Automated Scan Data Processing for Common Design and Construction Challenges

2016_Symposium_Landscape300pxwideI think it is pretty safe to say that laser scanning has become widely accepted and is being applied to many different applications in today’s AEC market.  One of the challenges my firm ARC faces working with scan data is the number of different programs and plug-ins needed to process the various deliverables we produce.  Not too long ago we got to the point where it was becoming too costly to support the sheer number of software packages we used.  We made a decision to cut back and focus only on a couple of key programs and abandon the rest.  Overall, it has been a good decision for the company.

Recently, however, I came across a new series of apps by Rithm Software (short for algorithm) that I found to be very useful for automating the processes to produce deliverables from scan data for floor flatness, beam / deck analysis and accessibility applications.  In fact, I’ve found them so valuable ARC has decided to include them in our select list of key programs it works with.

Currently there are three Rithm Apps; 1) Builder, 2) Inspector, and 3) Surveyor.  For the fore-mentioned applications we’ve found the Builder and Inspector apps to be tremendously helpful.

Floor Flatness

Many of the contractors we work for are very interested in floor flatness and floor leveling.  This is one aspect of construction that can have major time and cost implications.  Traditional workflows historically have relied on the dipstick method to verify floor flatness.  While this method has been widely accepted in the industry, the Rithm Inspector App is able to meet both the ASTM 1155 and the American Concrete Institute’s ACI 117 specifications, and yet provide a more thorough analysis based on millions of measured points, not just a select few.

Beam and Deck Analysis

With the Rithm Builder App we’ve been able to easily produce deliverables to allow our contractor clients to quickly analyze concrete and/or steel beam clearances and deck thicknesses.  What would have taken weeks to produce, we’ve been able to produce in just days.


Compliance with ADA and accessible path of travel is not just a code, but a law.  The traditional method of using a smart level to determine slope and cross slope has been used for years, however at best, only a representative handful of readings is practical along the path of travel.  In fact, designers and contractors may believe they are in compliance based on their measurements, but when the inspector comes out to the site they may quickly find the inspector is getting different results.  Having laser scan data to base one’s findings can significantly reduce the risk of non-compliance and provide a repeatable means to show compliance.  The Rithm Inspector App automates finding slope and cross slope along the accessible path of travel from scan data.  I have not seen anything else like it on the market.

The speed and efficiency at which we are able to produce deliverables for some very common design and construction challenges made the Rithm Apps a no-brainer to add to our limited list of key software programs that ARC works with.  I still believe that our decision to work with fewer software packages was a good decision for the company.  However, regardless where you may stand on the number of programs you and your firm work with, if you are looking to automate some very common solutions to many daily challenges faced by the AEC industry today, I highly recommend taking a look at the Rithm suite of products.


John Russo, AIA is the founder of ARC and the USIBD.

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