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A national supermarket brand needed to upgrade their loading docks with multiple sites around Australia. See how we used 3D building scanning to help achieve this

Case Study: 3D Building Scanning to upgrade supermarket loading docks

Existing Conditions Elevation Survey of a loading dock created with 3D building scanning

Our surveying team used a combination of traditional 2D and the latest 3D building scanning techniques to complete this national project run by a supermarket chain to upgrade their loading docks. If you operate any type of business that has on site loading dock facilities you may eventually reach a point in time where you need to change the configuration/s, upgrade them or maybe even make them larger to accomodate a higher volume of inbound or outbound goods processing. This can be driven by business growth, changes in local laws or even a shift in the types of vehicles being used to pick up or deliver goods.

With architects and builders increasingly turning to modern workflows they are demanding the use of 3D scanning and modelling to make any project run efficiently. Realserve was engaged to survey multiple sites around the country it order to create the documentation required to facilitate the refurbishment project.

3D building scanning by a surveyor in bowral

Surveying a loading dock internal area using 3D building scanning service in Australia
3D scanning of shopping centre amenities in Noarlunga South Australia photo of roof access 3D scanning of shopping centre amenities in Noarlunga South Australia point cloud of roof access

You may be able to revert to the existing plans that are on file but if the building is quite old then these plans may not accurately reflect the existing condition of each site. Relying on old plans can lead to costly mistakes if measurements are incorrect, especially if the upgrades include the use of pre-fabricated steel or other structures that may not fit into the spaces available.

In this example a large Australian supermarket brand had to begin upgrading their loading dock facilities at a number of sites across the country. In order to begin this process they required up to date plans that could communicate the existing site conditions of each location. 

For a surveying project of this scale, Realserve appointed a National Project Manager with TRG to ensure all the requirements were being met for the documentation creating and site surveys. Our survey team has the capability of managing & executing a national program of surveying being conducted across hundreds of sites if required. By assigning a project manager it means there is a resource allocated to coordinate the vast amounts of data in MGA AHD coordinates

What types of survey deliverables did we need to produce?

For this loading dock upgrade project our task was to provide deliverables in PDF & 2D AutoCAD formats that included;

  • Features and levels survey
  • Existing Conditions Plans
  • Reflected Ceiling Plans
  • Elevation Plans


We were able to achieve this with the use of a Leica TS11 Total Station & Leica RTC360. By using a combination of traditional survey techniques and 3D laser scanning for each building we could efficiently capture the data required onsite without interruption to Woolworth operations, whilst maintaining accuracy and coordination requirements.

Could a revit model have been produced?

We could have also provided a Revit model that could have been used to produce a 3D representation of each site. 

This type of virtual modelling is used in many construction, renovation and refurbishment projects for warehouse facilities, commercial offices or retail shops. A surveyor can capture vast amounts of data from a site that is suitable for use to build 3D representations. These can be manipulated as needed by an architect, shop fitter or designer to efficiently work out the best way to deliver the required outcomes.

A Digital Twin could have been created to test different ideas or configurations for each loading bay upgrade to work out what is most suitable for each site.

Can you use a digital twin to upgrade loading dock facilities?

Digital twins are virtual models that replicate physical objects, processes, or systems. They are created by gathering data from sensors and other sources in real-time to provide a virtual representation of the physical object or system. This enables analysis, monitoring, and prediction of its behaviour and performance. When it comes to managing a loading dock, digital twin technology can prove to be immensely beneficial. Here are some ways it can help:

  1. Simulation and optimisation: Digital twins can simulate loading dock operations by replicating the physical layout, equipment, and processes. Managers can then experiment with different scenarios to optimise workflows, identify bottlenecks, and improve overall efficiency.

  2. Predictive maintenance: Collecting data about the loading dock equipment, such as dock levellers, doors, and forklifts, allows the digital twin to monitor their performance. This data, combined with machine learning algorithms, can predict when maintenance or repairs are needed, helping to avoid breakdowns and minimise downtime.

  3. Resource management: By integrating real-time data from sensors and other sources, the digital twin can provide insights on resource utilisation, such as tracking energy consumption, managing inventory levels, and optimising labor allocation to ensure efficient operations.

  4. Safety and security: Digital twins can monitor various safety aspects of the loading dock, such as potential hazards, adherence to safety protocols, and the movement of personnel. This helps identify risks, prevent accidents, and maintain a secure environment.

  5. Real-time monitoring: With the help of digital twins, managers can monitor the status of the loading dock in real-time, including metrics like dock occupancy, throughput, and turnaround times. This enables proactive decision-making and swift response to any issues that may arise.

  6. Data-driven analytics: By collecting and analysing data from various sources, digital twins can provide deep insights into the loading dock’s performance, identify patterns, and suggest improvements. This helps in making data-driven decisions to enhance productivity and operational efficiency.

Digital twins offer an innovative and holistic approach to managing loading docks by providing real-time monitoring, predictive capabilities, and data-driven analytics. They have the potential to revolutionise the efficiency, safety, and overall management of loading dock operations. For this project it may have meant the creation of a model that could visualise how vehicles would be able to interact with the upgraded loading docks, maybe even simulate the path/s they may or could take to ensure it would be safe for pedestrians or other vehicles being driven in the vicinity.

Survey documentation samples & site photos

Get more information about our range of 3D Building Scanning Services


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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.