Hotel and Casino Markets Bring Big Opportunities for 3D Laser Surveys

It looks like 2013 will be a banner year for the hospitality industry.

In 2012, U.S. hoteliers collectively sold more than 1.1 billion rooms. Las Vegas welcomed a record 40 million visitors last year and nationwide commercial gambling revenues surpassed the $35.6 billion mark in 2011, up from $34.6 billion in 2010.

A recent study released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) reports that the commercial casino industry supported approximately $125 billion in spending and nearly 820,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2010, based on direct, indirect and induced impacts.

Though development, funding, business travel, convention participation and disposable income were almost non-existent over the last five years, the hospitality industry is making a comeback.

So, what does all of this mean to the construction industry? How can the AEC community, which has struggled for years, take advantage of this opportunity?

It already is. The number of projects in the pipeline has already greatly increased during the first two months of 2013 over the first two months of 2012. The AIA reports that the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting its strongest growth since November 2007.

Not only is the number of new ground-up projects increasing, but renovations and expansions are also happening at a record pace.

Hotels and resorts are expanding, updating rooms, adding new restaurants, providing more services and implementing property improvement plans (PIP) that have been on hold.

As a result of all of this construction, we have seen a tremendous surge in the need for accurate as-built documentation from owners, designers, engineers and contractors.

They need to know what they have and they need to know fast – and 3D laser scanning and measuring services are in high demand.

In just the past few months, our firm has completed a wide variety of projects and requests including field measuring and verification of rooms, hallways and common areas; documentation of exterior elevations and connect points for building expansions, theatres, meeting spaces and parking decks; and complete renovations of old hotels or buildings being transformed into new facilities.

Here are just a few examples of some of our recent projects:

Hotel Renovation

We provided as-built documentation for common areas, hallways and over 100 interior rooms in a major hotel renovation project using laser scanning and laser measuring to produce AutoCAD documents and 3D models.

Rather than measuring each space then returning to the office to create documents, we utilized our laser data capture techniques to wirelessly import to a BIM workstation. This allowed us to measure and create 3D models and AutoCAD files on site and in real time.

We were able to generate floor plans, reflected ceiling plans and interior elevations in the field, which led to increased accuracy, reduced collection and drafting time, and eliminated the need for return visits.

The architect was able to begin work on floor plans immediately while we continued to measure additional floors.

Mechanical Room Boiler/Chiller Replacement

We generated a 3D laser scan of a 20,000 square foot mechanical room, providing a level of accuracy and detail that would have been unattainable with traditional measuring techniques due to the amount of heavy piping and ductwork required.

This enabled designers to drop their prospective model into the point cloud and determine clash issues and tie-in points. The laser scan saved field rework time, material costs and allowed enhanced coordination amongst the project team.

Casino Theater Addition

Because there was insufficient data on the existing condition of the space targeted for the design of a theater, we provided a point cloud and TruView to the contractor and design team via a 3D laser scan. The point cloud allowed for existing mechanical systems and structural elements to be measured and inventoried.

The results increased the speed of design, reduced cost of materials and field rework, assisted with developing a safety plan, and increased collaboration efforts between team members.

As the hospitality industry continues to expand, the demand for 3D laser surveying will increase as clients search for ways to save time and money on their construction and renovation projects. You can bet on it!


Mitch Dorsett has over 15 years in the building and construction industry and serves as director of business development for LandAir Surveying. Mitch is rapidly becoming an expert in 3D data capture and virtual design and construction, having attended and represented LandAir’s laser scanning capabilities at SPAR, RTC and Autodesk University in 2012. Contact him at or visit