Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) services are essential aspects of building design and construction. Professionals within Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) require detailed information regarding the location, type and installation timetables for the MEP services throughout the project.
Increasingly, Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is helping firms streamline the MEP coordination process. The U.K. Government is committed to creating opportunities for the U.K. construction industry to become a world leader in the use of BIM, realizing that it offers a fully coordinated, streamlined approach to healthy building. Significant progress has already been achieved using BIM in the domestic sector, and MEP service coordination is an integral part of this process.
We have broken the process down into seven steps. There may be some changes due to project demands and individual company procedures, but it is vital to ensure that nothing is missed.
Step 1: Drawings and Structural Plans
MEP consultants or contractors supply single-line drawings or MEP 3D models to the MEP drafting firm for review. The structural and architectural plans are analyzed and evaluated for consistency with schematics and MEP services coordinated into a roadmap to ensure the specifications are correct.
Step 2: 3D Model
The MEP coordination services provider will then create an accurate 3D model from the drawings provided. The CAD Room, experts in BIM technology, provides 3D model creation services. BIM 3D models provide excellent detailed information for all of the MEP services and project stakeholders. They lay the groundwork for construction-related drawing plans, sections and elevations. The 3D model then becomes the basis for client input and detailed walk-throughs.
Step 3: Clashes and Present Resolutions
This stage allows the MEP coordination contractor the opportunity to closely evaluate any clashes between the designed architectural elements and the planned MEP systems. Detecting inconsistencies early in the process will allow the contractor to provide the client with suitable alternatives before the work begins. Interference-checking software and industry experts can identify any conflicts with geometry and clearance, as well as workflow clashes.
Step 4: Coordinated Drawings
Once the clash detection process is completed, MEP coordinated drawings can then be produced to allow everyone involved with the project to see how the mechanical, engineering and plumbing systems work together within the space. This stage also identifies fire protection system installations. Sizes can be shown in additional notes added to the 3D BIM model so that each discipline can determine elevations and isometric views. These drawings are ready references for service providers and give an easy-to-understand detailed vision to the customer.
Step 5: Single Service Detailed Drawings
These drawings feed into the fabrication drawings to provide exact details for each of the individual MEP services. Gridlines provide clarity, showing full height, distance, and component sizes clearly for each discipline's relevant site installation teams.
Step 6: Fabrication, Spool and Hanger Drawings
Where needed, fabrication drawings can be created. CNC machines can recognize these details to allow specialist ductworks and other elements to be produced to exact requirements.
Model details can also create spooling data, where needed, and hangers can be mapped with each drawing detail specified and included within the MEP building schedule.
Step 7: As-fitted Changes
Where there have been site changes or deviations to the construction drawings, the final stage incorporates any changes into the 3D model and drawings created. Where the process has been well-coordinated, such changes should be minimal.
The use of BIM early in the project and throughout ensures strong coordination, resulting in far fewer deviations from the original construction drawings and subsequent need for as-fitted amendments.
3D MEP coordination and clash-free BIM are critical to ensuring a smooth building project. Therefore, it certainly pays to use the services of an experienced CAD and BIM firm early within a project to ensure its smooth running.