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Saving Time and Money with the BLK3D and Scott Siegel Architects

By cdollard

Scott Siegel, sole proprietor of Scott Siegel Architects in Vienna, Virginia, USA, uses the Leica BLK3D daily and it allows him to work more efficiently and keep up with his increasing amount of work.

Scott Siegel is an architect with 30 years of experience providing residential renovation and commercial interior designs. A typical project for him would be renovation of a home of 1000-2000 sq. foot in size, or restaurants and or working offices. For these projects he must capture a lot of existing exterior and interior conditions because the as-built drawings are, in most cases, are nonexistent.

During the pandemic, he has experienced a 100% increase in residential renovation type projects. He believes that as people spend more time at home, they realize they don’t have enough room for workspaces and are enlarging living spaces. This essentially means that he has a lot more work that must get done quicker and must use every tool available to him to produce the work efficiently and exacting to meet his customers' demands, especially because he works completely on his own.

His days starts by doing his own admin work—answering emails, researching new opportunities—and, of course, going out to the field to capture existing conditions of his running projects. These can be construction sites or surveying projects on future building sites.

All this work can take most of the day, and in the evening he starts doing architectural designs and business acumens which in many cases makes him work well into the night. Because he does it all on his own, his time is highly valuable. Anything that can help him spend more time in his office doing actual architecture and design, and less time on-site doing time consuming measurements, is of a huge value to him to speed up his workflow.

He was a DISTO user before, and it has been his main tool for measuring dimensions along with a tape measure, but he often missed something and didn’t capture everything that he would need and had to return to the sites—and a tape measure is cumbersome, time-consuming, and not as accurate.

Architect Scott Siegel using a measuring tape

He decided that he needed an affordable 3D measurement tool that would allow him to save more time and ease his workflow, and he decided on the Leica BLK3D as the solution to inefficiencies in his workflow. We asked him about the BLK3D and the improvements it brings to measuring workflows:

It’s kind of like when we started using computer design and we could instantly produce 50 perspective drawings that were not possible before.

His experience with the BLK3D has been very impressive. It allows him to capture 3D images where he can then directly dimension from in the field or back in the office, and he doesn’t miss anything anymore, meaning he doesn’t have to return to the job site to take more measurements. He can validate all existing conditions directly from those images.

He discussed a project where BLK3D provided him with a lot of value. It was a renovation project for a 60-year-old brick house that caught fire, and all that was left of it was its structural exterior. Due to the complexity of the job, there were many instances where he had to go back and forth with the structural engineer to properly redesign the structure and there were numerous questions about different measurements from the building.

The BLK3D was perfect as he would send pictures with required dimensions directly from his office to the structural engineer, and he didn’t need to return to the site to measure anything else. Not only did this save time for himself, but also for his structural consultant, and the consultant could also directly measure the beams and trusses captured in 3D images by the BLK3D.

The BLK3D has outperformed his needs and requirements. It has a very easy learning curve which he says its exceptionally important in today’s environment. And being a Mac OS user did not stop him from using the BLK3D, as he runs the BLK3D Desktop in Windows on his Mac using Parallels® Desktop. And now he can also send measurable images directly to clients.

Scott Siegel taking photo of a residential house with the BLK3D

Today the BLK3D is crucial to his practice. The biggest benefits he found is that it saves time and captures all measurements that he needs in one visit to the job site. It’s become his main tool and he uses it constantly for measuring details. He can determine where plumbing locations or outlets are, any kind of electrical installations, he can very easily share existing conditions with subcontractors.

Scott mentions that since BLK3D is an impressive looking device, and when he takes it to the construction site, he explains to the client he is taking a measured picture of their building. They are always very impressed by it. They understand that the latest technology is being used for their project, which is an added benefit for creating trust and confidence in his clients that they are making the right choices.

For those clients and their buildings, kitchens especially are much easier to measure, along with any interior space. And in commercial spaces, he can measure areas that he couldn’t reach, such as trusses or ceiling tiles, which speeds up his workflow and increases his accuracy even more.

“Anything that is out of reach, I can capture with the BLK3D,” he said.

By saving time with BLK3D he can focus more on seeking opportunities and responding to proposals, and he never has to worry that he did not capture something. His time savings also reduce costs, and now he can find more work to build his business even more.

Architect working with a 3D model of a house