New In-field Efficiencies Raise the Roof in the French Alps

Refining and simplifying typical desktop workflows helps French surveyors realize efficiencies in major exhibition center renovation

Nestled in the heart of the French Alps, close to the world-famous Mont Blanc and picturesque lakeside city of Annecy, lies the Rochexpo, the Haute Savoie Exhibition Centre. Host to more than 50 events during the year, including the Haute-Savoie Mont-Blanc International Fair and the International Machine Tool Fair, the expo center contributes to the economic development of the region with a spirit of sustainability and environmental responsibility. 

With ambitions to develop and improve its facilities, in 2020 the Rochexpo kicked off a major renovation project. The project included the destruction and reconstruction of a 9,000-square-meter hall to be adaptable into various modular spaces.  

To adhere to circularity and sustainability principles, an effort was made to maximize the amount of material recovered and then repurposed. For example, wood from the deconstructed older buildings was transformed into furniture to equip the expo’s new reception areas. The new plenary room, congress, exhibition space, and smaller meeting spaces were designed to offer various functions and numerous possibilities for events to be hosted for 10 to 100,000 people. 

Central to the redevelopment was the construction of a new frame for the vast main hall. It was designed to blend in as an integral part of its surrounding: wooden posts on the façade pay tribute to the neighbouring forest and the main entrance designed with soft shapes is symbolic of the nearby glaciers and snow-covered environments. 

The new building is dressed in scales that are reminiscent of the park’s traditional shingle roofs. The construction represented an ambitious technical feat. The complex wooden framework that supports a new roof spans 56 meters without any supporting posts or columns. 

For this part of the project, Rochexpo engaged a local surveying firm, Carrier Geometre. Specializing in as-built modeling, BIM modeling and analysis, as well as outdoor and indoor surveying services, Carrier’s team of surveyors chose to work with reality capture solutions from Leica Geosystems to meet the needs of this project.  

At Rochexpo, the team’s first task was to capture the new wooden frame with a Leica ScanStation P40 laser scanner and inspect it to produce a comparison of the structure during construction with a BIM model of the work site. Throughout the process, the team was tasked with providing weekly monitoring progress reports to the construction project stakeholders.

For fast and efficient transition from scanner to deliverable, Carrier Geometre used laser scanners and software from Leica Geosystems, including Cyclone 3DR Touch Mode, which puts the software functionality into the field on a tablet device so the surveying team could create quick and accurate deliverables on site.  

Typical desktop workflows, refined and simplified for touch-based tablet devices, have become easier to learn and use. Furthermore, by being able to process data while on-site, Carrier Geometre was able to help the contractor make instant informed decisions as the data became available, saving time and keeping a watchful eye over project costs.  

The surveying team also benefited from new guided workflows dedicated to common in-field applications, such as the inspection of installed elements and the comparison against design intention. For example, BIM inspection is a pre-set workflow that guides the user through the process step-by-step. The wizard functionality allowed Carrier Geometre to make as-built comparisons, to design a BIM model in the field, and to publish reports that were immediately shared with the Rochexpo building owner. 

Carrier Geometre was also asked to analyze the surface flatness of the new plenary hall. With flexibility of use in mind, the project team planned to equip the hall with rolling, removable bleachers. To ensure smooth and seamless movement of the bleachers, the concrete slab on which they would be settled had to be completely flat.  

To support the high-accuracy specification needed to deliver the flatness required, Carrier Geometre used Cyclone 3DR to streamline the processing of scan data on site. By using inspection workflows on tablet devices in the field, Carrier Geometre was able to deliver results rapidly and thus helped minimize the possibility of rework.

The ability to create reports on tablets in the field makes it easier to provide monitoring progress reports to the construction project stakeholders.

“For our projects, we need a high capacity of data extraction and analysis, and it’s important we have solutions that support meshing, point cloud cleaning, and surface analysis like Cyclone 3DR,” said Emilie Blanc, associate at Carrier Geometre. “At Rochexpo we have been able to deliver program monitoring reports every week. What is important for my customers is to get real-time results and make quick decisions in the field.” 

Since the opening of the new hall at Rochexpo after 18 months of construction, Carrier Geometre has leveraged the benefits of the new optimized in-field workflows for other local projects. The company is helping support the renovation of the Mont Blanc Highway in the Chamonix Valley using the same technologies for as-built inspection and comparing the design models of the highway’s infrastructure, including bridges, with laser scanner point clouds and for monitoring the heavy construction operations to provide volume calculations. Closer to Geneva, the surveying firm has been providing Scan2BIM services to the Annemasse hospital, reconstructing the BIM model of existing buildings for renovation projects.  

The touch-based interface on a tablet device instantly provides construction companies with all-important reports. Compatibility with the desktop mode means that during work in the field it is possible to benefit from advanced features and switch from touch mode to desktop mode. When back in the office, a touch project can be opened, and the job finished on a desktop application. In this case, Carrier Geometre was able to benefit from an integrated in-field deliverable and reporting solution as part of the field-to-finished workflow.

The main entry way of the Haute Savoie Exhibition Centre in the French Alps during reconstruction.


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