The MEP design and set up workflow entails a lot of stakeholders and events which can be collectively chargeable for overseeing a sequence of phases that can outcome within the constructing engineering (or constructing providers) to be deliberate, designed, spatially coordinated, fabricated, put in, commissioned and maintained. Sometimes, the constructing providers design stage follows the preliminary architectural design, from which level it could possibly normally be designed in parallel with additional architectural in addition to structural design adjustments.

The engineering groups that sometimes design constructing providers options are normally in one among two teams. The primary group is usually the constructing designer, often known as the marketing consultant engineer or the design engineer. It’s the function of the design engineer to work carefully with the architect to develop the general constructing engineering parts together with lighting, cooling, heating, drainage, waste, hearth prevention and safety providers. Historically, the design engineer is not going to be concerned within the detailed spatial design of those providers. As an alternative the detailed spatial design and set up would usually be dealt with by the second social gathering, often called the MEP contractor (M&E contractor) or commerce contractor. The MEP or commerce contractor is chargeable for evolving the preliminary marketing consultant design right into a workable and installation-ready constructing providers answer.

In some situations, there’s additionally a 3rd social gathering concerned – the fabricator, who shall be chargeable for creating MEP parts similar to ductwork or pipework parts or in some circumstances pre-fabricated options that encompass pipework, electrical ladder, plumbing, ductwork and sprinkler inside a body (module) that’s delivered to website for set up in risers, plant rooms and corridors.

This text is worried with the function of the MEP designer and MEP contractor, particularly, the main target for this text is to debate how BIM (Constructing Info Modelling) has influenced the MEP design workflow between the designer and the contractor.

Present MEP BIM Workflow Choices

Basically there are 5 completely different MEP design workflow situations that at present exist and these shall be mentioned within the article. They’re as follows


  1. Conventional 2D design and 3D BIM coordination
  2. 3D MEP design and 3D BIM coordination
  3. Designers 3D BIM design and coordination
  4. Contractor 3D BIM design and coordination
  5. Normal contractor 3D mannequin coordination


Conventional 2D Design and 3D BIM Coordination

Contemplating the normal MEP strategy first, that is the place a marketing consultant will create 2D design outputs, which embrace 2D plan layouts, 2D sections and MEP (M&E) schematics. This may point out the design intent for the constructing based mostly on the use specified by the architect. As soon as the marketing consultant has accomplished this design info he’ll move on the knowledge to an MEP contractor who shall be chargeable for creating the MEP coordinated answer. This text assumes that the contractor will create a spatially coordinated 3D BIM mannequin utilizing BIM instruments similar to Revit MEP and Navisworks. The contractor will use the design info and create an installation-ready answer which takes under consideration set up, effectivity of pipe runs or duct bends, house for lagging and hanging the providers, entry for submit set up upkeep and so forth. This conventional MEP strategy, from a 2D design to a 3D mannequin has existed for the previous couple of a long time and permits the contractor so as to add extra info into the mannequin that can be utilized by him and by services administration corporations after the set up. Using the 3D device similar to Revit is in fact helpful as it’s an clever mannequin, with parametric parts and subsequently, in addition to permitting the contractor to determine and resolve clashes earlier than any time is spent on website, it has different makes use of and functions the place mannequin ‘info’ is used and relied upon.

3D MEP Design and 3D BIM Coordination

The second workflow methodology is extra straight influenced by BIM. Because the MEP designer, one will use BIM instruments to create a 3D mannequin and related drawings throughout his preliminary design section (reasonably than a 2D design) earlier than this info is handed throughout to an MEP commerce contractor. The MEP design engineer will sometimes create a 3D mannequin on account of buyer specs and necessities for a BIM mannequin, as in lots of circumstances a federated mannequin (which mixes the opposite disciplines in a single mannequin) is required by the shopper for a weekly assessment and therefore the MEP marketing consultant can not merely present a set of 2D drawings. On this workflow, the BIM mannequin is successfully a 3D illustration of what would in any other case be a 2D deliverable. It can subsequently encompass areas the place additional adjustments are nonetheless wanted by a commerce contractor. Such examples embrace the usage of library gadgets reasonably than particular MEP commerce contractor procured parts that could be used within the mannequin. The creation of a 3D BIM mannequin at this stage by the marketing consultant can be topic to a number of architectural and structural mannequin adjustments. These have a knock-on impact on the MEP answer as it’s successfully a work-in-progress mannequin for MEP with fixed architectural and structural adjustments and subsequently won’t ever have the identical degree of effectivity, by way of structure of providers, in comparison with an MEP mannequin the place the architectural and structural fashions are frozen. The draw back of this workflow methodology is in fact the additional time taken to create a BIM mannequin by the marketing consultant crew. Added to this situation is the truth that 3D modelling experience and abilities inside a consulting engineering crew can generally be restricted. As soon as the marketing consultant completes his mannequin and passes it to the MEP contractor, the choice as as to whether the contractor ought to adapt the mannequin or begin the modelling course of from the beginning is absolutely based mostly on the standard of the mannequin to begin with. In actuality each situations will exist, in some circumstances the MEP commerce contractor is best off beginning the BIM mannequin once more utilizing solely the 2D design drawings which can be created by the marketing consultant from his BIM mannequin, whereas in some uncommon circumstances the commerce contractor will use the consultants MEP BIM mannequin and adapt and modify it along with his adjustments, to make the mannequin prepared for set up. In each situations, the MEP contractor will all the time look to make worth engineering additions and adjustments to the mannequin in addition to procurement led mannequin adjustments.

Designers 3D BIM MEP Design and Coordination

The third MEP design workflow methodology is a extra pure and direct consequence of BIM and it really additionally begins to advertise the advantage of BIM extra considerably because it will get nearer to ‘digital design and development’ goals of the trade. On this workflow the strategy of design engineer is to create a BIM mannequin that’s spatially coordinated and that’s utilizing the precise specified parts for the challenge. Sometimes, the marketing consultant throughout this section could have an extended time period to create the mannequin, permitting him to soak up the adjustments from structural and architectural disciplines as they progress by the detailing phases. The truth that the mannequin is then coordinated with the construction and structure in addition to different MEP providers permits the marketing consultant to create a mannequin that’s being created based on an set up normal that’s now extra usable by an installer or fabricator. When the mannequin on this workflow methodology is handed on to a contractor, the contractor should still want to make remaining adjustments and changes in a spherical of worth engineering. Sometimes, the contractor will use the identical mannequin on this workflow and make adjustments to the mannequin supplied by the MEP design marketing consultant. Moreover, it’s possible that the marketing consultant engineer is not going to have supplied invert (peak) ranges or dimensions from gridlines and partitions for the MEP providers on his drawings. In such circumstances the contractor will subsequently must create extra element within the drawings, however once more contractor might use the marketing consultant’s drawings and progress them in additional element for his/her use visit the website.

Contractor 3D Design and Coordination

The fourth workflow methodology entails MEP contractors (or commerce contractors) taking over the design accountability in addition to the coordination accountability. While the coordination accountability is a longtime skillset with expertise of creating detailed and complete vertical and horizontal methods for coordination being a part of the contractor’s core abilities, the design accountability is a brand new factor for the contractor. This was historically often called a design and construct strategy; nevertheless, it’s now turning into more and more widespread particularly in circumstances the place corporations are searching for to have speedy design and detailed coordination accomplished. Sometimes, the parts for use shall be specified by the tip shopper, permitting the contractor to design and mannequin earlier than creating his detailed coordinated drawings from the mannequin, to permit set up and fabrication if wanted. The rationale that this specific workflow methodology shouldn’t be the preferred at current is solely because of the quantity of labor out there and in addition the design accountability that additionally must be assumed as most often, contractors might not want to settle for this threat or certainly they might not have the sources to finish the design work. For this workflow methodology to exist in any respect implies that the contractor has to make use of design workers straight and supply design legal responsibility insurance coverage to permit him to design the MEP answer in addition to set up it. The good thing about this workflow possibility is clearly the time effectivity that’s realized and subsequently the associated fee profit, as the price of utilising contractor useful resource will normally be decrease in comparison with costly design engineering companies. Nonetheless, it does include some threat because the design experience that design engineers possess can’t be simply replicated by contractors, even when they do make use of in-house groups.

Normal Contractor 3D Mannequin Coordination

The fifth variant of MEP design workflow is predicated on creating coordinated MEP fashions much like the normal 2D to 3D strategy however for a special buyer group. On this workflow methodology a 2D architectural, structural and MEP design that’s for use by a principal contractor (or normal contractor) is then progressed right into a 3D BIM mannequin by the contractor to evaluate the validity and completeness of the mannequin. In some circumstances, a few of the design parts from the completely different disciplines could also be introduced in 3D whereas others could also be in 2D. It’s also attainable that completely different disciplines might present fashions in several software program which will or might not current software program interoperability challenges. In such situations, a crew will sometimes be employed to make use of the design information from architectural, structural and MEP designers to then create a 3D BIM mannequin based mostly on precise information. The purpose is to determine any inconsistencies within the design information by figuring out any clashes within the mannequin, permitting the contractor in such a workflow methodology to successfully mitigate his/her potential threat. Any issues discovered throughout the mannequin are normally handed again to the designers to make amendments to their 2D design for subsequent adjustments to the 3D BIM mannequin which is finally owned by the principle contractor. This BIM workflow answer is turning into much less widespread now as a result of MEP contractors and designers are creating BIM fashions themselves.

In abstract, BIM has launched a lot of new workflow variants to the MEP design providers sector. The beforehand tried and trusted methodology of a 2D design, from a designer, that was developed right into a 3D coordinated MEP mannequin by contractor is not the workflow answer used as companies now have many different variants and alternate options accessible. Together with BIM Modeling, different developments within the development sector, together with collaborative on-line working and work sharing have additionally contributed to the uptake ranges for BIM and impacted the adjustments to workflow.

When it comes to the MEP design workflow choices, the preferred of those as we transfer ahead would be the third possibility, which is the marketing consultant making a BIM mannequin that’s spatially coordinated, or the fourth possibility which is the contractor taking over the design accountability in addition to creating the coordinated BIM mannequin. Each choices are successfully a change to the normal strategy for MEP design and each level to a single supply for the mannequin and drawings versus the historic two-tier design strategy. All choices mentioned would require competent BIM coordination and MEP modelling groups and sources. XS CAD, with its giant MEP coordination crew and MEP engineering design crew, which consists of mechanical and electrical engineering professionals, is properly positioned to cope with such tasks for corporations based mostly within the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As all are areas the place BIM is now the popular answer, XS CAD, with greater than 16 years’ expertise and a presence in every market is a perfect possibility for such corporations.

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