Laser Scanning: A Better Way to Analyze Concrete Slab Flatness

Cyclone-Survey_Floor-Flatness-Elevation-Mapping

Most of the methods used today for conducting slab flatness analysis are manual and labor intensive. Floor flatness/floor levelness (FF/FL), a commonly used method, requires the creation of a grid on the concrete slab following a set of specifications before taking manual readings. Contractors that use the ASTM E1155 standard method for determining floor flatness (FF) and floor levelness (FL) numbers typically take a measurement every foot along the grid lines. Using this method, even small projects often require a substantial amount of time to complete the data collection and analysis. Recently, however, contractors have begun to discover a new way to save a substantial amount of time and money on their projects: laser scanning. 

For all kinds of projects – from renovations to new construction – laser scanning collects rich, complete and highly accurate as-built data to validate existing building documentation to ensure that new construction matches the as-design models, minimizing the risk of change orders. Laser scanning for floor flatness dramatically improves workflows and provides more effective deliverables.

Improved Data Collection and Elevation Mapping

Since scanning captures so many points, users can simply color the cloud in respect to elevation and it will quickly become obvious if there are high or low points in the concrete pour. The extent of the high and low areas can be established and discrete points can be applied to the boundaries.

Because these points maintain their coordinates, they can be uploaded to a total station or multistation and laid out in the field to visually communicate to project stakeholders. The actual volume of cut/fill material can also be computed utilizing the laser scan data.

Faster ASTM E1155 (FF/FL) Analysis

In this analysis, scan data is utilized along with “points on a grid” functionality in Leica Cloudworx for AutoCAD or in Cyclone Survey. These solutions allow concrete contractors to locate gridlines to meet ASTM requirements and apply the elevations from the point cloud data. This data can then be exported to the Leica FF/FL calculator for analysis based on the project specifications.

The scan data can also be used to create a solid surface that can then be compared with the point cloud for fast and accurate cut/fill calculations.

With laser scanning, processes that once took several days can be reduced to a matter of hours while yielding far more accurate data—and better information for your project team.

Watch this video to see how 3D laser scanning can be used to analyze slab flatness with Leica Cyclone Survey:

To learn more about laser scanning for concrete slab flatness analysis, contact us for a consultation.

Cathi Hayes is an architect, building information modeling (BIM) pioneer and strategy leader with more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing workflow improvements in various facets of the building design and construction industry. Early on her career, she established Revit as an industry changing model-based design technology in the architectural design industry. She later served as strategic BIM manager for Autodesk, establishing the company as a primary resource in the US residential, commercial and government markets for design, engineering and construction collaboration to help improve workflows and reduce costs. As BIM strategy and business development director for Leica Geosystems, Cathi focuses on helping building contractors achieve greater success in BIM through the adoption of leading-edge hardware and software solutions that make it easy to move from 2D to 3D workflows and extending the value of BIM into the field. Cathi is a trusted BIM advisor and a leading voice on BIM throughout the North American construction industry. She holds degrees from North Carolina State (BEDA Architecture) and the University of Kansas (PBA). She can be reached at cathi.hayes@leicaus.com.

4 comments

  1. Stephen Adams   •  

    Coloring the mapping makes the data really easy to read. I’ve dealt with maps that are just longitudinal and latitudinal lines. It was really hard to work with in some cases. I enjoyed watching the video to see the coloring in action too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jason Scott   •  

    I like how you said, “Since scanning captures so many points, users can simply color the cloud in respect to elevation and it will quickly become obvious if there are high or low points in the concrete pour”. It is amazing that you can check the concrete surface so easily now! This will save so much time in the future. I would love to use something like this for my company. Where could I learn more about how laser scanning concrete works?

  3. Jason Strong   •  

    I honestly had no idea that technology like this existed. Using lasers to evaluate how flat a surface is such a cool concept to me. I’m interested to see how this technology will change overtime.

  4. Evan Adams   •  

    What is the kit, including software, needed to do this? Every time I look at these lasers they are still 10,000 and up. What equipment t is easy for a flooring contractor? Also, how does this handle a floor that has dust and debris on it? We typicly need a floor withing 1/8″ in 10′. So a small bit of drywall mud can be more than that. Can it average out points by itself or do I have to find every digital drywall mud scan?

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