, monuments, streets, churches, and archaeological sites, providing point clouds and 360 images with comprehensive details of the structure. This enables:

Exact measurement-taking and verification from the point cloud, avoiding common errors that may occur with manual information collection.

Identification of colors, materials, and shapes as if physically present on site.

• Significant reduction in the time required to collect information.

• Greater accuracy in information collection (between 1-3mm).

• Reduction in rework during project execution due to fewer revisits or reprocesses.

Furthermore, digital models can be generated from point clouds, capturing field data in design software along with vital information for building conservation, such as specifications, historical details, and studies, among others. This allows:

Visualization of both graphic and non-graphic information (such as metadata) of the heritage asset in engineering software and web viewers.

Secure and accessible storage and consumption of digital information in the cloud.

• Measurement and quantification of elements.

Verification of designs such as extensions, restorations, and interventions.

Collaboration with stakeholders and digital information flows.

These inputs can be utilized and manipulated to provide numerous benefits and applications for different teams and professionals in the field, including:

1. Heritage building management

Digital twins of heritage buildings enable facility professionals to better understand the space, its details, and its geometry, aiming to preserve vital information in case of accidents, damage, disasters, or attacks. For instance, the Cathedral of Notre Dame’s restoration is being facilitated by a three-dimensional point cloud survey and a digital twin.

2. Modernizations, Reconstruction, Renovation and Extensions.

Accurate building construction models aid in future planning, modifications, renovations, and extensions by providing a reference with precise data. This simplifies the design process and minimizes future work.

3. Improve Life Cycle Management.

Building BIM models help identify the implications of modifications, replacements, or material purchases, facilitating analysis of different materials and systems’ pros and cons in relation to the building’s life cycle.

4. Visualization and Collaboration.

Three-dimensional digital models created from point clouds can be accessed from any smart device with internet access, allowing interaction with 3D objects, annotation generation, measurement-taking, material consultation, and access to metadata, all supported by 2D planimetry.

Gonzalo Mejía Building, Medellín, Colombia. Demolished in the year 1967.


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