The mechanical, electrical, and plumbing support that exists inside a building is known as MEP systems. They make the building infrastructure acceptable to human living and so it becomes a prime requirement for the MEP skeleton to be constructed complying with the best practices of the industry ensuring safety and financial needs are well-taken care off. From inception to the construction to completion of a project there should be optimum designing and installation of MEP systems for having smooth operations of a building that bring operation costs and energy efficiency. Incorporating MEP BIM Services for the building project the contractors get effective insights into the crucial design data which comes directly from the architectural models in real-time. While MEP services are a comprehensive procedure it does get split into separate mechanical, electrical, and plumbing departments of the building.
In this article, we will try to understand the importance of mechanical services and how BIM aids this procedure. Talking about mechanical services, it is basically the machines and systems which aid in the smooth functioning of the building. So, in simple terms, it is any building service that utilizes a machine. Some of the common mechanical systems would include the HVAC system, elevators, escalators, electrical wiring, ventilation, and plumbing mechanics of a building. So, if any system involves moving components or helps something to move just like the electricity, water or gas is probably a mechanical system for that building infrastructure.
Why is it necessary to have a focused Mechanical Drawing / Model?
Having a comprehensive mechanical model or shop drawing will ensure that all the engineers and project members are on the same page to bring consistency to the project. This model will have different parts and components which will be used by other MEP engineers and contractors like MEP Plumbing engineer or Electrical engineer. Say, for example, to design the elevator shaft is the role of a mechanical engineer but the electrical engineer will also have to be involved in this process for bringing about coordinated models.
Employing Mechanical BIM services for construction project benefits in more than one way. Apart from bringing about overall efficiency, it helps to gain control of the project, automate the coordination process, increase accuracy and efficiency, and bring about a competitive edge in the market and optimize the use of labor and cost.
Benefits of Mechanical BIM Services
Some of the prime benefits of mechanical BIM are:
- Automation: While mechanical design elements are independently worked upon, the project, overall, becomes complex due to MEP systems being inter-related. Elements like VAV boxes, ductwork, electrical equipment, water and plumbing, and various other systems are spread throughout the place and so there are clashes seen during MEP coordination. So, resolving these mechanical clashes through the traditional process of manually resolving these conflicts becomes very tedious along with being less accurate. But with teams using BIM models, this process gets automated and so a simple clash detection mechanism would flag all the spaces where conflict can occur. MEP coordination services not only identify all clashes like clearance clash or hard clash and workflow interference, but they are resolved too. This empowers the contractors at being effective with planning the workflow schedules and allowing off-site manufacturing of systems elements so that on-site staging area is saved where space is already limited.
- Project Control: With BIM modeling services the teams get access to a great deal of information relating to the mechanical project due to collaboration mechanics and availability of data in the same drawing file. The MEP contractors can have the conflicts resolved with each discipline of MEP services before pushing it for on-site installation. Identifying flaws in the design during the construction and equipment installation phase can be very time and money consuming which could impact the overall construction schedule impacting other departments and affecting the RERA deadlines. This might bring losses instead of maximizing the profit margins and return on investments. But contrary to this with BIM models for their projects, the teams can easily resolve the conflicts before finalizing the design for fabrication so that no valuable time gets wasted in reworks during the construction phase.
- Accurate Information: Right information of MEP components is important to mitigate risks arising during the construction of a project, which could be derived using BIM tools. This information could be mechanical and plumbing pipe diameter, equipment asset tag, ductwork cubic foot per minute output, gravity system pipe pitch, location of mechanical and electrical components, etc. The teams can use the BIM model to get such information when needed off-site or on-site. With respect to the project owner’s point, this comes handy during meetings where the design needs to be presented to convey the intention before the final deal is signed.
- Availability and Functionality: Partnering with BIM companies in the design and installation stages of building service systems there is a reduction in downtime along with ensuring fully functional 3D models that are effective from the initial design stage itself.
- Risk Reduction: With the following technical guidelines, regulations, and industry standards of BIM services the overall project risk reduces due to following the tried and tested techniques that have proven to be successful. The issues and conflicts are reduced before the final construction begins. Mechanical BIM ensures compliance with national and international legislations.
- Add Competitive advantage: Ensuring mechanical services from a trusted BIM outsourcing service provider brings about a competitive advantage to your complete project in terms of design, efficiency, resource utilization, and much more.
- Save Money: Since the project is implemented using best and standard procedures and resolving conflicts in the initial stage itself it helps with complete reduction of material wastage, labor needs, and overall cost which saves a lot of money for the project.
Seeing some of these benefits that a mechanical department can derive using BIM services, it is important to note that one of the biggest perks, as reported by contractors, is the ability of BIM to improvise the overall fabrication process. Many mechanical contractors frequently use offsite fabrication for their MEP systems and one of the studies showed that almost half of them use BIM on 50% or more of the assemblies they prefabricate, showcasing that BIM is an important tool for this process. Apart from helping with fabrication the advantage of MEP BIM services to assist with prefabrication has also been suggested. Over 80% of mechanical contractors using BIM to prefabricate have said that they have seen improvements in labor costs, material waste generated, quality of installed work, schedule performance, and minimizing or avoiding the purchase of extra pipes and fittings. To conclude mechanical contractors can use BIM as a powerful tool for their project effectiveness along with managing and coordinating their design systems, thereby ensuring productivity of time and money.