The National Academies

NCHRP 10-110 [Final]

3D Modeling Guide for Construction Inspection

  Project Data
Funds: $299,748
Research Agency: Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Samuel Scozarri
Effective Date: 6/24/2021
Completion Date: 6/24/2023
Comments: To be completed under NCHRP 10-110A.


Building information modeling (BIM) technologies aid in the collection and management of digital information related to transportation assets. BIM technologies used in highway design and construction, such as global positioning systems (GPS), light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and 3D/4D modeling, have improved the accuracy and efficiency in design and construction processes. However, while many state departments of transportation (DOTs) have implemented 3D models for project planning, design, and construction, field inspection staff have had limited exposure to these technologies or to any uniform inspection processes and procedures related to the use of 3D/4D models and related BIM technologies.

Models bring details, efficiencies, and visualization capabilities and can replace the current standard 2D plan sets with more streamlined and effective tools and practices. Construction inspectors are expected to use 3D information to perform measurement, verification, and acceptance of construction materials and payment quantities. Currently, they access this information through PDF or paper plans. Digital 3D models eliminate the need for some portions of 2D plan as details and visualizations can be found within the model. 

Some states are piloting the use of 3D design models as the primary contract document.  Other states piloting 3D models plan to continue to make 2D plans available but for a limited time. Therefore, there is a need for a guide and training for field inspectors to enable them to more effectively utilize 3D models. Proposed solutions for construction inspectors are costly and depend on knowledge of sophisticated 3D modeling and tools.  This is not sustainable for a construction inspection workforce. The 3D digital information needs of inspectors need to be defined so that state DOTs can develop digital solutions for construction contract documents that meet the inspectors’ needs in a cost-effective manner.


The objectives of this study are to (1) identify what 3D digital information construction inspectors need to collect and document construction, and (2) identify the core competencies for construction inspectors related to the use of 3D digital information.


To be completed under NCHRP 10-110A.

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