3D laser scanning technology is now widely and increasingly used in several construction tasks such as indoor mapping, project control, construction metrology and automation, development of as-built models, and resource management through scanning, data processing, and modeling stages. The accuracy of these stages affects the quality of the end product and can be improved by decreasing the errors caused by manual work processes. This paper focuses specifically on data acquisition errors caused by target setup, acquisition, and reorientation. The paper explores how different target types and target layouts affect registration accuracy. A total of twelve tests were conducted with phase-based and time-of-flight scanners in both exterior and interior scan scenes in order to assess registration errors and time inefficiencies associated with current scanning practices. The paper compares different target types (paper, paddle, and sphere) and presents the lessons learned to achieve optimal target layout design. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.