The Architect's Journey to accurate BIM

Many headaches, errors, and awkward negotiations later

May 31, 2022
New York, USA
The TLDR: 
  • Use BIMIT
  • If you’re a smart architect, drag-and-drop your registered your point cloud into the site—and get a standardized LOD 200 BIM of your existing conditions.
  • You’ll save money, time, sanity—and while driving your firm towards the BIM-based promise land.
  • For even smarter architects, use BIMIT to increase your firm’s profitability.


BIMIT launched for architects and engineers needing to streamline the process of creating accurate existing conditions plans.

Matt, an architect at a New York City-based firm (and early BIMIT supporter) identified the root of an industry-wide problem:

Recreating existing conditions is not a value-add a task for a designer. It’s not why a Client would hire us. But it’s a necessary step to get to through the design phase efficiently. We want something that helps us maximize the project time we are given to focus on the design opportunities.

Where the project (and problem) starts for Matt

Matt’s architecture firm has just been hired by a well known Tech Company to design a 20,000 square foot office space—it’s going to be a new hybrid headquarters 🎉😁

To start the new renovation project, Matt needs accurate information on the current state of the space—the existing conditions (#currentsituation). 🤔

It’s unlikely that the Client has accurate, trustworthy existing conditions drawings for Matt to start using for his basis of design.

So Matt talks to the Client, who then talks to the owner of the building, the Landlord, in hopes that maaaybe they have accurate existing conditions drawings 🙏

They don’t 😢

The Landlord ain’t helping Matt

To no surprise, the Landlord hasn’t updated their existing conditions plans since the last renovation 7 years ago. Since then, the space has changed significantly—walls have been demolished for the former tenant, two additional bathrooms were added, the egress path has changed, and the HVAC ducts are routed to provide cooling for only 36 occupants.

The conclusion is common and predictable—and Matt has to break it to the Client: we need an existing conditions survey to start the design with accurate information 😅

After losing a few days, the Client now has to spend more money to cover—an avoidable—misstep.

Matt can’t start the project’s schematic design or design development phase without confirming site conditions. To avoid wasting more time, the Client reluctantly adds “existing conditions” to Matt’s original scope of work 😠

At this point, the project has started off on the wrong foot since the Client didn’t originally factor the cost of an existing conditions survey (probably, because the Client and Matt assumed the plans provided by the Landlord were up-to-date.)

Because existing conditions isn’t a service Matt’s firm specializes in (nor wants to take the liability for), he decides to subcontract this portion of the scope to a consultant—usually a surveyor providing existing conditions surveys.

Enter the Surveyor

Matt calls up his preferred surveying company, SCAN-TO-BIM INC. At $0.50 - $1.50 per square foot, the surveying company can perform two costly but necessary services: 3D site scanning and 3D modeling. These services would provide Matt the necessary files to be used as accurate backgrounds for his basis of design.

A Money Issue

The Problem? When the Client reluctantly agreed to an added “existing conditions” scope, they only provided Matt a “just-get-it-done” budget of $6,000, or $0.30 per square foot—less than half of what SCAN-to-BIM INC normally charges.

Without a sufficient budget and time still ticking, Matt has two options:
  1. Go back to the Client and admit he didn’t budget correctly…
  2. Or plead with SCAN-TO-BIM INC to perform services at his lower budget of $6,000.

After Matt’s honed his best “Chris Voss negotiation tactics,” SCAN-TO-BIM INC reluctantly agrees to perform surveying services for $6,000 (in exchange for a promise of future work, of course 🙄)…

First: a 3D site scan

SCAN-to-BIM Inc. uses a LIDAR-based camera to digitally capture the space in the form of a point cloud--essentially, a large file format made up of millions of points. Cool, but why does Matt need a point cloud? He doesn't, really.

Second: a 3D model

(or a BIM, building information model)

Scan-to-BIM Inc then takes the point cloud file and traces over it within their design authoring software, which is most likely Autodesk Revit.

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