“For progress to happen, the old needs to make way for the new.”
In the construction industry, progress has been slow because of the slow adoption of technology. Traditional methods have long been responsible for the problems such as inefficient designs, cost overruns and project delays that plague the industry today.
However, with the entry of BIM into the picture, the construction landscape is changing. Legacy 2D drawings have made way for 3D BIM models that are far more superior in terms of detail and visualization. In fact, BIM is an intelligent process that equips AEC professionals with tools and insights to create efficient building designs.
In the construction industry, MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) services are vital to a building’s structures. Effective coordination of MEP services ensures that these services don’t clash with each other or with other disciplines such as architecture and structure.
Through BIM, potential conflicts in the layout of ducts, conduits & cable trays and piping can be identified and resolved. Once these conflicts are resolved in the BIM model right at the preconstruction stage, a clash free model will be ready to be used to generate shop drawings.
An overview of the BIM process in MEP Design
BIM’s visualization capabilities are extremely powerful. The intent of the design can be clearly conveyed through 3D models to the users.
Moreover, communication and collaboration can begin at the modelling stage itself between various trades. As the BIM model is a digital representation of the building, it acts as a shared and reliable source of information, which helps MEP professionals to make informed decisions.
The BIM process starts by modelling and spatial zoning of HVAC, plumbing and electrical service components. At this stage, the MEP systems and services can be easily incorporated without clashes as the architectural and structural layouts are already included in the model.
Both model preparation and clash detection & correction happens simultaneously making the whole process quick and result oriented.
After the clash free final model is prepared, the next step is to generate shop drawings for the MEP services. The coordinated shop drawings facilitate the fabrication and installation of MEP systems without reworks, work stoppages and increase in cost.
Benefits of BIM in MEP design
- Low cost
There are numerous ways through which the use of BIM can bring down costs. From reducing the need for reworks, reduction in manhours eliminating work stoppages, reducing wastage to reduction in operational costs, BIM can be best described by the phrase “get more for less”.
- Clash-free Design
BIM facilitates collaboration and coordination between multiple design teams at the preconstruction stage so that the final model is free from errors. A clash free design saves money by reducing reworks and work stoppages at the construction stage.
- Accurate quantity estimation
Through BIM models, Bill of Materials can be quickly and accurately determined to facilitate the smooth procurement of materials and better budget planning.
- Value Engineering
Value engineering in MEP services is a critical part. The process helps to identify and implement the best possible routes for the services running in a building saving both material and construction costs. 3D BIM helps with Value Engineering across all the disciplines in a project.
This helps in –
- Bringing down cost
- Enhancing safety
- Resolving constructability issues
- Reducing installation time
- Brings certainty
Since all the stakeholders and users can visualize the building in greater detail through BIM walkthroughs, it assures certainty. Moreover, the owner can exercise greater control over a project through cloud collaboration technologies on which the entire BIM modelling process takes place. This allows the owner to monitor the project on a regular basis and keep tabs on the project’s progress.
BIM is a powerful tool for MEP professionals that streamlines collaboration and communication between trades. MEP design firms are now beginning to realize how 3D BIM can drastically transform the way they work.
In fact, implementing BIM is the best way forward for the entire spectrum of AEC professionals to ensure efficient designs and workflows.