Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent model that digitally represents the physical and functional characteristics of a project or facility in the form of a three-dimensional model. The 3D BIM model is linked with a database of project information to create and manage complex construction projects with accuracy and less hassle. BIM provides a clear vision of the overall project and allows the stakeholders of a project the architects, engineers, contractors, and owners to add their own discipline-specific knowledge throughout the project life cycle.
BIM has a multidimensional capacity which includes more than 3D (object model) dimension such as 4D (time), 5D (cost), 6D (operation), 7D (sustainability), and even 8D (Safety).
MC Kinsey report shows that 75% of the companies that adopted BIM have reported positive ROI, has reduced its project life cycle and saved cost incurred on paper and material. BIM in construction sector resulted in benefits like higher quality work, greater speed, and productivity, and lower costs for building professionals in terms of design, construction, and operation of buildings.
The benefits of BIM have forced the construction industry to integrate the technology in its various operations.
What is MEP Virtual Design
The Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) virtual design is a 3D digital model of the MEP System created with the help of BIM Tools and Software such as Revit, AutoCAD, and Navisworks.
The digital model helps to accurately detail and coordinate the complex MEP system by providing better design visualization, clash detection, and constructability analysis. The model is used from the design to the construction phase and even to manage the system.
Importance and Functions of MEP System
The Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) system is an important and integral part of the building services as they provide comfort, security, and safety to the people who occupy the building and is vital for the lifecycle of the building.
The MEP system performs various functions to make a building suitable for human occupancy.
The Mechanical system of a building is mostly related to the Space heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems which maintain and regulates internal air quality, temperature, and humidity. They are also allied to the transportation systems such as lifts and escalators of the building and other elements of infrastructure.
The Electrical system includes Power supply and distribution, Information and telecommunications systems, Control systems, Security and access systems, Detection and alarm systems and Interior and exterior lighting. They are overlap between mechanical and electrical system as few systems include both electrical and mechanical components.
Plumbing Involves pipes, valves, plumbing fixtures, tanks and other apparatus that allows movement of fluids and are used for Heating and cooling, Waste removal, Potable cold, and hot water supply, Water recovery and treatment systems, Rainwater, surface and subsurface water drainage and Fuel gas piping.
An integrated MEP engineering approach is required to yield better results as each system interacts with each other at many points. The MEP design and installation team needs a high degree of interaction to avoid conflict in equipment allocation, overcoming spatial and functional interferences and making the project fully operational by connecting various building elements.
BIM helps in MEP coordination activities like the integration of MEP systems into the architectural and structural envelope smoothly. It also helps in dealing with the challenges while creation of equipment matrices and selection of suppliers, installation and procurement scheduling for MEP systems and tracking and formalizing procedures for submittals.
BIM MEP Virtual Design Benefits
Provides actual design information
BIM tools provide the actual design information to the MEP Engineers that helps them to plan the MEP Layout during the design stage. BIM MEP helps to overcome the complexity while planning the design due to the congested spaces by providing access to critical design data.
Renders Clash-free design
In contrast to the traditional approach of designing, where MEP layout could be planned and designed only after the Building plan, BIM allows the Engineers to plan and design the MEP system simultaneous with the building plan. The BIM tools like NAVISWORK allows an integrated approach of the architect, engineers and MEP contractors to detect and resolve the issues at the same time.
Enhances Collaborative approach
The BIM MEP tools like Revit and Naviswork software fosters an integrated and collaborative platform where the data files centralized to share the design information inputs and design update from the stakeholders. It enhances the engagement level among all the teams by improving communication and developing trust. The collaborative approach improves the output and reduces the delivery time.
The use of integrated modeling and detailing tools helps to produce the coordinated designs faster. It helps in delivering the project faster by streamlining the information and integrating the workflow.Better MEP coordination reduces the time on rework and avoids the team conflicts to increase the productivity.
Enhances Design Quality
The BIM tools can develop multiple designs and generate alternatives to visualize, analyze and quantify the design which will sustain the goal. The architects and engineers can share various ideas during the design process to get the best optimal design.
Extend Design to fabrication
Software tools like Revit can develop MEP design intent model into a MEP fabrication model that is ready for installation. The software creates a more specific and accurate model, reduces rework and saves time.
MEP Virtual Design to Complement BIM
BIM has demonstrated its advantage in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry through its powerful design and simulation techniques. The integration of BIM with MEP virtual design is improving the MEP system efficiency, design, site scheduling and operational safety many folds. In the time to come, the BIM MEP virtual design will add immensely to the new age construction reducing the project risk and enhancing the health, safety, and welfare of the project.