Realserve Pty Ltd Australian Property Surveys and Measurement Logo
Read our case study about the benefits of using BIM for Hotel Design and Refurbishment to improve efficiency and reduce costs of construction

Case Study: The Benefits Of BIM For Hotel Design And Refurbishment


Building Information Modelling (BIM) involves the utilisation of a 3D digital model to manage documentation on a project before, during and after construction. It allows multiple professionals to collaborate on one file, thus saving time, money and potential conflicts by having all documentation in one easily accessible and continually updated model. BIM provides a digital description of every physical aspect of a built asset, enabling architects, engineers and construction professionals to plan, design and manage infrastructure efficiently, without doubling up on documentation.

Building Information Modelling improves team collaboration and workflow efficiency on large scale projects. In order to assist with the adoption of these modern workflows, Realserve provides Scan to BIM Services. With offices in each state across Australia and a team of surveying experts ready to help improve your workflow efficiency with BIM, Realserve can generate the initial digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a property, like a hotel or shopping centre.

Realserve creates the initial BIM model by capturing the real world existing conditions of a site with 3D laser scanning technology to then produce a detailed 3D model, ready to work from. We are often asked ‘where is BIM used’ and suggest that it is suitable for any building where you want to capture real-world existing conditions using 3D laser scanning and have that information available for utilisation via modern workflows.

A BIM model provides accurate representations of all characteristics of a building for use across various teams – including those in the: design, fit out, architecture, engineering and construction fields. BIM is used in the construction and management of buildings by providing the insights and tools needed to efficiently plan, design, construct and manage a property. In Australia, this high-level use of BIM is increasing in popularity, but not yet considered to be widely used.


Building Information Modelling (BIM) improves team collaboration and workflow efficiency on large scale projects. Recently, Realserve provided what we refer to as Scan to BIM Services, for a Brisbane based architectural firm that works on large scale refurbishments and fit outs for hotels and pubs across Australia. The architectural firm had been contracted to refurbish and fit out a hotel located across the country in Adelaide, South Australia.

Previously the designers had used their own resources to prepare survey documentation but this project was located in another state, thus Realserve was engaged. The architect and fit out design team wanted to take advantage of the key fundamentals of BIM so they could use building information modelling to collaborate and communicate effectively across different stakeholders in the design phase of their project. Realserve was engaged for our Scan to BIM service, utilising our local expertise in dealing with as-built, cadastral and topographic property surveys to provide an as-built BIM model to work from.

With more and more professionals adopting the modern workflow that BIM offers, Realserve has been looked to for our leadership in 3D Reality Capture services to collect existing conditions data in the form of a point cloud (e57, or rcp file), to then create the subsequent BIM Model which is used as a basis for BIM Management in refurbishment projects.


BIM becomes important on large scale construction projects as it improves team collaboration and workflow efficiency that can lead to cost & time savings. Ultimately, architectural design processes that have traditionally been quite manual can now be collaborative, enabling architects, engineers, trades and builders to document and view information on one platform. BIM helps to unify this data and keep all the documentation up to date if changes are made, by having it all collated in one model.

When used to its fullest effect, BIM allows each specialist to access information in the format that they need while eliminating timely and costly data duplication. The use of a single dataset means that edits made in one format are automatically propagated throughout the system, removing the need to update different drafts as plans progress and minimising potential for errors.

Taking this approach means it removes the need to manually reproduce documents whether that is a schedule, diagram, drawings or 3D model, instead they can be rendered from the BIM database.
BIM delivers:

  • Greater integration during the design phases of construction
  • Teams can work more collaboratively
  • Time is saved from cross-checking documentation and files
  • Specialists can provide input across all areas of a project
  • Development time for plans are reduced
  • The improved workflows reduce errors and conflicts

The adoption and implementation of BIM workflows is increasing across Australia, with some local government bodies requesting that as a minimum, 3D models are produced to document as built and proposed conditions, on large scale projects located in the city when they’re over a certain size and dollar value. The uptake of BIM processes by one professional architectural, engineering or construction professional typically requires the same from their collaborators, thus leading to a shift in the industry in recent times.


The conventional method for an architect to commence this type of hotel refurbishment project would be to use a handheld laser measurer, field notes and site photos to capture the building’s existing conditions. This manual process can lead to inaccuracies and take much longer to produce the required outputs. Combining traditional and modern survey technology gives stakeholders precise data in an efficient manner, so that design can commence, relevant development approvals can be obtained, and construction can be completed.

Realserve has the expertise in cadastral surveying and as-built documentation to provide clients with a complete set of data, ready to commence their project. We use a combination of building measurement technology solutions that deliver greater accuracy, improve turnaround times & help facilitate the design process and in this case, the BIM collaboration process. On this project we utilised:

  • Total Stations (Manual & RTS – Robotic Total Station)
  • GNSS (Global Navigational Satellite Systems)
  • Leica BLK 360 – 3D Laser Scanner
  • Faro 3D Laser Scanners
  • Cyclone Register 360
  • Revit
The steps we took to aid in the implementation of 3D workflows on this hotel refurbishment included;

Detail & Levels plus Boundary Identification Surveys

Our licensed surveyors carried out these external works which involves capturing the site data relative to permanent survey marks and reference marks, allowing data to be connected to title boundaries and Australian Height Datum (AHD). The professional cadastral and topographic survey data gives stakeholders information such as land size, property boundary location & dimensions, as well as existing features, levels and contours over the site. External survey works allow Realserve to issue the Point Cloud and Revit Model to AHD and MGA (Map Grid of Australia) Coordinates.

  • AHD is the national vertical datum for Australia. The adjustment worked from 30 tide gauges distributed around the coast of Australia, where mean sea level was averaged from 1966–1968, and assigned the value of zero on AHD.
  • MGA is a metric rectangular grid system (i.e. East and North), comparable to the AMG grid in use since the 1980s. It is a Cartesian coordinate system based on the Universal Transverse Mercator projection and the Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994. The unit of measurement is the metre.

3D Point Cloud Survey

Our 3D Scanning Technicians collected the Internal & External 3D Scan Data with 3D scanners, which was later registered using Cyclone 360 software in the office. After both sources of survey and point cloud data were processed, they were interpreted in conjunction so that the Point Cloud could be placed at the correct and precise AHD level and MGA coordinates.

Inputting point cloud data to AHD and MGA gives stakeholders a clear visual, real world representation of the data. It can assist various professionals, such as:

  • Architects – to ensure the proposed design is within the property boundaries and to consider factors such as; the allowed building heights, the potential impact of any changes to the property, the suitability of the proposed design in the surrounding streetscape.
  • Builders – to review the contours and accessibility of the land when pricing things such as excavation works
  • Councils and town planners – to assess whether project plans are compliant with council requirements such as the allowed total improvements on a property and to fully assess the impact of proposed changes to the surrounding built and natural environments.

Revit Model

Once the field work was completed and put through an extensive QA process, our Realserve Revit modellers began work on the Revit model with a Level of Detail (LOD) of 200.

  • A Revit Model’s Level of Detail / Development defines how the 3D geometry of the building model can achieve different levels of refinement, and is used as a measure of the detail required within the model.

For hotel refurbishments like this one, a solid BIM model begins with laser scanning the site to collect point cloud data, then using this to create a detailed as built model. This process is commonly referred to as ‘Scan to BIM’ as it’s the vital and initial phase of using BIM processes in the design, construction and management of a refurbishment project. The as-built model data is then loaded into a BIM database, which can have information added to it by architects, engineers and designers.

Point cloud produced 3D models combined with BIM database architecture can deliver many of the collaborative planning benefits brought by ‘design-first’ BIM while also removing the need to repeatedly visit the location, which was important in this scenario as it was interstate.


  • Confidence – Realserve’s unique position of having extensive experience in both cadastral surveying and as built documentation gives clients the confidence to trust that one consultant can provide all the information they need about the current conditions of a site.
  • Clarity – Having Realserve transfer the survey data into the 3D model improves the ability to visualise proposed works in relation to real-world surroundings.
  • Efficiency – our team could create the necessary information to fuel the BIM modelling process and allow the design process to flow efficiently across all the stakeholders spread across multiple states.
  • Accuracy – Using a combination of Total Stations, GNSS, Leica BLK 360’s & Realserve Technician expertise allowed Realserve to issue to the client a survey accurate Detail & Levels & Boundary Identification Survey, (Internal & External) Point Cloud & Revit Model.
  • Reduction in Client Resources & Time– With Realserve having multiple branch offices located around Australia, it allowed this Brisbane Architecture firm to remain at their office, while Realserve carried out all site works and modelling in house. The client did not need to rely on their employees or internal resources to spend countless hours building the Revit model or attending site.
  • Timing – The client had a specific time frame in which their team required the data collected, documentation prepared, and Revit model issued. Realserve were able to have all requirements to the client prior to submission date allowing them to commence their part of the project on time.
  • Cost Reduction – the benefits of efficiency, accuracy, smoother work flows, and reduction of resources and time spent on a project all result in minimising the costs of a project of this scale.


Matterport 3D Virtual Tour for a hotel
In this scenario there could have been four uses for a 3D virtual tour of the hotel;

  1. The Hotel could have used a virtual tour to show off their refurbished premises to potential guests by placing the tour on their website. They could capture entertaining or function spaces using 3D virtual reality technology that can be used by event planners or people wanting to host an event at the hotel
  2. The architectural firm could have done a before / after 3D virtual tour to showcase the changes they facilitated and use this to market their work & expertise to new clients.
  3. If the Hotel was tenanted then a virtual 3D tour could have been used for documentation to record changes being made during the tenancy and/or for insurance purposes
  4. If the Hotel was being vacated to then find new tenants or to sell the property then a 3D virtual tour could have been used by the real estate agents in their marketing activities.

Evacuation Diagram for a hotel
If or when a property refurbishment changes the floor plan and locations of things like doors or exits then an Evacuation Diagrams are required to ensure the site is compliant to all local safety laws & protects staff or patrons.


Marketing Drawings for a hotel
It is evident that when renting a function space or a hotel room, clients want to see a floor plan to understand the layout and the square meterage of the venue or accommodation they are considering. It is becoming increasingly popular to include a marketing floor plan drawing on hotel accommodation and function rooms’ websites and third-party booking sites. Realserve can produce these to complement other products, such as virtual tours.


Car parking plan for a hotel

If there were changes made to the external areas of the property that affected the current layout of either the parking spaces or the vehicle access into or out of the property then a revised car parking plan could be created by Realserve’s surveyor team. This can help to improve traffic flows, the use of available car parking space and assist with things like revised signage as required.


Get more information about our range of as built survey plan SERVICES.


Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print

Take a look at our 3D Laser Scanning services in Australia

Realserve has a team of surveyors who can provide 3D Laser Scanning services in each capital city of Australia. We use use the latest cutting-edge equipment to produce a wide array of survey plans, point cloud data, Revit or Digital Twin 3D models. 3D laser scanning allows surveyors to provide as-built, existing condition, surveys that are incredibly accurate for internal or external spaces. 

Our qualified surveyors can play a pivotal role in any project with the use of laser scanning technologies to improve the plan, design, construction, management, renovation or refurbishment processes for any building type.