In the construction industry, the progression of a mechanical and engineering (M&E) design to a coordinated installation standard model and drawing is critical to the project’s success – as it will not only impact on time but budget as well. This is just one reason why the structure of an MEP (mechanical, engineering and plumbing) project team is slightly more complex than architectural or structural engineering teams. Most MEP project teams consist of an MEP consultant, an MEP contract, trade-specific subcontractors (electrical, firefighting, mechanical and plumbing), fabricators, installers, commissioners, and maintenance specialists – to name but a few.

In most cases, the MEP contractor is the person who is responsible for taking the design data and using it to manage fabrication and installation, but in larger projects, there may be distinct parties tasked with each area instead. In the past, the rest of the MEP project team members have been independent of each other throughout the project’s entirety. However, nowadays, MEP consultants are becoming increasingly involved in the creation of a 3D model of the project using the BIM (building information modelling) format.

As you can imagine, integrating the MEP model with the construction and operation of a building can be challenging, as there are many things that need to be taken into account – such as space allocation during the design phase and spatial requirements for MEP systems and individual equipment.  This is one of the main reasons why it is really important that the MEP engineer is given an accurate model during the early stages of design, as this will allow them to plan the layouts for the MEP systems and equipment using the right sizes.

It is vital for the MEP engineer that the architect and the building owner agree on the design before handing it over to the MEP team. Any changes to the MEP layout after the design has been finalised could be costly and may mean that the MEP system is not optimised. Early decision making via the use of MEP BIM coordination can help with both constructability reviews and clash detection – which will lead to huge benefits for the end building owner.

When it comes to buildings – whether they be healthcare, commercial, residential, or mixed-use; space is the top priority. Unused space impacts directly on ROI, and so it is critical that MEP equipment is placed in the most suitable locations right from the off.

With the use of BIM, the most important MEP and structural elements can be placed within the building space first. The other MEP components and structural framework can then be built around the basic components. Typical MEP components include items such as ducts, pipework, datum points for hangers, wall penetrations, bolt locations, and electrical ladders.

Using BIM offers everyone involved in the construction project to be able to visualise the end result clearly and collaborate together in such a way that the space within a building can be effectively utilised as a single well-functioning ecosystem.

At The CAD Room, we understand the nuances in MEP projects because we have years of experience in working with the key participants in the MEP team – from MEP consultants to MEP contractors, fabrication specialists and installers. Our BIM Services team can offer pre-construction planning support during all phases of the MEP design process – from inception and detailing, to coordination and installation. To find out more about how your MEP project could benefit from our 3D building services coordination, please contact us.