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Grandeur Renewed

March 26, 2019 | Vaughn J. Mantor

Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Herbert Hoover all traveled to the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, as did a passel of celebrities, since the hotel opened in 1893. Built by a silver magnate and designed to mimic the principle mansion of the Medicis, the property overflows with 19th century opulence.

So why use laser scanning on such a property?

The new owner must deal with some complex issues. How can the hotel improve the services, features, and amenities of the property without marring its 19th century style or affecting its status on the registry of historic places? The owner needed an architecture and design firm that specializes in such properties. Johnson Nathan Strohe (JNS) of Denver accepted the challenge, and the Hotel Colorado chose Verify 3D to laser scan the hotel and build a Revit model. To save money.

Laser scan viewer (TruView Cloud) showing a portion of the lobby of the hotel. The yellow pyramid shows the location of another point cloud scan. This tool allows measurement, markup, and 3D visualization of the project from any common device. This reduces site visits.


It’s a much faster trip from the home of the design team in Denver to the Hotel Colorado than it was in Teddy Roosevelt’s day. Nevertheless, any uncertainties in length, area, volume, or in design or décor, in any room, forces a day-long trip for the architects, et al., and the trip is possible only if the room is currently unoccupied. The same logic applies to all engineering questions about the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC conditions. When one considers the out-of-pocket costs and the wasted travel time, it takes only a few such trips to exceed the cost of laser scanning. The scanning data and CAD model answer almost all such questions in a moment or two with a few clicks and drags.

Another money saver: For such a project, the designers and architects need an accurate as-built on which to draw their new designs. In this project, they must also pay close attention to the historic nature of the hotel and even the existing furnishings. The Revit model supplied by Verify 3D, combined with the point cloud, meets this need. Did you know you can bring the point cloud into Revit to see all the details of architecture and décor overlaid with the Revit model? Such flexibility reduces the number of design iterations. This feature does the same for the engineering work. For example, the image below of the exterior shows the point cloud and model together.

Point cloud overlay with Revit as-built model.

Another money saver: Construction on the Hotel Colorado broke ground in 1891, and a lot has changed since then. Over the years many improvements have been made; this latest upgrade is not an exception. The laser scanning makes all such changes faster and less expensive. Accurate information from the laser scan and model help the architects and engineers resolve the conflicts between competing needs more quickly.

When historic buildings are modified, the owners must follow special rules to document the changes. The use of laser scanning makes adhering to these additional requirements much easier and less expensive.

When the accounting is complete, the owners will have saved from three to ten times the cost of laser scanning and modeling. We have found this ratio to be consistent over the 17 years we’ve been working in this technology.

No scanning project would be complete without at least one peculiarity. The Hotel Colorado was no exception. Built for the wealthy and the notables of the day, at a time when domestic servants were common, the hotel’s design makes each room unique. You can stay in the Roosevelt Suite or the Molly Brown (the “unsinkable” lady who survived the Titanic) Suite among others. A long way from the dull uniformity of modern hotels. The uniqueness of each room required Verify 3D to scan nearly every room and bathroom. Only two rooms out of 130 were not scanned when the hotel was experiencing high occupancy.

If you’d like a personal explanation or demonstration of the ways laser scanning can help you, give us a call (406-780-0798) or click “here

If you’d like to speak with one of our clients about our work, please click “here

Because our experience in this technology dates back to 2002, Verify 3D knows the most appropriate equipment to use on each project and how to use it for the best benefit to our clients. For this project we used a Leica P-30 and Leica Cyclone software for registration. Per contract, Verify 3D delivered ReCap point clouds, TruViews, and a 3D Revit model. Most of the delivered model was created at Level of Development (LOD) 200.

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