Focus On: 3D and BIM Technologies with Alastair MacColl

Posted on October 17th, by Kathryn Kutchel in Events, News, Our people.

Following on from Taylors latest tradeshow attendance at the Melbourne AIS Equinox, we took a moment to sit down with licensed surveyor and 3D Modelling and BIM Manager, Alastair MacColl, to understand the innovative technology that is currently being presented to the architectural sector by the geospatial industry, and how attending this event has increased Taylors exposure to their architectural customers.

What do you think is the key message that you want the audience here to take away from this event?
Our focus at this event was on technology so we really want the attendees to know that the technology is available to them, it’s accessible and its pretty affordable.

This presentation was a little bit different to some of those you’ve done in the past, how do you feel that the audience responded to this presentation?
It’s a little different to presentations we’ve done previously, it’s a different scale, different setting, and I think the audience members really enjoyed the presentation, they seemed to be engaged with the case studies that were presented and were really interested in the tech.

You brought up engagement, there were a lot of questions at the end of it with a lot of people staying back to talk to you, was it the same sort of questions that you normally get or something a little bit different?
Much along the same, people that were new to the technology wanted to know more about it, how they could use it, how much it costs, how to apply it to their projects, so nothing that we haven’t seen before. One of the questions that always comes up at these events is around cost, although it’s difficult to give just blanket costs because every project is different. Really the message that we were telling our architectural customers is that often it’s not as expensive as they think it is. Simply because of the time saving, and the efficiency gains that you get from the technology, for example, we may spend less time in the field and more time in the office doing laser scanning survey as opposed to traditional survey which is more time in the field and less time in the office [but] on balance, it can often be practically the same.

Based on that, would you encourage others to attend these sorts of events in the future?
Yeah, I think these events for other Taylors employees are really great for getting them exposed to their customer base.

How do you think Taylors will benefit from presenting here?
I think the exposure that it gives us to our architectural client base was a direct conversation we had with our clients and it was really great to get their feedback directly from the floor.

Is that a different type of exposure than we normally get with our client base?
Yeah typically we often are part of a consultant team and architects are part of that, all working for a common development customer and so, sometimes there’s not that direct conversation feed that we have with those architects.

What in particular did you think was different about this event and this audience?
This event, I guess, the exhibitors at the event are companies that are producing products for architectural build and so, Taylors being there as a service provider is a little bit different and it’s outside the normal settings that we might be presenting at, which are the industry events or surveying events and so I think for both the attendees and for us it was something a little different and a little bit interesting and certainly outside what was the norm for the exhibitors around us.

We’ve talked a lot about the presentation itself, but also, we’ve got the booth here at the event, how do you think the feedback from the booth has gone?
Really great! People love seeing tangible examples of the technology, so they love seeing the images and the videos of the technology, the VR headsets are something tangible they can take away and use at home or at work and a great display of what we have on offer.

What relationships do you think Taylors is building by being at Equinox?
Certainly relationships with the architectural market, so talking and having dialogue with our architectural clients.

What expertise and solutions is Taylors showcasing here?
We’ve put the focus on a couple of our technologies that we think are relevant, which are Scan to BIM which is a concept where we undertake laser scanning surveys and then create 3D models from those laser scanning surveys

I’ve been at the booth with you today and a lot of the questions that have come up from the architects and graduate designers are around the models and the technology around it, so it seems like for most of these people they’ve had a small exposure to it or worked with it in a very basic sense but they were very interested in the extent of the technology and what we were doing with it at Taylors. For those who have worked with it or have got some sort of knowledge with it, what do you think the big difference with Taylors is and why they were so interested in what we’re doing with the technology?
I think they were interested in the tangible examples of how they can apply that technology to their project, so a lot of them commented to me that they were aware of laser scanning and point clouds. They had dabbled in it but weren’t quite aware of how to apply to their projects and by seeing those examples and how we use the technology just gave them ideas for their own future projects.
One comment that came up quite frequently was that the architects were impressed that we were modelling natively in Revvit which means that they didn’t need to receive a 2D survey plan and interpret that themselves and create a 3D model in-house’ it means that they simply received that from the surveyor, they were comfortable with the data, they were happy it was reliable and it allowed them to start doing what they love doing which is design rather than capturing existing conditions.

I noticed that come up actually, so the 3D models that we capture and then for example build in Revvit and then pass along to our clients, how is that different to what they would traditionally get?
They traditionally receive what we would call a 2D drawing, so simply lines and text on a PDF plan, and then it was up to them to interpret that plan and build a 3D model from scratch basically using the dimensions that show on that 2D plan. We are sort of doing that work for them and in fact we’re bypassing that step, so by using laser scanning and modelling in Revvit we are simply providing a full 3D model of the existing conditions that allow us then to use that as a base and start their design work, they don’t need to spend the time recreating those existing conditions from 2D measurements measured by a surveyor traditionally.

So would you say that rather than the surveyor interpreting a 3D space into a 2D plan and an architect translating the 2D plan back into a 3D object, the surveyor is instead just interpreting a 3D object into another 3D object?
Correct yes, and so we’re bypassing the traditional workflow which is no longer relevant or required. It’s actually a more comprehensive and accurate way of presenting the data.