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14 May 2020
Kuldeep Bwail

Typical Stages Involved in MEP Coordination

One of the most integral practices undertaken in the pre-construction phase, MEP (M&E) coordination demands special attention from all the AEC professionals involved in a project. This process ensures that the building’s architectural design and its structural framework don’t interfere or clash with its mechanical, electrical, plumbing or fire protection systems. Increasingly, BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology is being used to streamline the 3D M&E (MEP) coordination process.

While the MEP coordination process may vary from firm to firm, depending on the client’s requirements and the level of details (LOD) sought, the typical stages involved in the process are as follows:

1. Review of Consultant Design Drawings & Architectural/Structural Plans/3D Models
  • A preliminary stage – the firm responsible for MEP drafting receives single-line drawings or MEP 3D models from MEP consultants or contractors.
  • Architectural and structural plans are analysed in detail.
  • Drawings and layouts are evaluated for consistency with schematics, and their MEP specifications are studied.
  • Based on this analysis, the MEP coordination services provider lays out a coordination roadmap.
2. 3D Model Creation
  • Using consultant design drawings received initially, the MEP coordination services provider creates an accurate 3D model, using Revit or AutoCAD.
  • Increasingly, BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology is being used to create these 3D models.
  • This model shows all the MEP services within the architectural and structural limitations of the building.
  • The 3D model lays the groundwork for several construction-related drawing sets — plans, sections or elevations.
  • The 3D model will be used for client inputs and for creating detailed walk-throughs.
3. Clash Detection and Resolution
  • At this stage, the MEP coordination services provider evaluates the 3D model for conflicts and clashes between architectural elements and MEP systems, using Navisworks, an interference-checking software application.
  • Any inconsistencies, including geometry-related hard clashes, clearance clashes and workflow clashes are detected, and feasible alternatives are provided to the client.
4. Creation of Coordinated Drawings and Sections
  • Once the 3D model is tested for horizontal and vertical coordination and clearance, MEP coordination drawings are prepared to show how mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire-protection systems work together in the same space.
  • To make sizes clear for each discipline, additional notes may be added.
  • The building services coordinated drawings form a ready reference for individual service-by-service drawings.
  • Sections, elevations and isometric views from the same 3D model may be used by BIM coordination services providers to explain and detail the layouts for customers.
5. Creation of Detailed Service Drawings
  • At this stage, single service drawings are created, and component size, height and distances from gridlines are added for further clarity.
  • Used by site installation teams, these drawings form the basis of fabrication drawings.
6. Creation of Fabrication, Spool and Hanger Drawings
  • At this stage, fabrication drawings can be created, if required, from individual building services drawings.
  • Fabrication details of ductwork on these drawings can be recognised by CNC machines for production.
  • Spooling data can be created from the model’s details.
  • Hangers can be mapped, and their details specified for each drawing, then included in a schedule.

Depending on the scope of the project, some of the above stages may be excluded by the 3D M&E (MEP) coordination services providers. However, each phase is crucial for a smooth completion of the project without any delays, cost overruns or abrupt design changes.

7. As-fitted Changes
  • The final stage – changes to the model and drawings are made, due to site-based changes or deviations from construction drawings.
  • If the coordination exercise has been well executed and the installation has followed the service installation drawings and the construction drawing instructions and layouts, the changes to the as-fitted (also known as as-built and as-installed) drawings are minimal.

Precise, clash-free 3D MEP coordination and the resulting MEP coordination drawings contribute critically to building health. With experienced BIM coordination services providers, increasingly sourced as offshore partners, Western firms can have time to concentrate on other business processes and initiatives. Offshore firms with the right technically qualified professionals and sound infrastructure can provide high-quality building services coordinated drawings that are cost effective and delivered within deadlines at any stage of MEP coordination.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing BIM coordination services and building services coordinated drawings for global firms. Our range of services for building services design consultants and contractors across the world include MEP drafting, electrical drafting, public health system drafting and 3D M&E (MEP) coordination using BIM 360 Design for collaboration.