RIEGL is Making the Difference – Interview with Kiewit Corporation’s Jonathan Beaty

RIEGL is Making the Difference
Jonathan Beaty, Field Inspection Services Manager

Kiewit Corporation is an employee-owned Fortune 500 contractor based in Omaha, Nebraska. Privately held, it is one of the largest contractors in the world. Jonathan Beaty is based in Lenexa, Kansas where he is Field Services and CAD Coordinator for Kiewit. Lidar News recently interviewed Jonathan to learn more about his use of 3D laser scanning and RIEGL products.

•    Can you please provide your personal background and experience with 3D laser scanning technology, as well as that of your company?

My first experience with LiDAR was in 2006 and our team utilized static scanning to obtain as-built information for a coal plant in Wyoming. We quickly found the overwhelming value of combining our scan data with the proposed design model which provided our clients with a more accurate retrofit. Today, Kiewit utilizes LiDAR on a variety of applications from terrestrial and mobile to aerial all across North America.

Kiewit has used LiDAR data to successfully perform pavement and wall monitoring and analyses for the largest Department of Transportation’s in the country.  Our Kansas City based team has successfully scanned everything from roads, tunnels and bridges, to transmission corridors, power, process and manufacturing facilities.

•    Can you provide an inventory of the 3D hardware and software that you currently use, as well as any other related products?

Kiewit owns and operates RIEGL, Leica and FARO terrestrial systems across North America. As a result of the wide range of project types and various client design/build requirements, we use a combination of software applications to read, write and QC our data including RiSCAN PRO, Cyclone, Bentley, Autodesk and other third party software products.

•    What attracted you to the use of RIEGL hardware and software? Did you look at other products? Why did you choose this one?

The number one reason Kiewit chose to use RIEGL’s hardware and software was RIEGL USA’s exceptional customer service and support. Time after time, they were quick to respond to our questions, collaborate with us and prove their solution was the best fit for our needs. They took the time to visit our offices and job sites to prove their technology would save us time, which with our often tight construction schedules, there’s nothing more valuable. Some of the other big players in the LiDAR industry didn’t take the time to prepare for us, their product couldn’t deliver in terms of speed, range and accuracy, or flat out they didn’t call us back.  I can speak from experience that RIEGL’s hardware has worked in the worst climates, beyond their recommended product limitations, and their software becomes more user friendly with each release.

•    How did you integrate RIEGL products into your workflows?
For Kiewit, we approach any type of retrofit project with two questions: does the customer have the drawings to support our design proposal, and are they accurate? Many times, the information we receive may be enough to get us started but still requires field verification. It’s just not cost effective to send our folks to the site for a couple of days to sketch and tape out the dimensions by hand. Instead, we can have our RIEGL scanner on site in a few days. Thanks to the speed and flexibility with which the RIEGL system allows us to acquire the data, easily encompassing thousands of square feet of data, we can have it processed and delivered to the design team in a week.

•    Can you provide a brief overview of two or three of the projects where you made use of 3D laser scanning?

One particular challenging project was an 1100’ vertical shaft we scanned for an under-ground hydroelectric plant. The shaft was captured from the edges of the stairwell as it descended the length of the shaft to determine where we could place supports for a new very large gauge electrical cable on the uneven rock face. Once completed, the final product provided an amazing map of the tunnel’s features and the project became a great learning experience for everyone involved.

We also scanned what is now Petra Nova, the nation’s first post-combustion Carbon Capture project which captures 90% of the CO2 emissions and at the same time employs an Enhanced Oil Recovery process for the nearby West Ranch Oil Field. The design called for the addition of a HRSG to an existing Combustion Turbine and the site was scanned to locate existing tie-ins for the HRSG as well as determining space allocation for the new Carbon Capture facility.

•    Can you comment on the return on investment and benefits of working with RIEGL hardware and software?

We had an EPC design/build project in the Midwest that we were already onsite to scan, when our customer asked us if we could verify a sub-contractors proposed pipe routing. Kiewit scanned the area and compared the scans against the subcontractors design model and found it had several clashes resulting in a system that was ultimately routed too high. Had the system  been installed, the cost to cut and replace the pipe supports and lower one segment of pipeline alone was $19,000. The ease and pace at which we were able to gather the data with our RIEGL system and QC the scans against the design model saved Kiewit, the sub and the customer budget and schedule.

•    What do you see for the future of the use of 3D technology on your projects?
We are always striving to increase the speed and efficiency with which we perform our work. I believe RIEGL is making significant moves in the scanning world with their new VZ-400i. The miniVUX-1UAV is also an incredible tool with many applications and great for the emerging implementation of drones in the survey engineering world. In the future, we’ll see an increased integration of LiDAR and drones together as the technology and workflows develop. The demand is already there; I can’t wait to see what new tools will be available in 5 years.

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