The Incredible Benefits of 3D Scanning a Damaged Home, by Eric Overton, Matterport Service Partner

How I used Matterport to 3D capture homes after Hurricane Harvey

I am a Matterport Service Partner in the Houston Texas area. At the end of August our community was devastated by one of the worst natural disasters in US history. Lives were lost, billions of dollars of property was destroyed, and the emotional toll and impact it took on me and those I know will reverberate for years to come.

My family was no exception, we are from a small town outside of Houston called Dickinson. Dickinson Texas as reported by ABC was one of worst hit towns by Hurricane Harvey over 7,300 homes were damaged and about 50% destroyed entirely.

Between everyone in my family, we lost 3 out of the 4 of our homes in Dickinson, but like many Texans, when faced with overwhelming circumstances we pulled up our bootstraps and got to work. My family was truly fortunate to be part of the 30% in our area that had flood insurance.

My grandparents built their 2 story home in Dickinson in the late 50’s when the Air Force asked my grandfather to help start a program called NASA. This was the second time their home near the bayou flooded, but unlike the flood of 1978 today we now have tools like Matterport to assist in the documentation and recovery process.

One of the first things my grandmother said was, “You know I’ve been wanting to update our home for some time, I guess now would be a good time to do that.”  

That’s when it clicked. Matterport! I have a tool that can document every square inch of their home so the insurance company will have record of their content and I also have the ability to print out a blueprint so we can get to work redesigning their new home.

Days later when the adjuster came and we showed him the scan of the home, he was blown away with the details that a full immersive 3D scan could provide. He tried to hire me to work with him full-time, so that I could use the Matterport 3D scanner on the other homes he was working with. At that time taking care of my family’s homes was priority one so I respectfully declined.

After I was done “mucking” and cleaning out the home we called the contractor to give us an estimate to rebuild. After he was finished jotting down his notes I told him about Matterport and offered to send him the link and the floor plans.

I few days later he called to thank me. He had missed a few things on his notes and instead of driving back to the location he was able to pull up the 3D scan and get the information he needed. He also asked if I would scan some of the other homes he was working with.

My sister-in-law happens to be an award-winning interior designer in Denver, CO and offered her services to our family to help in the design and rebuilding process. I emailed her the 2D floor plans and the model and by the next day she had a rough draft back to us with some design ideas.

It’s my hope that others will never have to experience something like this in your hometown but this entire experience has opened my eyes to a completely new vertical to offer Matterport services.

The learning curve over the past few months for 3D scanning damaged homes has been steep and I want to take this opportunity to help explain who can benefit from a scan:

Parties that can really benefits from a Matterport scan after a disaster:

1.  Homeowners:

  • Be sure to completely document the content inside a home for insurance

  • Use your Matterport scan over and over. You will be able to email the scan to multiple contractors for repair estimates

2.  Contractors:

  • Use 2D schematic floor plans for square footage and measurements

  • Explore the 3D virtual tour when you cannot physically return to the home

3.  Insurance adjusters:

  • Send your company the 3D virtual tour as documentation of the homeowners content for review

4.  Interior Designers:

  • Take measurements from the 2D floor plan or from within Matterport’s Cloud platform

  • Import .obj files into 3rd party software like Sketchup

In the wake of the devastating past few months of hurricanes, I tried to find a glimmer of hope and positivity. As an MSP, I realized there was a world of opportunity outside of residential real estate and that my scan services offered something truly beneficial to property owners, contractors, adjusters and more.

See an example of a home damaged by Hurricane Harvey below:

See an example of a home preparing to rebuild:

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