How much does 3D laser scanning cost in Australia?

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3d laser scanning cost in australia

Cutting-edge 3D laser scanning technology has revolutionised the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries across the world, including Australia. Architects, engineers and builders can now incorporate 3D models into their workflows easily thanks to these lightweight, portable technologies. With so many advantages and features up it’s sleeve, we get frequently asked by our clients – How much does 3D laser scanning cost in Australia? 

With a 3D laser scanner you can generate accurate 3D model replicas of real world environments and also use these to develop 2D plans and drawings. These models are then used for designing concept models, project blueprints, worksite prototypes and more. 

3D laser scanning is also used by architects for detecting design errors, on site project defects and resolving them throughout the project, rather than on completion. This saves contractors a lot of time and money that would otherwise be wasted in unnecessary rework, and rectification.

If you are an AEC venture looking for 3D laser scanning for architects, this blog is for you. Here, I will be discussing some factors that affect the price and how to calculate 3D laser scanning cost per square foot for a typical project requirement.

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Our Project Portfolio
A few of our past projects from our years of experience of working with 100+ clients in AEC Industry carrying out 3D Laser Scanning, modelling, volumetric calculations, aerial inspections, mapping & contour surveys, aerial land surveying, photomontage and much more.

How much does a 3D laser scanning survey cost per square foot? 

3D laser scanning costs range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands and the cost depends largely on the scale, size and shape of the structure you want to laser scan. If the area to be scanned is outdoors the size, area and height of the area to be scanned are key factors that affect the cost. This is determined at the briefing stage and its important to understand your project needs and outcomes.

Usually the 3D laser scanning cost of a building is calculated per square meter, however some surveyors will fix rates depending on the size of the project.

Note that the cost per square meter to laser scan doesn’t include additional services such as point cloud modelling, drafting, site analysis or reporting.

Factors that affect 3D laser scanning cost of an AEC Project

On site laser scanning is calculated on an hourly basis. The 3D laser scanner (also known as LiDAR scanner) comes equipped with high precision sensors that require regular maintenance and calibration. 

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 3D scanning is more expensive than the traditional surveying methods. In several cases, based on the space being scanned, LiDAR scanners are mounted on commercial drones to carry out an aerial 3D laser scanning survey. You can find more about costing of drone services in this blog – How much do drone services cost in Australia?

While there is nothing typical about an AEC project requirement, due to the wide range of applications of 3D laser scanning technology, it is quite tricky to calculate 3D laser scanning cost for a typical AEC project requirement with some generic assumptions.

Well, we will try to answer this by discussing some factors that we consider when calculating the quote for a new 3D laser scanning project. 

1. Site/object dimensions

The first thing we consider is the size and structure of the space to be measured. We will need many scans to cover the space from all angles to accurately create a 3D model with accurate dimensions. 

The number of scans required depends on the size of the space or object. The bigger the space (such as a warehouse or large construction area) the more scans we’ll need. Plus buildings above three stories also require more complex positioning of the laser scanner and can involve an EWP (elevated work platform) that adds to the cost estimate for the 3D laser scanning survey.

The next factor we consider is the texture of the surface. Usually basic surfaces are easier to scan like walls and roofs. Scanning rugged terrain, pipelines, roads full of potholes, pits, debris etc. is more complicated.

A typical scan-to-model project starts from $2500 which would include the following:

  • Commute expenses up to 30km from major CBD are of any city in Australia
  • Qualified 360 scanner/camera operator fees
  • Point cloud processing, registration, conversion and quality control
  • File conversion to clients preferred formats
  • 3D Revit Model generation (.rvt) from point cloud
  • Delivery of Data via a secure cloud link to as hard copy
  • Optional quantities and schedule of materials
  • On Request – 2D Floor Plans/Drawings, Elevations, Sections, Roof Plans, in Revit, AutoCAD (rvt, dwg or pdf)
  • On Request – Feature and Level Survey to AHD
  • On Request – Web hosted portal for 3D visualisation and team collaboration
While a Scan To BIM project starts from $2500 with similar inclusions as listed above.
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2. 3D laser scanning technology 

There are different types of 3D scanning technologies, each with their fair share of pros and cons. 

Selecting the right 3D scanner and scanning methodology ensures that you get the best result from the laser scanning without extra hassles. 

So, how do we select the right 3D scanner and scanning methodology for your project? As always, the devil lies in the details! 

For instance, if you want to scan a warehouse building with a small number of adjoining offices and rooms then a scanner with lower range and wider scan range will be suitable. This would save on cost and would cover the entire building with one surveyor with a scanner and surveying equipment to capture the project. 

However, if you want to scan a road bridge with complex steelwork we need to use a scanner with longer range, higher fidelity and more dense point cloud data. This adds cost in the form of more staff with a more complex scanning methodology plus a higher data load to manage and manipulate.

A 3D Virtual Tour of a site starts from $1500 and this typically covers the following:

  • Commute expenses up to 30km from major CBD area of any city in Australia.
  • Qualified 360 scanner/camera operator fees
  • Virtual tour processing, hosting, annotations and quality control 
  • File conversion and hosted via secure weblink
  • On Request – 2D Floor Plans/Drawings, Elevations, Sections, Roof Plans, in Revit, AutoCAD (rvt, dwg or pdf)
  • 3D Revit Model (.rvt) from point cloud
  • Client logo and branding on the end output deliverable files
  • Optional quantities and schedule of materials
  • On Request – Defect annotations and icons within virtual tour
  • Web hosted portal for 3D visualisation and team collaboration
While a Scan To Cloud project requirement would start from $1600 which would cover Point cloud processing, registration, conversion, quality control and file conversion and cloud sharing with clients in their preferred file formats.

Here are some more explanation of the process of 3D laser scanning you should know about:

3. Structured light scanning 

Structured 3D scanning involves projecting multiple light patterns on the object to measure its dimensions. To take one shot, the scanner and camera has to move around the object covering it from multiple angles. 

This process is a little time consuming and has a relatively smaller range of vision. Also structured lighting is not ideal for scanning highly reflective surfaces like mirrors. This is because the laser light bounces back from the object creating noise in the point cloud that has to be removed.

However, this type of scanning ensures greater accuracy and works well for smaller objects.

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4. Laser scanning

Laser scanning uses millions of lines of laser light to scan the area or object and measures the time to return the laser beam then saves it as data points into a 3D replication called a point cloud

These point clouds are exported and digitally converted to 3D replication of the space or object using CAD or BIM software

Laser scanning is ideal for larger spaces or objects where you need to measure with accuracy that would otherwise take a long time to first measure and then draw into a 2D plan or 3D model.

Laser scanners also perform millions of precise measurements in all directions at a faster rate without human errors.

5. How long does 3D laser scanning take? 

Laser scanners work a lot faster when compared to standard surveying methods. For instance, scanning a 1000 sq ft room manually will take a couple of days, with a laser scanner it will take half a day

3D laser scanners work both indoors and outdoors, in pits and confined spaces, in roof spaces and in total darkness. The longer it takes to perform the 3D laser scanning survey on a specific site, the higher the cost of the project.

For more details on cost and the myriad of applications for laser scanning, contact our surveying professionals today. 

At Avian Australia, we believe in providing data-driven business solutions tailored to your unique project needs. Our industry specific knowledge and expertise will ensure a tailored solution that delivers benefits and results above expectations.

Book in a no obligation consultation with the team at Avian Australia to discuss a customised laser scanning project plan for your project.

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