In the MEP (M&E) industry, the success of adopting BIM practices depends largely on the level of interaction between the MEP (M&E) design consultant and the contractor. Whereas during the non-BIM era, responsibilities including conceptual design, detailed 3D modeling, and 3D building services coordination have been handled by separate parties, adopting BIM practices can lead to a serious scope overlap between design consultants and contractors particularly if the BIM workflows are not clarified during the planning phase.
Tasks including creating MEP BIM models, carrying out 3D M&E (MEP) BIM coordination and extracting M&E (MEP) coordinated drawings from 3D models can be injected into the scope of multiple parties: MEP design consultants, contractors and other trade-specific subcontractors. For instance, though carrying out 3D BIM coordination is a part of the contractor’s role, the design consultant may also spent some of his time and effort making the model clash-free with respect to the architectural and structural models. Similarly, the MEP contracting team will have to change the BIM model provided by the design consultant if it does not meet the contractor’s requirements with regards to procurement changes, lagging allowances and installation efficiency.
Taken together, such issues pose serious challenges for BIM project take up. The fact that the contractor has to repeat the BIM modeling task (in addition to extracting the MEP coordinated drawings) and that the design consultant has to carry out services coordination (which is actually the contractor’s task) are some key areas of scope overlap. This leads to effort duplication and additional cost that finally affects project schedules. The whole point in employing MEP (M&E) BIM methodologies is to reduce duplication, increase efficiency and improve interdisciplinary coordination. Such overlaps in responsibilities defeat the very goal of using BIM practices as against the traditional 2D CAD methods.
In order to avoid such MEP design and coordination overlaps, there are three possible routes that can be taken:
- The first approach calls for both the MEP design consultant and MEP coordination team to strictly focus on their core responsibilities. The consultant team should simply focus on creating a BIM model and not on coordination or checking geometry-related hard clashes and the clearance clashes. As a result, the contractor gets a non-coordinated BIM model with an efficient services layout. This would not only cut down the BIM modeling time required by the consultant but also eliminates the task of services coordination for the design team.
- The second approach is to take the conventional route in which the design consultant creates 2D MEP designs and hands it over to the MEP contractor. The contracting team can then start creating a BIM model as per their requirements with regards to the lagging allowances, installation efficiency and procurement-related aspects either in-house or by partnering with a specialist MEP (M&E) coordination firm.
- The third approach to avoid such scope overlaps is for the MEP design consultant to work with a specialist 3D BIM coordination and support firm. It is paramount that the firm possesses an in-depth know-how of the expectations of the MEP contractors so that they can undertake the BIM modeling, clash detection and services coordination tasks keeping in mind the procurement, installation and fabrication compulsions of the contracting/subcontracting team. This means the contractor can now focus on refining the BIM model and extract MEP (M&E) drawings from it instead of recreating the BIM model.
We, at XS CAD, specialise in partnering with the key participants of the MEP (M&E) industry (MEP designers, consultants, contractors, fabricators, manufacturers and installers) to provide world-class BIM support in areas of creating BIM models, MEP drawings and undertaking building services coordination, work taking into account regional standards and building codes for HVAC, mechanical, pipe work, plumbing electrical and fire systems.
Contact us now for more information about our 3D building services coordination, MEP modelling and drafting services for the building services sector.