This paper discusses the process adopted to use ground based laser scanning to record endangered heritage buildings before rescue and reconstruction elsewhere. It addresses a possible workflow based on new and emerging technologies for the recording necessary to rescue buildings in danger before later reconstruction, as part of a pilot project at St Fagans: National History Museum (NHM), near Cardiff, UK. It also discusses research currently undertaken for the Virtual Environmental Planning (VEPs) project focused not just on the heritage site, but on automatically capturing the wider setting for sites repeatedly to keep the setting recognisably up to date and enable analysis of change over The paper focuses on the value of a three-dimensional (3D) computer based record of a heritage site in producing an accurate visual representation of the analytical recording process and the subsequent decisions that affect the fabric of the building. Decisions on how and what to record will involve varying measures of subjective judgement of the relative values embodied in, or represented by, the building. In recent research it is becoming evident that some aspects of interpretation and significance of the component parts of the heritage site may be automatically assigned through pattern matching to potentially automatically acquired 3D data.