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NIST Construction Automation Program Report No. 4: Non-Intrusive Scanning Technology for Construction Status Determination



Geraldine S. Cheok, Robert R. Lipman, Christoph J. Witzgall, Javier Bernal, William C. Stone


Approximately 2 % of all construction work must be devoted to manually intensive quality control and tracking of work completion, including operations involving earthmoving and bulk materials handling. Any technology that can reduce this burden and decrease time to delivery will offer a significant competitive edge. One of the more difficult things to track at a construction site is the geometry of things which are not neatly classified as components. The ability to capture such amorphous data becomes important if one is to achieve true automation. Amorphous data include such things as the state of excavation of terrain, the presence of raq materials (e.g., sand, gravel) depost; the location and extent of spoil piles; progress of a concrete casting; highway alignment; paving operations; etc. To obtain this information, the current state-of-practice is to conduct surveys which can be time-consuming and costly.The objectives of the project are to utilize new scanning technologies to improve critical construction status assessment needs by making these measurements faster and cheaper than traditional methods and to develop, in conjunction with industry, standard means for transmission and interpretation of such data. It focuses on the development of an integrated software and wireless remote sensing system that will accept input from a variety of high speed automated ranging sensors and crete a 3D model of the present state of a portion of a construction site. This report details the initial activities in the project and documents procedures used to acquire and display data obtained from a scanner and to perform simple volume calculations. A disk with the source codes for the programs developed as past of these efforts is included with this report.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6457
Report Number


3D models, construction automation, cut-fill calculation, Delaunay triangulation, laser imaging, laser radar, metrology, terrain modeling


Cheok, G. , Lipman, R. , Witzgall, C. , Bernal, J. and Stone, W. (2000), NIST Construction Automation Program Report No. 4: Non-Intrusive Scanning Technology for Construction Status Determination, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created January 1, 2000, Updated November 10, 2018