Geo Week News

September 24, 2012

Looks like laser scanning would have saved the Rose Bowl about $6m

As iconic buildings go, the Rose Bowl is right up there in the sports world, so it’s no surprise that the renovations project is drawing news coverage. Really, any $150 million+ project might draw some attention. But a tidbit about the project ballooning by another $6 million this week really drew my attention.

Why? Well, that has something to do with the cause of the $6 million increase in the project cause:

“There were very limited as-built drawings available for us to review and those we had were inaccurate from all the different press box renditions,” Margo Mavridis, the renovation’s project director, said. That necessitated a lot of changes in the field when previous building work was discovered to be different than predicted, she said. 

Sounds like someone should have dialed up some laser scanning to establish as-built conditions when the design for the renovations was taking place, no? I love how the article just piles on:

RBOC Vice President Paul Little said Friday he was surprised to hear of the poor record-keeping.

Does this look like a building with accurate as-built drawings to you?

“The really stunning thing is how much we’re uncovering about the existing structure that we didn’t realize,” Little said. “When a project like this gets done, the contractor delivers you the as-built drawings. Those show you exactly what was built. In this case, they don’t have them.”

Little said those documents should have been delivered by previous contractors who have worked on the press box.

“The contractor gets in there and all of a sudden the conditions are not what they expected,” he said.

In some cases, the project team had blueprints of how they wanted to construct the press box, for example, but it didn’t reflect how it actually got built, Mavridis said. The older the building, the less accurate those records tend to be, she said.

Well, yeah. In this day and age, isn’t it tantamount to malpractice to just trust the as-built drawings? I mean, the building is 90 years old! Did they really think that all the modifications to the building had been appropriately documented? Have they never met actual people before?

Obviously, laser scanning isn’t the solution to every problem, but this is probably the ideal use for the technology. Really, the first thing they should have done is scan the entire facility. Would that have been time-consuming and costly? Absolutely. Would it have cost $6 million? I’m thinking not.

Yet they just throw up their hands. “Gosh, how could we have known?”

Maybe the Rose Bowl should have taken a cue from the University of California-Berkeley (I hear they’ve got some smart folks there). When Cal was renovating their Memorial Stadium, anyone know what one of their first orders of business was? Yep, they laser scanned it.

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