Tables have turned for the AEC industry with the advent in software and technologies for the building construction industry, and the pace at which they are adapted worldwide. The planning, design, coordination and collaboration of construction activities, and implementation have become much simpler and convenient than what it used to be. The concerns now lie in maintaining the already constructed projects, the facilities that have aged and, are in need of frequent maintenance and renovation.
Importance of MEP
It is often that we come across news about the malfunctioning of electrical wire connection or elevators or say insulation problems with fire safety, causing some fatal and serious accidents. So what is the cause behind all this? Maybe it’s the improper coordination, or maybe it is lack of tedious, repetitive maintenance, or it may simply be the lack of importance given to MEP components of the building. It is time that these are sorted out appropriately, once and for all.
While we look at a building, in addition to architectural and structural segments, MEP systems form an integral part of any facility and cannot be compromised with. Fire safety, ventilation, proper illumination, insulation, occupants’ safety and such other factors are considered while preparing the MEP layouts and then it is further verified for the clash detection amongst the loop and resolving it. This is within the reach of the BIM software like Navisworks and Autodesk Revit - MEP. It would be true to say that half the maintenance problems and tasks can be avoided if we consider long term effects during design phase.
However, once designed, installed and operational, the building products start to degrade due to their repetitive usage causing constant wear and tear. This means they all require time to time maintenance and if compromised; results in disaster. This comes under the responsibilities of facilities management team to ensure the smooth running of these components. Only the people who understand the importance of MEP will entertain the facts for its maintenance through BIM.
A statistics of a survey of people from AEOC industry was published in a paper, BIM for facility management: design for maintainability with BIM tools, by International Association for Automation and Robotics in Construction (IAARC). Out of the 32 respondents for the survey of measure of maintenance during the design and construction phase, 28 of them said that they account for it to some extent.
While the rest of the four said they have never ever considered its importance in any of these phases. If we check it by percentage, about 87% did and 13% didn’t. This clearly shows that a major mass has already thought or adopted the maintenance consideration right from the start.
MEP Maintenance with BIM, How?
This statistics show that insufficient ceiling space to accommodate MEP systems is the most frequently encountered problem. This clearly suggests the reason for facility managers’ growing interest in BIM for the MEP maintenance. At the time of renovation, the MEP contractors can get an idea of exact space occupied by the new equipment design and the available space in the building.
The performance of both the systems can also be verified against each other and the components can be changed accordingly to meet the requirements. Any changes in MEP design will directly reflect on the other verticals like structure and design of the building and so the activities can be well-planned and carried out at ease.
In addition to this, BIM also serves the maintenance documents possessing the details and information related to maintenance for each little component of the building. It includes every little detail to when a certain part was replaced. If there is a leak or malfunction in any plumbing component, if there is some problem with the elevator line, if the fire alarms are working or not, the BIM would know where precisely it is in the entire facility.
Thus, it can be replaced with ease without digging through or demolishing the entire wall or structure. Also, for the facility expansion projects, the designed model already has the current MEP layout, which comes in very handy during the MEP works for the extension. This, obviously, eases the work of a facility manager to a huge extent.
To conclude, MEP maintenance is just as important an aspect for any facility manager as to any other maintenance in the facility. It would be gibberish to overlook the maintenance even though it is a tedious job and requires a lot of work even for a small replacement. But with BIM, MEP maintenance is surely a whole lot easier than what it looks like. We, at Hi-Tech, have delivered several successful MEP drafting & design support projects to clients in UAE & USA, assisting them in maintenance of MEP activities through BIM.
Thanks for reading!
Please enjoy a limited number of articles over the next 30 days.
For total access log in to your The BIM Hub account. Or register now, it's free.