Looking For 3d Building Scanning Services
(Read This First)

3d scanned building

Also known as high-definition surveying and reality capture, 3D laser scanning works by using a laser to map out an area with incredible accuracy and speed. This captures the existing condition of the structure, then allows data to be imported into building information modeling (BIM) software.

When looking for 3D building scanning services, understand what you need. From the type of 3D scanner used to the specific requirements of an individual project, it can all greatly impact both the quality and the cost.

Finding the right 3D scanning services can be a daunting task, particularly when some companies charge vastly different prices for the same project. In this article, we will discuss some of what you should look out for when deciding upon your scanning needs.

What To Look For With 3d Building Scanning Services

While 3D building scanning can benefit you greatly, providing detailed and accurate data, not every scanning service is the same. It is important to find the right balance between quality and cost. To do that, you need to be aware of what makes the difference.

Understand the costs. While a general rule of thumb is that time equals money, that is not the only factor, especially when dealing with a competitive marketplace. These are some of the factors that impact scanning costs:

  • Size and reputation of a company
  • Judgment of the estimator
  • Output format
  • Specialization
  • Location
  • Training

It is important to understand each of these factors in detail. When searching for a 3D building scanning service, the more accurately you can communicate your needs, the more likely you are to get exactly what you need at the best price. After all, you only want to pay for what you need.

Size And Reputation

Brand name products cost more, often for a good reason. The same is true for 3D building scanning services. While a large company with a good reputation is likely capable of meeting all of your needs, you need to consider the price. While large companies provide reliability, you may end up paying more just for the name.

Keep in mind these options:

  • Smaller Companies: This includes well-established companies and those trying to enter the market. They will often offer lower prices, especially if they are looking to make a name for themselves.
  • Independent Contractors: While an independent contractor will not have the same resources, they have low overhead and may be able to suit your needs.

What is important to keep in mind when considering size and reputation is whether you need to pay extra for the name or the size. If your needs can be met by a smaller company, you may be able to save. Regardless, do not rule these other options out. Do your research, ask around, and make sure you get the most out of your money.

Judgment Of The Estimator

When estimating costs, 3D scanning companies work off of photos. Using these photos, they must determine how long it will take to 3D scan and 3D model the project. There is no exact tool to determine how long those processes will take, however, leaving the final estimate in the hands of an estimator. While the size and complexity of a project will change the estimation, there are also unique factors to consider. If your project has special requirements or details, make sure to mention them or take pictures. It is important that the estimator knows as many details as possible, allowing them to provide as accurate an estimate as possible.

Output Format

When a company quotes a price, it includes both the scanning service and the deliverable, which is the good or service provided based on the scan. For building scanning, this is a digital model of the building.

The basic steps:

  • 3D scanning to gather point cloud data
  • The importing of that data into the software
  • The use of software to create a digital representation of the building

The step that can make the biggest difference is the final one, the use of software to create a digital representation of the building. That is the final product, the model. You want to know what you are getting because it will impact the price of the service and the quality of the end result.

While we will not go into details, it is important to know what output type you can expect to receive when talking to companies. Ensure that it fits your needs, and keep in mind that lower estimated prices could be an indicator of a less sophisticated output type. It may even be worth doing more in-depth research if you have particular needs.

Specialization, Location, And Training

These three factors are straightforward but deserve to be mentioned. They can not only impact the cost and speed of a project, but they can potentially save you a headache in the long run.

  • Specialization: This refers to the 3D scanning equipment, the modeling software, and the company as a whole. Each scanner has its own set of advantages, suiting different jobs. The same is true of software. Companies that are equipped with the right tools can potentially do the job cheaper and faster.
  • Location: While it is obvious, keeping in mind the location of the companies is important. A local company will not require travel costs and can be more competitive in price compared to others in the area. Keep travel costs in mind when dealing with companies that are not in the area.
  • Training: Do you know how to use the model you will be getting after the job is complete? If not, there are some companies that provide training, ensuring you know how to use the data you paid for. It may be a good idea to discuss this with the companies you reach out to and see what they have to say.

Keep Your Needs In Mind

What to look for in a 3D building scanning service largely depends on what it is you hope to get out of it. Before you begin your research and dig into the local market, decide on your project’s needs. It may even be useful to jot down notes and take pictures for when you begin contacting companies.

  • Size: Know the details of what you need scanned. If you go in with the square footage and some other basic information about the building, you will find it far easier to get answers about what it will cost for you. Also, keep in mind ease of access and site conditions, both of which can impact the time needed and price.
  • Complexity: The overall complexity of a space impacts many things when scanning. It makes the process more time consuming, especially if you have a need for a high degree of detail, which increases costs. Take note of the number of rooms, hallways, and other features to discuss with companies.
  • Quality of Scans: This largely depends on what you intend to do with the information. If you need better resolution and more accuracy, it will take longer and thus cost more.


While 3D building scanning is an incredible tool, there are many considerations for what service fits your needs. Understanding your needs and the scope of your own project will not only make it easier to communicate with the various companies out there, but it will also help you avoid pitfalls.

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