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Sydney Living Museums (SLM) engaged Realserve’s team of surveyors for 3D building scanning as they wanted to document Elizabeth Bay House without touching or moving any of the historical artifacts housed and displayed there.

Case Study: Using 3D building scanning to preserve a heritage site in Sydney

Surveying a heritage listed site using 3D scanning

Sydney Living Museums (SLM) engaged Realserve’s team of surveyors as they wanted to document Elizabeth Bay House without touching or moving any of the historical artifacts housed and displayed there. Elizabeth Bay House is a heritage-listed Colonial Regency style house and now a museum (including a grotto) that is in the inner eastern suburbs of Sydney. 3D laser scanning this property allowed SLM to capture a record of the structure and its contents for multiple purposes including heritage preservation and marketing the space and artefacts.  

Using a 3D point cloud for heritage conservation and restoration

3D building scanning for Elizabeth Bay House point cloud exterior 3D building scanning for Elizabeth Bay House exterior Revit Model

The Elizabeth Bay House is a large heritage listed site in Sydney, built between 1835 and 1839, with an area of around 1,300 m². The only way to produce an accurate digital representation of the site for conservation and restoration purposes is through the use of 3D laser scanning technology.

Instead of just taking static photos or trying to manually measure and draw each area, the 3D laser scanner rapidly captures 360 degree photos and millions of real world coloured data points, known as a data mass called a point cloud.. The 3D point cloud can be navigated around, viewed from the top, sides and bottom, analysed, measured in detail, and worked from to build very accurate 3D Revit models of the subject item, building, or  site. For Sydney Living Museums the point cloud, 360 degree photos and Revit model can serve as a digital exhibit, viewable anywhere in the world or to aid in any future plan for repairs or refurbishments. 

The information is so detailed that it can be used  as a digital record by architectural historians. Caring for and conserving places of cultural and historical significance has never been so easy now that modern surveying technology allows for   measurements on intricate details down to the last millimetre to be captured.. This level of detail, if captured every year or at the time of every addition or change can also act as a historical record of the site and the changes it undergoes. 

The power of laser scanning architecture to record the existing conditions of a historical site was evident in the case of Notre Dame in 2019 when fire devastatingly destroyed the building. Only a few years earlier, the cathedral in Paris had been 3D scanned by an architectural historian. This powerful point cloud data could be utilised by scientists, historians and craftspeople in their work to restore and rebuild the cathedral.

What equipment does a surveyor use to 3D laser scan a heritage site?

Realserve’s team of surveyors in Australia has always used the most advanced 3D laser scanning equipment to carry out all types of survey documentation on retail, commercial or industrial sites. For this project our survey team used;

  • Leica TS11
  • Leica RTC360
  • Leica BLK360
  • DJI Matrice 300 RTK


State of the art scanning equipment enables Realserve’s NSW team to deliver an accurate and very detailed 3D point cloud together with a Revit model controlled to MGA56 2020 coordinate system. This site contained a lot of historical artifacts so using this level of 3D scanning equipment meant we were able to accurately capture all the detail required by Sydney Living Museums without having to move or handle the building walls, structures, or any of the artifacts in the property. This is one of the huge benefits of using 3D scanning technology for heritage sites vs traditional surveying methods and equipment such as handheld laser measures or tape measures.

Realserve’s expertise in managing survey data ensured this project ran very smoothly, we handled different surveying techniques including terrestrial laser scanning, photogrammetry with the RPA and establishing a control network via traditional survey techniques while ensuring all these different types of data came together efficiently and accurately.

How can a Revit Model can be used to maintain a heritage listed property in Australia?

3D building scanning for Elizabeth Bay House Point Cloud external angle 3D building scanning for Elizabeth Bay House exterior Revit Model side angle

Documentation and record keeping:
A 3D point cloud can be used to document the current condition of the property and its various elements, including architectural details, materials, and finishes. This information can be used to create an accurate Revit model, which can then be used to track changes over time and ensure that any work done on the property is in line with the building’s heritage significance.



Planning and design:
A Revit model can be used to plan and design any necessary repairs or renovations to the property. The model can be used to create detailed drawings, schedules, and specifications, which can then be used to guide the work of contractors and ensure that the building’s heritage significance is maintained.



Virtual walkthroughs:
A Revit model can be used to create virtual walkthroughs of the property, allowing stakeholders to explore the building and understand its layout, design, and heritage significance. This can be particularly useful for architects, engineers, and other professionals involved in the maintenance of the property.



Construction management:
The Revit model can also be used for construction management, by creating a virtual representation of the building and its various components, that can be used to track the progress of the construction, detect any issues and make necessary corrections.



By using a 3D point cloud and Revit model to document and track changes to the property, heritage professionals can ensure that the building’s heritage significance is preserved over time. This can include monitoring the condition of the building’s materials and finishes, ensuring that any repairs or renovations are in line with the building’s original design, and identifying any potential threats to the building’s integrity.

How can you view point cloud data and 3D models?

3D building scanning for Elizabeth Bay House internal Revit Model

You don’t have to be an architect, engineer, draftsperson, or surveyor to view and utilise the powerful data of 3D point clouds and BIM models. Even without expensive specialist software, stakeholders can use a cloud-based software platform to visualise, analyse and share 3D digital representations of physical assets.

Realserve is proud to offer our clients an easy to use, complete data delivery and 3D visualisation solution. The platform allows you to view, share, analyse and annotate point clouds and 3D models through any web browser, which means all you need is an internet connection. File types hosted and viewable on the platform can include: 

  • PDFs
  • 3D panoramic images
  • Point cloud (e57)
  • 3D mesh and low poly models
  • AutoCAD 2D and 3D (dwg)
  • and Revit 3D Models (rvt)


If you or other interested parties including clients, colleagues or contractors don’t have the software to receive and work with 3D spatial data, we’ve got you covered. Your data is secure and protected. It can be viewed with a “read only” link which allows contractors to access and view your asset’s digital profile, to assist them in accurately scoping and quoting projects.

Point cloud, REVIT model samples from this heritage site

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.