Laser Scanning Luxury Suites at the Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard

The Shard, London

Powers & Tiltman Land Surveyors were commissioned to undertake measured building surveys for redevelopment of some of their luxury suites and for building information modelling (BIM) requirements at this iconic landmark.


Our work takes us to some unusual places – in a typical week you can find us at the top of mountains, in remote countryside and scurrying around city streets. But it’s not every day we’re invited to work at one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. So you can imagine our delight when we were selected to undertake measured building surveys at The Shard in London. It was all part of a project to renovate 4 floors of the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, which spans the 34th to 52nd floors.

The project brief

Our client – NJSR Architects - needed an accurate picture of the inside of The Shard in order to plan the fittings for this highly prestigious hotel. The brief required a rapid response – we’re well-known for our ability to meet demanding timescales without compromising quality. It included taking accurate measurements of the hotel space, enabling 2D and 3D AutoCAD models to be compiled. The project utilised our skills and experience in measured building surveys and building information modelling (BIM), as the documentation had to conform to BIM criteria.

Taking the measurements

The sloping walls of The Shard meant that the building was a highly complex structure to measure. There were two measurement options open to us.

The first – the use of our Leica Robotic TS15 Total Station measuring tool – would have enabled us to take measurements from multiple points, building accurate images whilst on-site with minimal input back at the studio. However, there were a number of disadvantages to this option. The Shard is subject to heightened security, so prolonged access would have been more difficult to arrange. Plus, because we would have needed to take measurements from a number of different points, our work would have meant significant disruption to other contractors, which was unacceptable to the client.

The solution we agreed upon was the use of our Leica Scanstation C10 which takes measurements of thousands of points to create a point cloud. While the use of this laser scanner meant we could work with greater speed on site, it did entail significantly more data analysis back at the studio.

This involved creating a point cloud which could then be used to develop a 3D meshed surface through triangulation. The point cloud and the mesh could then be interrogated to provide the required images - from simplified line drawings for design and development through to highly complex drawings for structural data.

Side Elevation of the Shangri-la Hotel, The Shard Floor Plan of a luxury suite at the Shangri-la Hotel, The Shard

Side Elevation Suite Floor Plan

It was an effective methodology for both the floor plan, ceiling plan and wall elevations, providing our client with the flexibility to create 3D models in a number of ways for different requirements.

Director Matt Powers, who has more than 20 years’ experience in measured building surveys, commented: “We were delighted to be selected to deliver this project at The Shard, one of the most recognised buildings in the UK. Its sloping architecture meant this was a particularly interesting and complex challenge to work on.”

About The Shard

  • 1,016 feet high (95 storeys).
  • Served by 44 lifts which travel at 6m per second.
  • Wiring in the building would stretch from London to Paris.
  • The exterior is covered by 11,000 glass panels – the equivalent of 8 football pitches.
  • Designed by Renzo Piano and opened in February 2013.
  • Comprises office space, restaurants, the highest residential apartments in the UK and the 5-star Shangri-La hotel.

Project Highlights

  • Measured building surveys and building information modelling
  • Production of accurate, detailed information for 2D and 3D models.
  • Ability to work at speed, reducing time on-site and remaining cost-effective.
  • Provision of floor plans and ceiling plans.
  • Compliance to BIM standards.

Interior Architectural Design – NJSR Architects

Refurbishment and Fitting Out Specialists – McCue Fit Ltd