The building services design industry has seen a lot progress in the past decade. The majority of developments can be attributed to have come from within the industry and few from other sources such as government regulations and economic developments. One of the biggest factors that has led to the revolution in the building services industry and aided spatial coordination is the introduction and wide spread acceptance of the intelligent building information modelling (BIM) software tools which have enabled professionals to create accurate and detailed representations of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
Over the years, BIM software tools have improved to the level of providing precise models matching the client requirements and are able to carry detailed information regarding the dimensions, plans, elevations and other vital aspects of the model and the overall project. BIM software tools offer features such as ability to save the changes and update the existing models and designs without affecting the original file and a more useful feature is its ability to work across various disciplines and platforms such as architecture, structural engineering and building services engineering which in due course has lead to better interdisciplinary coordination and reduced construction waste and rework.
BIM models created using Autodesk Revit Architecture and Revit MEP produce realistic design models which helps users to make design changes earlier in the process. The software’s parametric change technology enables users to make any change to the BIM model and these changes would be automatically coordinated throughout the model. 3D BIM models are also beneficial for fabricators and installers as these models can be used with the latest fabrication tools such as FAB MEP to manufacture pre-assembled modules for installation on-site which would help to avoid costly miscalculations at the end of the project. Indeed, the proposed changes in Revit 2017 will mean that fabrication can be carried out in Revit MEP rather than using tools such as FAB MEP.
Another important and elaborate benefit of the 3D BIM revolution has been the improved interdisciplinary coordination between different stakeholders involved in AEC projects. The resultant effect of these developments is the seamless collaboration between all parties involved in AEC project ranging from engineers, architects, MEP consultants, contractors and fabricators during the design and planning stages. This is ultimately leading to the reduction in costly rework which generally happens during construction in many projects. As internet bandwidth has grown, cloud-based collaboration tools were introduced to compliment BIM software, these enable seamless sharing of crucial plan changes at a critical time period and team members can now hold review sessions online for stake holders located around the world.
Apart from the developments within the industry, there have been critical gains that have come from outside the industry that have also helped coordination, such as the updated government policies in different parts of the world which have either promoted or mandated the use of BIM for various government-funded or private projects. BIM technology and its constantly evolving lifecycle is a definite sign that 3D design services including 3D BIM Coordination, 3D Building Services Coordination and 3D MEP Coordinated Drawing services keep improving to match client requirements and to create healthy competition.