Subsurface Information Modeling (SIM) and 3D Laser Scanning Provides More Accurate Building Information Models (BIM), Increases Safety and Boosts Project Efficiency and Profitability

Orlando, FL – Universal Engineering Sciences® (UES), a national leading engineering and consulting company, is adding a new service to its breadth of offerings – Virtual Design Consulting – that will increase safety, reduce risk, and help all parties involved in complex construction projects maximize profitability and limit change orders. UES, which was recognized as the fastest growing AEC firm in the U.S. and Canada in 2021, is leveraging sophisticated subsurface information modeling, advanced geophysics, and 3D laser scanning with mixed reality applications to package its Virtual Design Consulting services and help all aspects of a construction project – often before a building is constructed.

Example of a 3D Subsurface Information Model (SIM) with UAV laser
scan for context.

3D digital models of building components, project sites, and subsurface utilities help architects, engineers, and contractors – UES’ primary clients for Virtual Design Consulting – visualize and manage workflow and team organization and deliver more accurate models and reports of below ground structures at the start of any design-construction project.

“This innovative service will allow BIM to be more robust by providing accurate subsurface information that creates a true total asset model. We’re filling a void in the AEC industry by seamlessly combing both subsurface and above ground building information,” said UES Director, Virtual Design Consulting James Slusher, P.E. “This service line is a critical addition to UES’ diverse set of consulting services that will allow the company to serve even more projects from start to finish across areas of the U.S. that are experiencing tremendous development growth.”

Virtual Design Consulting from UES is initially focused on three core areas of expertise: subsurface utility engineering (SUE), subsurface information modeling (SIM), and 3D laser scanning, which integrates SIM and building information modeling (BIM) in a way that has never before been widely offered to the AEC industry.

Example of a mobile laser scan of a large manufacturing building.

SIM is the process of creating digital replicas of below-ground structures like utilities, voids, and bedrock that can be surveyed above grade. It is essentially the inverse of BIM, a standard practice in the industry that generates digital representations of a structure’s physical characteristics.

By combining SIM with BIM, Universal Engineering Sciences can provide a full-service offering that makes total asset models of above- and below-ground structures more accurately while also integrating geotechnical and structural information. The Virtual Design Consulting team uses techniques that involve advanced geophysics, surveying, laser scanning, and 3D modeling with equipment that far exceed the sophistication of traditional ground-penetrating radar. Some benefits of integrating SIM into the BIM process include:

  • Analyzing potential conflicts with above- and below-ground structures
  • Creating reliable 3D digital records of underground utilities
  • Reducing soft-digging excavations
  • Limiting costly shutdowns from utility strikes
  • Assessing void and sinkhole locations
  • Gathering rock rippability data
  • Minimizing change orders and delays
  • Lowering construction risk

Universal Engineering Sciences expects Virtual Design Consulting services to help increase site safety and boost a construction project’s overall efficiency and profitability.

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