What would you prefer? MEP BIM Services or MEP Design Services?
The difference of MEP building services from architectural and structural disciplines is that it is split into a two tier design system. There are two key participants in an MEP project services, which are MEP design consultant and the MEP contractor. While the MEP design consultant is also known as MEP design engineer, the MEP contractor generally includes respective trade sub-contractors. Both the design consultants and MEP contractors have their own roles and responsibilities. In an ideal scenario, the development of the MEP design services, which is also known as the design-intent, is the duty of MEP consultant. Spatial coordination or detailed design in some respects is the responsibility of the contractor. He also has to procure and manage the fabrication and installation process.
“Both in MEP BIM Services and conventional MEP drafting services, the respective parties give architectural and structural design drawings or model to the design consultant during his design contract for the project.”
Many versions are passed across to the design consultant, while he is expected to proceed with his design. Even though the design of the design engineer should work with the architectural and structural drawings, it may not have sufficient details like pre-fabrication and installation details, which are required for installation, while it reaches to the MEP contractor. This happens because of the time and financial limitations. In such situations, the MEP contractor creates a clash free service model using his knowledge, skills, technical product data and other design data. It allows ease of fabrication, efficient installation and access to post-installation and maintenance.
The MEP contractor will create per-fabrication models and installation layouts, which have enough detail essential for coordinating the services within allocated spaces and carry out installation without the chance of rework on site. He has to change the consultant issue drawings drastically in some situations to achieve this. So it is clear that the final design will have significant changes while the design-intent may have been in place.
What the MEP contractor actually does is to extend the design-intent in order to create MEP coordinated construction drawings. So the MEP design and design detailing, that continue beyond drawings/model provided by the MEP consultant, is not known as ‘design’, but as co-ordination or spatial coordination, to be more exact.
MEP consultants now undertake more of the drawing role, as BIM provides greater levels of design detailing in the industry. As a result the consultants pay more attention to the creation of detailed design and thus more spatial coordination.