3 Key Points MEP Contractors Can Benefit From Using BIM
Today, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has changed the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry for the better enabling a more effective project management and coordination among all discipline trades involved in the construction process.
BIM’s true potential is realized when all involved project parties actively engage in using the data-rich models and information. This includes Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) contractors, and Construction companies. All discipline trades can use this great technology to make precise decisions prior to field construction and equipment installation.
The Benefits –
1. Project Control
Using BIM, the team has access to a vast amount of information pertaining to the project. Information regarding wall assemblies, ceiling heights, mechanical and plumbing pipe locations, HVAC equipment types, electrical panel schedule, etc. all available in the same drawing file. The BIM model allows MEP contractors to detect and resolve any conflicts within each discipline prior to final sign-off and ready for field installation.
Discovering flaws within the design out in the field during equipment installation is a very painstaking process. This could impact the construction schedule sequence creating a domino effect, leaving other trades behind trying to target deadlines. As a result, causing a potential loss of maximizing profit and Return On Investment (ROI). Alternatively, by using the BIM model, the team can easily correct errors and make accurate adjustments before finalizing the design for fabrication, and ultimately pushing the equipment out the door leaving no valuable time wasted in the process.
Projects can get very complex having MEP elements such as ductwork, VAV boxes, water and plumbing pipes, electrical equipment and other systems all over the place, conflicts almost become inevitable in MEP coordination. Having to manually address each conflict issue is a very daunting task. Fortunately, the team can use BIM models to automate the activities using the clash detection process to flag all instances where conflicts occur.
By using BIM’s clash detection method, all the possible clashes such as hard clash, soft/clearance clash, and 4D/workflow interference can be resolved. This approach allows MEP contractors to be effective at planning their workflow schedule and allows for the manufacturing of systems elements off-site saving real estate on-site for staging area where space is limited.
3. Information Accuracy
BIM provides contractors the benefit of accurate information regarding MEP systems to mitigate construction risks. This information shows data such as ductwork cubic foot per minute (CFM) output, mechanical and plumbing pipe diameter, gravity system pipe pitch, equipment asset tag used in Facility Management (FM), size and location of electrical panels and other equipment. The team can use BIM to acquire this information on demand when needed on and off-site. As a project owner this is most effective in meetings where presentation of the design needs to accurately convey the intent prior to final sign-off.
In conclusion, MEP contractors can utilize BIM as a powerful tool to support their project effectively while managing and coordinating their design systems. BIM ensures productivity, saving both time and money, virtually resolving conflicts, and representing the design intent with great level of detail.