Code Cost

August 1, 2018 | Vaughn J. Mantor

Buildings get old, they’re bought and sold, and from time to time remodeled for a new purpose. Any change to the building, if large enough, will trigger an avalanche of other changes to bring the structure up to the current, local, building codes.

Electric service, GFCI , fire suppression, R-value of insulation, lighting, water lines, sewerage, parking, structural requirements, HVAC, and ADA rules are among a long list of code requirements. And the list is much longer in certain places such as California.

Sometimes, the additional expense scuttles the project. A church in Michigan wanted to remodel a large, old US Post Office building into a home for indigents. The cost of bringing the building up to current code sunk the project.

Under the worst circumstances, a failure to meet code is not discovered until late in the project. The cost of such a delay is large and obvious.

Recently, Verify 3D participated in a project for which coming up to code brought some special complexities. Fraternities on college campuses have been around since 1776. Some of the buildings they inhabit are not quite that old, but many ante-date modern building codes.

The project was also constrained by special conditions and circumstances. The buildings are in continuous use year round, and only intermittently available for inspections or measurement. The buildings have lots of small rooms and closets. The buildings include a large kitchen for events.

Maintenance and code upgrades had been lacking for some time. And of course, saving money was paramount for the penurious fraternity.

So how does laser scanning ameliorate Code Cost?

First, scanning can reveal some below-code components that were missed during visual inspections. The laser’s eye sees everything. For example, MEP or HVAC components partially hidden or obscured by low ambient light.

Second, one trip, one complete set of measurements. Did you forget to measure the height of the mirrors or the height of the paper dispensers in public restrooms to make sure they meet ADA requirements? Does the size of a kitchen affect which local code applies? The answers are a few mouse clicks away, not miles away.

Third, the cost of estimating. With complete measurements and images of the structures, it’s much easier for both architects and engineers to estimate the cost of adhering to code. And everyone is working from the same set of accurate measurements; this alone reduces confusion, clerical work, and mistakes.

Fourth, some legal jurisdictions accept point clouds and CAD models as official documents.

While laser scanning cannot eliminate Code Cost, it can reduce the extra expense involved in such circumstances, and maybe save the project.

If you’d like a personal explanation or demonstration of the ways laser scanning can help you, see our contact information below. 

Because we have over seventeen years experience in the technology, we know the most appropriate equipment to use on each project. For this project we used: a Leica P-40 laser scanner and Leica Cyclone software for registration. We converted the data to Recap format and delivered that to the architect to use in Revit per contract.

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