Analysis

MEP BIM for Preconstruction Planning and Design Optimization

 

Wide spread use of BIM for MEP design and contracting, has forever changed the workflows in construction projects. While earlier the design and engineering of MEP systems was taken up only during the last lap of building design, BIM has brought in a more synchronized approach. Now, architectural structural and MEP trades work together with coordination, right from the early building design stages.

  • MEP BIM for preconstruction planning and design optimization

The mechanical- electrical and plumbing trades individually are extremely complex in nature and the complexity increases manifolds, when these trades are put into a single ecosystem. There might be clashes, between the components of these individual disciplines. Now in order to resolve clashes in the most appropriate and prudent manner it is important that these clashes are detected well before the project is taken onsite. The BIM ecosystem allows detection of all the clashes and interferences during early stages and hence optimization of MEP systems for the best performance.

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Further BIM experts across key teams like architectural, structural and MEP engineering can also collaborate and communicate to ensure the integrity of design data. Clashes between these trades can be detected and interferences can be immediately mitigated by making necessary design iterations.

Beyond this, MEP BIM plays a key role in realizing energy efficient design goals. The ability of virtual design and construction processes to track every activity and gather accurate BOQ’s and BOM’s also ensures that less material is wasted, productivity increases and installation of MEP systems becomes streamlined and efficient.

MEP design is optimized for the best performance, and this proposes high value for facility managers and owners, in terms of reduced utility bills without any compromise in occupant comfort.

  • MEP BIM and Level of detail

MEP models are used for various purposes, including visualizations, installation and fabrication. At every level the type and amount of details required vary. Hence MEP engineers need to specify the level of detail (LOD), at every level of abstraction. Each individual can thereby access assembly information, constructible data, installation information etc, through the schematic design, detailed design and design documentation phase, as is precisely needed. Modeling according to specified LOD, ensures that the model does not carry unwanted or excessive amount of details, nor does it miss out on any important details that may be important for the individual trade contractors.

Engineering firms and individual MEP professionals working on large construction projects often need to adopt BIM because the adoption of BIM by architects and structural engineers necessitates this, or the project itself requires them to adopt BIM. This can possibly be the best move, because BIM will empower them to work together with other disciplines and meet the demands of highly complex projects in the most efficient manner.

It is often not possible for firms and individual professionals to cultivate BIM expertise through regular training programs. Moreover this also necessitates investments towards obtaining the required software licenses and resources. In such cases the most prudent approach is to partner with a reliable third party service provider and hence make optimum use of BIM MEP expertise for efficient project execution.

About Author: Nikunj Patel is a design engineer working with Hi-Tech CADD Services for the past 4 years. He loves designing specialized industrial equipments and can always be found in the lab discussing, brainstorming & tweaking designs. He has also worked on architectural projects taking interest in every aspect of design & analysis.

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