Wherever you are in the world, owning a building is an expensive business—needing a significant amount of investment upfront along with ongoing maintenance and operation costs.  However, the smart building owners among you know that these costs can be significantly reduced if smart decisions are made during the building design process. The really clever ones will also know that Building Information Modelling (BIM) can go a long way to smart building design when you combine it with MEP installations (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing).

BIM is a modern approach to building which goes way beyond just using conventional 2D construction plans to represent a project. What BIM does instead, is use 3D building models containing detailed information about all the integrated system components to create a virtual reality of the potential building before it is actually built. BIM doesn’t just apply to MEP systems, but can also cover many architectural and structural aspects as well.

BIM and MEP engineering design

Anyone who has worked in architecture will tell you that specifying the layout of multiple building systems within a commercial space requires a high degree of coordination amongst the various design teams. One of the key challenges associated with this is avoiding overlapping locations for the equipment related to different building systems.

This can be really hard to do when you are dealing with a 2D plan, and in the past has resulted in many equipment location conflicts not being picked up until the construction phase, results in changing work orders, loss of time and an increase in costs. The benefits of using a BIM plan is that everyone is working on a 3D model of the building and any location conflicts will be immediately picked up by the software which will notify the design team at once.

Using BIM, therefore, not only speeds up the design process but can also calculate the materials needed as well—saving valuable man-hours which can then be invested into something else. Tedious and repetitive tasks are reduced, and design engineers can instead focus on designing the best solution to the problem facing them.

A reduction in work orders

One of the main causes of project cost increases in construction are change orders, and they can also lead to deadlines being missed which will delay the commissioning of buildings. Using BIM for MEP engineering design can help to detect the need for any change orders during the actual design process, with modifications being made on the virtual model—rather than waiting until the physical space is constructed. Making these changes on the physical model is a lot less costly, as you will only pay for engineering time rather than for material and labour costs..

If BIM is used correctly during the construction process it is a powerful project tracking tool which will help supervisors to keep the project on time and on budget. Finding discrepancies is a simple process as BIM software will simulate cash flow and the scheduled construction process

BIM simplifies facilities management

BIM’s uses do not end when the building construction is completed—far from it. Having a virtual reality model of the building is priceless for facilities managers when it comes to property management and maintenance scheduling—enabling a preventative approach to both rather than a reactive one.

If the BIM model contains information on the MEP systems, then it can be updated every time there is a routine inspection or any modifications are made. The BIM model can then be used to track the condition of any key components—scheduling their replacement well in advance of their forecasted failure.

As you can see then, advanced MEP engineering as part of BIM Services should be seen as a worthwhile investment as it will significantly reduce building ownership costs in the long-term. The CAD Room can help you produce a BIM model that not only simplifies construction but operation and maintenance as well.