Has BIM Modified MEP Design Workflow?

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Construction planning drawings on the table and two yellow pencils

The MEP design and set up workflow includes quite a lot of stakeholders and events which are collectively accountable for overseeing a collection of phases that can consequence within the constructing engineering (or constructing companies) to be deliberate, designed, spatially coordinated, fabricated, put in, commissioned and maintained. Sometimes, the constructing companies design stage follows the preliminary architectural design, from which level it may well normally be designed in parallel with additional architectural in addition to structural design adjustments.

The engineering groups that sometimes design constructing companies options are normally in certainly one of two teams. The primary group is often the constructing designer, also called the guide engineer or the design engineer. It’s the function of the design engineer to work intently with the architect to develop the general constructing engineering parts together with lighting, cooling, heating, drainage, waste, hearth prevention and safety companies. Historically, the design engineer won’t be concerned within the detailed spatial design of those companies. As a substitute the detailed spatial design and set up would usually be dealt with by the second get together, generally known as the MEP contractor (M&E contractor) or commerce contractor. The MEP or commerce contractor is accountable for evolving the preliminary guide design right into a workable and installation-ready constructing companies resolution.

In some cases, there’s additionally a 3rd get together concerned – the fabricator, who might be accountable for creating MEP elements equivalent to ductwork or pipework parts or in some instances pre-fabricated options that encompass pipework, electrical ladder, plumbing, ductwork and sprinkler inside a body (module) that’s delivered to website for set up in risers, plant rooms and corridors.

This text is anxious with the function of the MEP designer and MEP contractor, particularly, the main target for this text is to debate how BIM (Constructing Data Modelling) has influenced the MEP design workflow between the designer and the contractor.

Present MEP BIM Workflow Choices

Primarily there are 5 completely different MEP design workflow eventualities that presently exist and these might be mentioned within the article. They’re as follows

  1. Conventional 2D design and 3D BIM coordination
  2. 3D MEP design and 3D BIM coordination
  3. Designers 3D BIM design and coordination
  4. Contractor 3D BIM design and coordination
  5. Basic contractor 3D mannequin coordination

Conventional 2D Design and 3D BIM Coordination

Contemplating the normal MEP method first, that is the place a guide will create 2D design outputs, which embody 2D plan layouts, 2D sections and MEP (M&E) schematics. It will point out the design intent for the constructing based mostly on the use specified by the architect. As soon as the guide has accomplished this design data he’ll cross on the knowledge to an MEP contractor who might be accountable for creating the MEP coordinated resolution. This text assumes that the contractor will create a spatially coordinated 3D BIM mannequin utilizing BIM instruments equivalent to Revit MEP and Navisworks. The contractor will use the design data and create an installation-ready resolution which takes into consideration set up, effectivity of pipe runs or duct bends, area for lagging and hanging the companies, entry for submit set up upkeep and so forth. This conventional MEP method, from a 2D design to a 3D mannequin has existed for the previous couple of a long time and permits the contractor so as to add extra data into the mannequin that can be utilized by him and by amenities administration firms after the set up. The usage of the 3D instrument equivalent to Revit is after all helpful as it’s an clever mannequin, with parametric elements and subsequently, in addition to permitting the contractor to establish and resolve clashes earlier than any time is spent on website, it has different makes use of and purposes the place mannequin ‘data’ is used and relied upon.

3D MEP Design and 3D BIM Coordination

The second workflow technique is extra immediately influenced by BIM. Because the MEP designer, one will use BIM instruments to create a 3D mannequin and related drawings throughout his preliminary design section (moderately than a 2D design) earlier than this data is handed throughout to an MEP commerce contractor. The MEP design engineer will sometimes create a 3D mannequin on account of buyer specs and necessities for a BIM mannequin, as in lots of instances a federated mannequin (which mixes the opposite disciplines in a single mannequin) is required by the shopper for a weekly assessment and therefore the MEP guide can’t merely present a set of 2D drawings. On this workflow, the BIM mannequin is successfully a 3D illustration of what would in any other case be a 2D deliverable. It would subsequently encompass areas the place additional adjustments are nonetheless wanted by a commerce contractor. Such examples embody using library objects moderately than particular MEP commerce contractor procured parts which may be used within the mannequin. The creation of a 3D BIM mannequin at this stage by the guide can also be topic to a number of architectural and structural mannequin adjustments. These have a knock-on impact on the MEP resolution as it’s successfully a work-in-progress mannequin for MEP with fixed architectural and structural adjustments and subsequently won’t ever have the identical degree of effectivity, when it comes to format of companies, in comparison with an MEP mannequin the place the architectural and structural fashions are frozen. The draw back of this workflow technique is after all the additional time taken to create a BIM mannequin by the guide workforce. Added to this subject is the truth that 3D modelling experience and expertise inside a consulting engineering workforce can generally be restricted. As soon as the guide completes his mannequin and passes it to the MEP contractor, the choice as as to if the contractor ought to adapt the mannequin or begin the modelling course of from the beginning is absolutely based mostly on the standard of the mannequin to begin with. In actuality each eventualities will exist, in some instances the MEP commerce contractor is best off beginning the BIM mannequin once more utilizing solely the 2D design drawings which are created by the guide from his BIM mannequin, whereas in some uncommon instances the commerce contractor will use the consultants MEP BIM mannequin and adapt and modify it along with his adjustments, to make the mannequin prepared for set up. In each eventualities, the MEP contractor will all the time look to make worth engineering additions and adjustments to the mannequin in addition to procurement led mannequin adjustments.

Designers 3D BIM MEP Design and Coordination

The third MEP design workflow technique is a extra pure and direct consequence of BIM and it truly additionally begins to advertise the advantage of BIM extra considerably because it will get nearer to ‘digital design and building’ goals of the business. On this workflow the method of design engineer is to create a BIM mannequin that’s spatially coordinated and that’s utilizing the precise specified elements for the undertaking. Sometimes, the guide throughout this section could have an extended time period to create the mannequin, permitting him to soak up the adjustments from structural and architectural disciplines as they progress by means of the detailing phases. The truth that the mannequin is then coordinated with the construction and structure in addition to different MEP companies permits the guide to create a mannequin that’s being created in keeping with an set up commonplace that’s now extra usable by an installer or fabricator. When the mannequin on this workflow technique is handed on to a contractor, the contractor should still want to make last adjustments and changes in a spherical of worth engineering. Sometimes, the contractor will use the identical mannequin on this workflow and make adjustments to the mannequin offered by the MEP design guide. Moreover, it’s possible that the guide engineer won’t have offered invert (peak) ranges or dimensions from gridlines and partitions for the MEP companies on his drawings. In such instances the contractor will subsequently should create extra element within the drawings, however once more contractor may use the guide’s drawings and progress them in additional element for his/her use.

Contractor 3D Design and Coordination

The fourth workflow technique includes MEP contractors (or commerce contractors) taking up the design duty in addition to the coordination duty. While the coordination duty is a longtime skillset with expertise of growing detailed and complete vertical and horizontal methods for coordination being a part of the contractor’s core expertise, the design duty is a brand new ingredient for the contractor. This was historically generally known as a design and construct method; nevertheless, it’s now changing into more and more widespread particularly in instances the place firms are searching for to have fast design and detailed coordination accomplished. Sometimes, the elements for use might be specified by the tip shopper, permitting the contractor to design and mannequin earlier than creating his detailed coordinated drawings from the mannequin, to permit set up and fabrication if wanted. The rationale that this explicit workflow technique isn’t the most well-liked at current is just as a result of quantity of labor out there and in addition the design duty that additionally must be assumed as generally, contractors could not want to settle for this threat or certainly they could not have the assets to finish the design work. For this workflow technique to exist in any respect implies that the contractor has to make use of design workers immediately and supply design legal responsibility insurance coverage to permit him to design the MEP resolution in addition to set up it. The advantage of this workflow possibility is clearly the time effectivity that’s realized and subsequently the price profit, as the price of utilising contractor useful resource will normally be decrease in comparison with costly design engineering companies. Nonetheless, it does include some threat because the design experience that design engineers possess can’t be simply replicated by contractors, even when they do make use of in-house groups.

Basic Contractor 3D Mannequin Coordination

The fifth variant of MEP design workflow relies on creating coordinated MEP fashions just like the normal 2D to 3D method however for a distinct buyer group. On this workflow technique a 2D architectural, structural and MEP design that’s for use by a primary contractor (or common contractor) is then progressed right into a 3D BIM mannequin by the contractor to evaluate the validity and completeness of the mannequin. In some instances, among the design parts from the completely different disciplines could also be introduced in 3D whereas others could also be in 2D. It’s also attainable that completely different disciplines could present fashions in numerous software program which will or could not current software program interoperability challenges. In such cases, a workforce will sometimes be employed to make use of the design knowledge from architectural, structural and MEP designers to then create a 3D BIM mannequin based mostly on precise knowledge. The intention is to establish any inconsistencies within the design knowledge by figuring out any clashes within the mannequin, permitting the contractor in such a workflow technique to successfully mitigate his/her potential threat. Any issues discovered inside the mannequin are normally handed again to the designers to make amendments to their 2D design for subsequent adjustments to the 3D BIM mannequin which is finally owned by the principle contractor. This BIM workflow resolution is changing into much less widespread now as a result of MEP contractors and designers are creating BIM fashions themselves.

In abstract, BIM has launched quite a lot of new workflow variants to the MEP design companies sector. The beforehand tried and trusted technique of a 2D design, from a designer, that was developed right into a 3D coordinated MEP mannequin by contractor is not the workflow resolution used as companies now have many different variants and options out there. Together with BIM Modeling, different developments within the building sector, together with collaborative on-line working and work sharing have additionally contributed to the uptake ranges for BIM and impacted the adjustments to workflow.

When it comes to the MEP design workflow choices, the most well-liked of those as we transfer ahead would be the third possibility, which is the guide making a BIM mannequin that’s spatially coordinated, or the fourth possibility which is the contractor taking up the design duty in addition to creating the coordinated BIM mannequin. Each choices are successfully a change to the normal method for MEP design and each level to a single supply for the mannequin and drawings versus the historic two-tier design method. All choices mentioned would require competent BIM coordination and MEP modelling groups and assets. XS CAD, with its giant MEP coordination workforce and MEP engineering design workforce, which consists of mechanical and electrical engineering professionals, is effectively positioned to cope with such initiatives for firms based mostly within the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As all are areas the place BIM is now the popular resolution, XS CAD, with greater than 16 years’ expertise and a presence in every market is a perfect possibility for such firms.

Supply by Kuldeep Bwail

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