scan to bim terms you need to know in 2022

Scan to BIM Terms

Breaking down Scan to BIM Terms  

The architecture, engineering and construction industry is moving towards digitization. Digital technologies are gradually replacing traditional techniques and workflow systems in the construction industry. Scan to BIM is one such method, which is currently the talk of the town. Scan to BIM, also known as Field to BIM, is a technology that creates an accurate digital representation of the built asset through laser scanning and Building Information Modeling, otherwise known as BIM. Scan to BIM or Field to BIM revolves around a few other digital techniques that are interrelated and assist the technology to perform effectively.

Below in this article, we will be looking at a glossary of terms and technologies that are directly or indirectly connected to Scan to BIM. We’ll also look at the benefits and the interoperability of the technology or the concept with scan to BIM.

🏠 1. Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Also known as BIM, Building Information Modeling is a concept that bridges people, technology, and processes for the enhancement of building design, planning, and construction.

The holistic process integrates multidisciplinary models to generate a single detailed model of the structure. The BIM model assists engineers, contractors, and architects from the design stage to the handover stage with enhanced construction project management.

BIM is a part of the Scan to BIM process. The field-to-BIM technique scans the physical asset in order to acquire the as-is data in the form of a point cloud. The point cloud data is used for developing a real-time data-integrated virtual model of the facility.

🏠 2. Scan to BIM

Scan to BIM is a process that involves digitally capturing a built asset or a constructed facility in the form of laser-scanned point cloud data, which is then used to create, build, and maintain a 3D BIM model. It is also known as Field to BIM.

The process of scanning, as explained above, is carried out using a high-definition LiDAR scanner. The laser-scanned point cloud data is processed and converted into a data-rich three-dimensional building information model of the structure.

Also Read –  Point Cloud to BIM Conversion

🏠 3. Virtual Design and Construction

VDC or virtual design and construction is the process of simulating each phase of a construction project before the commencement of work on the construction site. VDC enables us to create and manage a multi-disciplinary collaborative BIM model for efficient planning and management of construction activities on site.

BIM VDC is a broad topic to discuss. It allows construction professionals from disciplines to work collaboratively on a virtual platform. The BIM models developed using Scan to BIM are simulated with real-time data. The simulation helps to evaluate the workflow of the construction activities, determining the estimated time and the projected construction cost.

🏠 4. 3D Laser Scanning

3D Laser scanning is a technology that scans the object using laser scanners in order to create a digital representation of the object. Laser rays from the 3D scanner incident on the surface of the object reflect back with precise information such as dimension and appearance, in the form of points, known as the point cloud data.

The point cloud data is digitally processed in software programs in order to form an accurate and data-rich three-dimensional representation of the object. Laser scanning is also used as a modern-day method for surveying the topography.

🏠 5. Digital Twin

A digital twin is a digital replica of the built asset represented virtually. It shows the real-world conditions of the building with simulations of the construction processes and activities. The process of creating a digital twin is known as digital twinning. A digital twin is created by general contractors after the completion of the construction of the civil engineering project. It facilitates construction professionals to visualize the project conditions during the maintenance and renovation phase.

🏠 6. As-built 

An as-built is the as-is design of a built asset that is represented as a 2D plan or a 3D model, digitally. As-builts represent the exact and current condition of the structure accurately and are mostly used for renovation and restoration of a structure.

The Scan to BIM workflow is used to develop as-built BIM models and as-built CAD drawings of the structure. It laser scans the built asset precisely with accurate point-cloud data in order to generate a data-rich 3D Revit BIM model using the scanned data.

🏠 7. 4D Planning and Scheduling

4D is the 4th dimension of the BIM model. The 4th dimension of BIM facilitates the digital construction model with precise scheduling and time-related parameters for construction activities. It helps to streamline the construction activities and facilitates faster project completion.

Using 4D project scheduling, the engineers can integrate time parameters in the 3D Revit model. It facilitates the top-to-toe evaluation of the schedule of construction activities. 4D BIM assists project engineers to optimize the project schedule.

Also Read – 4D BIM Construction Scheduling & Simulation Services

🏠 8. 5D BIM – Cost Estimation & Quantity Take-off

5D BIM is basically adding the cost element into the BIM model. Adding cost to the model gives an approximate idea about the overall budget of the construction project.

5D also facilitates engineers with an overall and activity-wise estimate of the total quantity of building materials to be used for the project.

Cost accuracy is one of the important factors in construction as it plays a vital role during project execution. Using BIM, the gap between the estimated cost and the actual cost of the construction project can be reduced to a great extent.

🏠 9. 6D Sustainability and Energy Consumption

Adding the 6th dimension of BIM represents the energy requirement of the built asset. 6D BIM analyzes the energy consumption for the whole construction project and gives estimated energy calculations in the design stage. Evaluating the energy consumption and illumination during the pre-construction stage provides an estimate of the energy and lighting-related cost. 

🏠 10. 7D Facility Management

It is the 7th dimension of the building information model. Integration of 7D in BIM facilitates the engineers and facility managers with facilities and operation management.

7D BIM collects top to toe information of the built asset. A facility manager utilizes the information to carry out effective and hassle-free maintenance and/or the renovation of the facility.

Also Read – Facility Management Operations

🏠 11. Level Of Development/Detail

lod - level of detail bim












BIM Levels of Development (LOD) is an industry-standard and an integral part of the Building Information Modeling process that defines the details of the geometry of a building at each stage or level. It also represents the complexity of the detail of the project. LOD BIM varies from 100 to 500.

The level of details increases with the increase in numbers. For example, LOD 100 shows the most basic detail about the structure whereas LOD 500 represents a highly detailed BIM model.

Read More:- Level Of Detail & Development (LOD 100 -500) in BIM Modeling Explained

🏠 12. Level Of Accuracy

The Level of Accuracy – LOA, is the measure for acceptable tolerance of errors in a building information model. The LOA number represents the accuracy level of a BIM model. LOA 10 is a model with the least accuracy. It is used as a rough measurement.

The tolerance range of errors in LOA 10 is between 5 cm to 15 cm. LOA 50 represents the highest level of accuracy of a BIM model. The range of acceptable errors is between 0 mm to 1 mm. LOA 20 to LOA 30 is the most commonly used range for scan-to-BIM workflows.

Use BIM Automation to Automate Modeling and Design Activities

🏠 13. Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

Computer-Aided Design, abbreviated as CAD, is a process to create 2D and 3D designs of real-world objects digitally. In civil engineering, CAD design and drafting services are used to create different types of building drawings and plans for a structure.

The Scan to BIM process delivers the as-built documentation of the constructed facility. The as-built documents can be in the form of CAD drawings or BIM models. So, we can say that CAD drafts are also a part of Scan to BIM and are interrelated in a way to the technology, assisting the construction and maintenance of the built asset.

🏠 14. Clash Detection

Clash detection is a process of identifying intra and interdisciplinary hard, soft and workflow collisions among various disciplines such as architecture, structure and MEP. Later on, the identified clashes are resolved digitally using software programs like Navisworks and Revit.

Clash detection and resolution help to resolve the probable errors during the pre-construction stage in order to carry out hassle-free construction.

🏠 15. BIM Implementation Plan

A BIM Implementation Plan, BIP, is a document assisting construction professionals in recognizing all of the many benefits that come with applying BIM in the various phases of the construction project throughout its lifecycle.

When we talk about a BIM Implementation Plan, it assists project managers in keeping construction activities on track. It enables effective management of the project, ultimately saving time and the overall cost of the construction project.

🏠 16. BIM Execution Plan

A BIM Execution Plan (BEP/BXP) is a complete construction document that assists the project team in recognizing and executing the function that BIM plays in the various stages of construction management throughout the project lifecycle.

It facilitates the construction project managers and engineers throughout the lifecycle of the construction project from the design and planning stage to the handover.

🏠 17. COBie

Construction Operations Building Information Exchange or COBie is an international standard governing the exchange of information on managed assets, such as space and equipment. It is strongly related to approaches to the design, development, and management of built assets based on BIM.

COBie is basically a sheet containing the same information as in the BIM model. The BIM model represents the data digitally in a model format whereas the COBie represents data in a sheet format.

Also Read – COBie & its Relation to BIM

🏠 18. Common Data Environment

The Common Data Environment (CDE) for BIM is a single source of information for the entire team involved in the project. It is used to collect, organize, and distribute construction documentation, the graphical model, and other non-graphical project data.

Having a centralized repository of information enhances communication among team members and helps to eliminate duplication of efforts and errors in data entry.

🏠 19. Industry Foundation Classes

IFC, Industry Foundation Classes is an object-based open file format, developed and managed by building SMART. IFC enables inter-operability and hassle-free sharing of information and data of the construction project between different software programs.

🏠 20. Revit Families

Scan to BIM Revit - The Ultimate Guide to Scan to BIM


Revit families are a cluster of 2D and/or 3D block-type elements that assist BIM modelers in the creation of a BIM model of a structure or an asset. Further, the Revit families are classified as system families, loadable families and in-place families.

Some examples of Revit families are doors, windows, furniture items, etc. Customized Revit families can also be created as per the requirements of the clients.


Scan to BIM is a technology that enables construction engineers and BIM experts to develop highly accurate building information models and as-built documentation through precise laser scanning. In this article, we learnt about the 20 important terms and concepts that revolve around Scan to BIM technology. These terms are interrelated to each other and are frequently used in combination with scan to BIM. Through this article, we’ve got basic knowledge about various terminologies such as VDC, BIM, 3D laser scanning, LOD, LOA, and more. It further helps the construction stakeholders to work collaboratively and seamlessly throughout the construction project lifecycle.