Private Client / Heritage Property Revit Model

Southborough House by John Nash

Southborough house is a Grade II listed historic Georgian mansion, designed by the renowned Architect, John Nash in 1808. John Nash also designed world famous landmarks including Regents Street, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and the state rooms of Buckingham Palace.

Brief from the client

We were approached by the new owner of Southborough House to survey the house and draw plans of the existing layout, with a view to carry out minor alterations and restoration work. Eager to do the building justice, we decided to recreate the building as a digital 3D model using Autodesk Revit. The process is commonly know as Building Information Modelling or BIM.

The problem

We contacted RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) and Historic England for copies of the original plans to use as a base for my model. Unfortunately we were told that these no longer exist. It was disappointing to learn that all the drawings containing the intricate details of this historic building, had been lost to future generation.

The solution

With no original plans to use as a base for our BIM model, we knew that conventional methods of surveying would not be up to the task. The only option that was guaranteed to capture every intricate detail of the building was a 3D laser survey, also known as reality capture. We appointed building surveyors who meticulously scanned every inch of the house, and from the laser scans produced a coloured 3D point cloud, overlaid with 360 degree, high resolution images.

The 3D point cloud

A point cloud, as the name suggests, is made of millions of dots created by the laser beam hitting objects, and registering their XYZ coordinates. Depending on the type of laser scanner used, accuracies of up to +/- 2 mm can be achieved over distances up to a few hundred meters. The point cloud looks similar to a pixelated image. One amazing feature is that you are able to take a measurement between any of the points. Turn on the 360 degree photo (Realview) and it feel as if you're standing in the room, with the added benefit of being able to accurately measure every visible object.

Because the points in a point cloud have XYZ coordinates, adding all the scans together like a jigsaw puzzle creates voids between rooms. These voids represent floor, wall and roof build-ups and can also be accurately measured. One can also clearly see walls that aren't straight or floors and ceilings that are sagging.  We linked the point cloud into Autodesk Revit, and created the BIM model to a high degree of accuracy.

Benefits of a Revit BIM model and point cloud

The beauty of the combination of the Revit BIM model and the point cloud is that Southborough House is now preserved in digital format for future generations. Any alterations can be added as new phases, and data can be added to every component of the building, including designer/manufacturer name, year of manufacture, cost, performance data etc. Replacement components such as cornices, skirting, handrails, architraves etc. can be manufactured from drawings created with the use of the point cloud.

We feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to capture and recreate such a historic building digitally.