Healthcare facilities are required to be designed considering hygiene standards that are way more stringent than those required in developing a normal commercial building. While architects try to maintain these standards by achieving soothing aesthetics of the facility, MEP professionals ensure that the MEP layout meets the need of proper energy supply and drainage systems. But for MEP teams, installing systems in place is like completing just half of the job. The other half involves keeping a consistent check on proper operation and maintenance of these MEP systems.
As a matter of fact, MEP accounts for 30-40% of the total construction costs of a typical hospital building. Further, most healthcare facilities have multiple moving parts (live load), which requires efficient coordination for MEP design engineers with architectural and structural teams and is achievable through BIM (Building Information Modeling) implementation.
One of the common challenges faced in MEP while dealing in healthcare construction is prefabrication issues associated with piping systems. Any inaccuracy in prefabricated pipes can lead to inaccurate dimensioning of equipment, resulting in installation issues due to mismatch in the facility and actual equipment. The common reason can be attributed to the tendency of MEP teams to refer to physical drawings, which might have been revised several times.
Maintaining cleanliness of ducts for the sake of hygiene quality controls is another challenge for any hospital construction. While accommodating these systems to meet the precise humidity control, temperature and indoor air quality standards also keep MEP contractors busy coordinating with other disciplines to meet spatial requirements.
BIM to address the challenges
Bringing BIM aboard, the spatial requirements of the components can be managed effectively and their coordination can be achieved by integrating the data in a common data environment. Furthermore, it allows generating as-built models and detects clashes in design to resolve them for a coherent design layout and installation. Additionally, to ensure a standard data exchange and storage, BIM tools like Revit works according to IFC and COBie standards to maintain uniformity across the project work.
Beyond the construction phase, BIM for Healthcare also shows a dramatic improvement in facility management, allowing O&M team to take informed decisions. The possibility to extract useful data from BIM-ready MEP models deliver an ease to O&M team for maintenance and replacements of parts along with other specifications such as quality and manufacturer information.
Faulty valves, pumps, plumbing fixtures, water distribution, and supply pipes, drainage and sanitation systems can be easily detected and replaced with the same quality. This is possible through utilization of Revit families or BIM content library while developing MEP system design within Revit. The information warehoused within the MEP BIM models is then sufficient to solve the issues of quality control in hygiene.
BIM for MEP delivers an on-time project completion, and along with that, it enables efficient maintenance required to keep hospital premises clean and as per the regulatory standards. With information rich BIM ready models, constructing facilities with multiple complexities and special requirements, such as need for a hospital, is efficient and cost-effective. The intelligence gained through BIM can reap greatest benefits in information integration and can bridge the gap between drawings and reality to achieve undivided attention of MEP contractors.
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