As-Built Point Clouds

"As-Built" Point Cloud Survey and Modeling in Toronto.

Point cloud data has been the foundation of nearly every 3D measurement project in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC). From point cloud data, architects, engineers, and general contractors use the ‘as-built’ condition of the site to create 3D CAD models, BIMs, inspect floor flatness, and validate complex structures. Our state-of-the-art point cloud technology, along with 20+ years of point cloud experience, will reshape your AEC jobs with unmatched accuracy, speed, and safety. 

What is a Point Cloud?

A point cloud is a collection of millions of X, Y, and Z coordinates. Together, these data points form the contours and surfaces of an object or a site in 3D space of the ‘as-built’ condition.  Other important attributes are point cloud intensity and colour.

Point clouds are the product of 3D laser scanning, which is a non-intrusive way to measure buildings, plants, infrastructure, historical sites, and large pieces of equipment. A 3D laser scanner emits laser waves into the environment and records the point once the light bounces off surrounding objects and returns to the sensor, recording the X, Y, and Z coordinates of the objects and features on site. Each scan including millions of points can be captured in a few minutes. 

How 3D laser scanning work

How is a Point Cloud Created?

Applied Precision Site Visit

Step 1

Site Visit

Prior to any scanning on the site, a team of 3D meteorologists will do a site visit to determine where to scan and the time needed for scanning. The scope of the scanning, as well as the hazards, can be identified.

Scanning On Site

Step 2

Scanning On Site

The 3D laser scanner is very portable, fast and precise. It can be carried around the site to set up with the views to measure. 3D meteorologists capture as many views as the project scope requires around the sites. They set up the scanner on the desired spot, and let the scanner rotates around on the top of a tripod to capture the field of view in just a few minutes.

Step 3


Point cloud processing starts once all the views are captured through scanning. In this process, known as registration, the scanning data is imported from the scanner to the software, allowing each scan to be aligned and combined as a comprehensive point cloud. 

In registration software such as Leica Cyclone Register 360, data is processed, refined, and filtered to create a "cleaned" version of the point cloud. Although registration can be automated by the software, some manual input can have quite a significant impact on the overall quality of the output.

Register Process Wp

Step 4


In the modeling process, surfaces and outlines are extracted base on the point cloud. For most AEC applications, point cloud data is converted to 3D CAD models, BIMs, or cross sections.

Pickering 3D Model

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Benefits from 'As-Built' Point Cloud Survey

Higher Accuracy and Data Quality

A survey-grade 3D laser scanner provides unrivalled accuracy for the point cloud survey. The scanner maintains millimetre accuracy at all times. The scanning range starts from 0.5 to 100 metres. All the complex site features which might be improperly documented in hand measurements are well captured by 3D scanning. Taking Point cloud survey from 3D Laser Scanning keep human errors and site revisit at a minimal. 

Quality is important in point-cloud applications. Low-quality data with uneven point distribution, "noises" and "sharpness" is barely usable. A 3D laser scanner is well capable of capturing quality data from its high hardware specifications when it is set and calibrated correctly.

Capture at the Speed of Light

A point cloud survey using 3D Laser Scanning is much more efficient than a traditional site measurement. With one or two surveyors equipped with a 3D laser scanner, they take scans around the site fairly quickly to capture complex site layout and features. Most small to medium-sized buildings and sites can be captured in a single site visit.

Improved On-Site Safety

3D laser scanning minimizes the risk of accessing dangerous sites by having fewer people gather data at a safe distance and the process is completed much faster. Surveyors no longer hand measure the most dangerous areas. In the construction, energy, and mining sectors, this increases safety compliance and reduces work-related injuries on site. 

Point Cloud Applications in Architectural Engineering and Construction (AEC)

BIM Model & Point Cloud

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

In BIM modeling software such as Autodesk Revit, point cloud data can be imported to create BIM models. A BIM model provides the excel level of architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) information. 

Integration of 3D scan point cloud data with current information in a BIM model increases the possibilities for building deconstruction prior to a renovation process. Understanding the specific as-built conditions and components of a building is key before the schematic design stage. 

Heritage Building Preservation in 3D

CAD Model

Once the registration process is complete, the point cloud data can be used to create a 3D CAD model, which is a powerful source for building design, inspection, visual rendering, etc. 

CAD has also been used in the construction industry for the creation of 2D drawings and cross sections to understand each section of the building or site and to create floor plans and elevations based on the data. 

Floor Flatness Check

Check Floor/Concreate Slabs Flatness

Deviation studies can be undertaken with point cloud measurements, showing the positive and negative deviations to examine the flatness (levelness) of the floors and concrete slabs. This allows interpretation of details on complex surfaces and features.

Clash Dectction

Structural Validation

Point cloud data can be captured during or post the construction process to validate and check the positional accuracy of existing building structures, including steel structures, concrete, stone, wooden structures, and many other materials. Discrepancies between the point cloud data and the design model show what needs to be changed on site to meet the idealized model.

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About Applied Precision 3D

With more than 20 years of professional 3D experience, we support digitization in architectural design, construction, custom glass and many other AEC sectors.