Has BIM Modified MEP Design Workflow?

The MEP design and set up workflow includes quite a few stakeholders and events which are collectively answerable for overseeing a sequence of phases that may end result within the constructing engineering (or constructing services) to be deliberate, designed, spatially coordinated, fabricated, put in, commissioned and maintained. Sometimes, the constructing services design stage follows the preliminary architectural design, from which level it will possibly often be designed in parallel with additional architectural in addition to structural design modifications.

The engineering groups that usually design constructing services options are often in one among two teams. The primary group is usually the constructing designer, also called the marketing consultant engineer or the design engineer. It’s the position of the design engineer to work intently with the architect to develop the general constructing engineering parts together with lighting, cooling, heating, drainage, waste, hearth prevention and safety services. Historically, the design engineer won’t be concerned within the detailed spatial design of those services. As a substitute the detailed spatial design and set up would usually be dealt with by the second occasion, generally known as the MEP contractor (M&E contractor) or commerce contractor. The MEP or commerce contractor is answerable for evolving the preliminary marketing consultant design right into a workable and installation-ready constructing services answer.

In some cases, there’s additionally a third occasion concerned – the fabricator, who will likely be answerable for creating MEP parts resembling ductwork or pipework parts or in some instances pre-fabricated options that encompass pipework, electrical ladder, plumbing, ductwork and sprinkler inside a body (module) that’s delivered to web site for set up in risers, plant rooms and corridors.

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

Present MEP BIM Workflow Choices

Primarily there are 5 totally different MEP design workflow situations that at the moment exist and these will likely 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 model coordination


Conventional 2D Design and 3D BIM Coordination

Contemplating the normal MEP method first, that is the place a marketing consultant will create 2D design outputs, which embody 2D plan layouts, 2D sections and MEP (M&E) schematics. This can point out the design intent for the constructing primarily based 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 will likely be answerable for creating the MEP coordinated answer. This text assumes that the contractor will create a spatially coordinated 3D BIM model utilizing BIM instruments resembling 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, area for lagging and hanging the services, entry for put up set up upkeep and so forth. This conventional MEP method, from a 2D design to a 3D model has existed for the previous couple of a long time and permits the contractor so as to add further info into the model that can be utilized by him and by amenities management corporations after the set up. The usage of the 3D tool resembling Revit is after all helpful as it’s an clever model, with parametric parts and due to this fact, in addition to permitting the contractor to establish and resolve clashes earlier than any time is spent on web site, it has different makes use of and purposes the place model ‘info’ is used and relied upon.

3D MEP Design and 3D BIM Coordination

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

Designers 3D BIM MEP Design and Coordination

The third MEP design workflow technique 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 ‘virtual design and building’ goals of the business. On this workflow the method of design engineer is to create a BIM model that’s spatially coordinated and that’s utilizing the precise specified parts for the undertaking. Sometimes, the marketing consultant throughout this part can have an extended time period to create the model, permitting him to soak up the modifications from structural and architectural disciplines as they progress via the detailing phases. The truth that the model is then coordinated with the construction and structure in addition to different MEP services permits the marketing consultant to create a model that’s being created based on an set up customary that’s now extra usable by an installer or fabricator. When the model on this workflow technique is handed on to a contractor, the contractor should want to make last modifications and changes in a spherical of worth engineering. Sometimes, the contractor will use the identical model on this workflow and make modifications to the model offered by the MEP design marketing consultant. Moreover, it’s possible that the marketing consultant engineer won’t have offered invert (peak) ranges or dimensions from gridlines and partitions for the MEP services on his drawings. In such instances the contractor will due to this fact must create extra element within the drawings, however once more contractor may use the marketing consultant’s drawings and progress them in additional element for his/her use.

Contractor 3D Design and Coordination

The fourth workflow technique includes MEP contractors (or commerce contractors) taking up 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 aspect for the contractor. This was historically generally known as a design and construct method; nonetheless, it’s now turning into more and more frequent particularly in instances the place corporations are looking for to have speedy design and detailed coordination accomplished. Sometimes, the parts for use will likely be specified by the tip consumer, permitting the contractor to design and model earlier than creating his detailed coordinated drawings from the model, to permit set up and fabrication if wanted. The rationale that this explicit workflow technique will not be the preferred at current is just as a result of quantity of labor available in the market and in addition the design accountability that additionally must be assumed as typically, contractors could not want to settle for this threat or certainly they could not have the assets to finish the design work. For this workflow technique to exist in any respect signifies that the contractor has to make use of design workers immediately and supply design legal responsibility insurance coverage to permit him to design the MEP answer in addition to set up it. The advantage of this workflow possibility is clearly the time effectivity that’s realized and due to this fact the price profit, as the price of utilising contractor useful resource will often be decrease in comparison with costly design engineering companies. Nevertheless, 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 Model Coordination

The fifth variant of MEP design workflow is predicated on creating coordinated MEP fashions much like the normal 2D to 3D method however for a special buyer group. On this workflow technique a 2D architectural, structural and MEP design that’s for use by a major contractor (or normal contractor) is then progressed right into a 3D BIM model by the contractor to evaluate the validity and completeness of the model. In some instances, among the design parts from the totally different disciplines could also be introduced in 3D whereas others could also be in 2D. It is usually doable that totally different disciplines could present fashions in numerous software program that will or could not current software program interoperability challenges. In such cases, a staff will usually be employed to make use of the design information from architectural, structural and MEP designers to then create a 3D BIM model primarily based on precise information. The goal is to establish any inconsistencies within the design information by figuring out any clashes within the model, permitting the contractor in such a workflow technique to successfully mitigate his/her potential threat. Any issues discovered inside the model are often handed again to the designers to make amendments to their 2D design for subsequent modifications to the 3D BIM model which is in the end owned by the principle contractor. This BIM workflow answer is turning into much less frequent now as a result of MEP contractors and designers are creating BIM fashions themselves read this.

In abstract, BIM has launched quite a few new workflow variants to the MEP design services sector. The beforehand tried and trusted technique of a 2D design, from a designer, that was developed right into a 3D coordinated MEP model by contractor is not the workflow answer used as companies now have many different variants and options out there. Together with BIM Modeling, different developments within the building sector, together with collaborative online working and work sharing have additionally contributed to the uptake ranges for BIM and impacted the modifications to workflow.

By way of 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 model that’s spatially coordinated, or the fourth possibility which is the contractor taking up the design accountability in addition to creating the coordinated BIM model. Each choices are successfully a change to the normal method for MEP design and each level to a single supply for the model and drawings versus the historic two-tier design method. All choices mentioned would require competent BIM coordination and MEP modelling groups and assets. XS CAD, with its massive MEP coordination staff and MEP engineering design staff, which consists of mechanical and electrical engineering professionals, is effectively positioned to cope with such initiatives for corporations primarily based 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.