How Do MEP Consultants & MEP Contractors Differ?
The short answer is that an MEP consultant provides a spatially organised design that meets the intended needs of the customer’s site. An MEP contractor makes sure that construction adheres to the intended design, provided by the MEP consultant and other designers, on site and the project is delivered on time. An MEP contractor ensures that the construction model and drawings are accurate, clash-free and detailed for installation purposes.
The reasons why it is essential to employ an MEP consultant are as follows:
- Mechanical systems – consists of heaters, air conditioners, exhausts and smoke control devices which must provide comfort and run efficiently – the responsibility of the MEP consultant.
- Electrical systems – consists of fire alarms, security systems, smoke alarms, etc.; MEP consultants provide energy-efficient electrical design.
- Plumbing systems – involves fire suppression systems, gas delivery systems in medical and laboratory settings, water and waste management systems for drinking water, irrigation water, sewers, etc.; MEP consultants provide efficient plumbing design.
- Long-lasting design – designs with recent, competent technologies must be provided by the MEP consultant so that the maximum life cycle is ensured.
- Cost efficiency – MEP consultants provide design that helps stay within budget and are cost efficient.
- Maximum use – MEP consultants include products and systems that provide maximum use and easy maintenance in their design.
- Healthy indoors – Natural daylight, moisture control and MEP systems are designed by MEP consultants to maintain a healthy environment indoors.
- Building functions – MEP consultants design the entire HVAC system and process, with precise devices and software networks.
- Collaboration – MEP consultants work with architects, engineers and owners to design building systems.
- Human Resources – MEP consultants can also hire an external MEP BIM specialist who can provide BIM MEP services and can validate consultants’ design.
The day-to-day functions of an MEP consultant include the following:
- Plan, design mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems
- Develop policy standards, inspection processes, evaluation tools for branch facilities
- Prepare and review drawings, specifications, cost estimations for MEP
- Develop best practice and maintenance procedures
- Develop facility database and master plan data
- Prepare estimated costs of MEP components and systems
- Provide technical advice regarding installation and maintenance of MEP systems
- Analyse potential MEP challenges and devise their solutions
Now, let’s look at the MEP contractor’s part in the process.
The MEP contractor ensures that the drawings and documentation provided to him/her by the MEP consultant is strictly followed, manages any unforeseen challenges on site and ensures that MEP components and systems are installed to work seamlessly. Additional features of the MEP contractor’s role involve:
- Manage and monitor health and safety on site
- Note and report any problems to the project manager
- Monitor and stop installation work if there are any unresolved clashes on the drawings and may also risk health safety issues
- Coordinate or work closely with all MEP trades
- Monitor on-site piped system pressure test, air conditioning duct leakage testing, mechanical systems testing and commissioning, etc.
- Advise the project director
The areas where the influence of MEP contractors is most keenly felt are as follows:
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) MEP contractors ensure that the HVAC plans are followed up with proper installation.
- Plumbing MEP contractors ensure that the plumbing system is installed so that stormwater, sewage system, natural gas or irrigation systems are installed cost effectively.
- Electrical The MEP contractor ensures that the lighting system, designed by the MEP consultant, is installed so that electricity usage is reduced.
- Energy Efficiency The MEP contractor facilitates energy conservation solutions, including the installation of equipment used for renewable energy sources.
- Building Automation The MEP contractor instals an automated system for HVAC, electrical, security and fire alarm systems to keep energy usage regulated.
- Air Quality Indoors The MEP contractor instals the proper HVAC system to keep the air quality indoors safe and healthy.
- Hiring BIM Coordination Services MEP contractors understands the challenges of MEP coordination at an early stage and may also offer BIM coordination services and value engineering services.
It is critical to have both and MEP consultant and an MEP contractor on board. This will streamline the construction process, ultimately resulting in valuable profits.
Using BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology in MEP design is becoming a requirement in most construction projects in Western countries. For those who do not have the required infrastructure and expertise, offshore BIM service providers and mechanical designing services companies can provide high-quality design and drafting services, mechanical CAD drafting services and electrical CAD drafting services that are affordable.
XS CAD has valuable experience providing BIM coordination services. Our range of MEP BIM services for building services design consultants and contractors across the world include MEP drafting, electrical drafting, public health system drafting and 3D MEP (M&E) coordination using BIM 360 Design.