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University Buildings - Geomatics Surveys

Edinburgh, UK

project overview

Informing feasibility studies through scans to BIM of historic buildings

The University of Edinburgh has several historic buildings making up its site, each including extravagant halls and decorative details, demonstrating grandeur to their visitors.

These buildings include the Teviot Building; Assembly Building and New College; the Chrystal Macmillan Building; Minto House; and the Hugh Robson Building. These buildings are of a similar type, age, and architectural style, with the exception of the Chrystal Macmillan Building, which is modern.

The Teviot Building, for example, is a significant and prominent Category A listed building, built between 1876 and 1886. It is a three-storey, purpose-built university complex in 15th century Italian Renaissance style, and previously housed the Medical School. It is the current location of the University’s Anatomical Museum.

The Category B listed Minto House and Malting Building is both an important part of the university and wider city, originally built to house the extra-mural medical department for women.

We were asked to complete surveys of each building to inform feasibility studies for the redistribution of accommodation throughout the University estate.

Campus Buildings From above
3D Modelling of the Campus
The Teviot Building’s components
3D Modelling of the Teviot building

Geomatic scans

University of Edinburgh scans

Geomatic scan of the Teviot Building, Chrystal Macmillan Building, and Hugh Robson building from above and without the roof.

3D modelling of the Teviot Building, Chrystal Macmillan Building, and Hugh Robson buildings on campus.

Internal components of the Teviot Building.

The complete 3D model of the Teviot Building’s exterior.

scan to bim

Creating highly detailed 3D models to highlight key features

The surveys were used to inform a programme of sensitive refurbishment and retrofit, supporting a series of departmental relocations and reorganisations. As one department relocated, the vacated space was sensitively altered and reconfigured to enable other departments to move. This also helped the university to maximise the benefit it gains from its estate.

For each building, we carried out scan to BIM surveys, providing a range of services including comprehensive and highly detailed 2D drawings, floorplans, and internal and external elevations. We extracted detailed plans, elevations, and sections from the information gathered. Each building was developed to BIM Level 3.

For example, at Minto House, we carried out laser scanning, captured topographical data, created a 3D topographical model, and extracted 2D AutoCAD elevations and floorplans from the 3D model. We created a digital portal to allow the University to access the data through a portable drive. The 3D Revit modelling took a significant amount of time, with up to three geomatic surveyors working on it at any one time.

All structural and decorative items were captured through laser scanning, and the 3D models were built on a phased basis. These began with the structural and decorative elements, with MEP information added at a later date.

challenges and solutions

Carrying out complex surveys while minimising disruption

As data sets grew in volume, the creation of the models grew more complicated. Due to the size of the data sets, it was critical that we considered how the university wanted the data to be stored and handled.

The surveys were also carried out while the university was in session, adding a further level of complexity. To prevent disruption to normal operations and student body, we worked before and after lectures finished, liaising with various stakeholders, to ensure that all university operations were considered and factored into the programme. This included lectures, seminars, exams and administrative functions.

All deliverables were achieved on time, to the required high-quality, and to the university’s complete satisfaction.


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