BIM for MEP Contractors?


The adoption of BIM(Building Information Modeling) has increased significantly in recent times. Nearly 49% of surveyed builders have used BIM for visualization in 2019. (Source: Statista)

Since BIM offers a virtual construct before the physical building of a structure, it offers several benefits in a construction project such as scheduling, estimation, risk analysis, offering a collaborative platform, and effective facility management. BIM offers specific advantages in certain key areas of a construction project, MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) being one such.

The design of the MEP systems has a considerable impact on the construction and operational costs of a project. Besides, it also impacts the consumption of resources such as water, energy, etc. and the quality of construction. BIM benefits the MEP contractors streamlining projects, offering better collaboration and minimizing risk and waste across the project.

BIM is an intelligent 3D model-based process that facilitates efficient design, detailing, and documentation of building systems. It offers MEP contractors better insights into designs and constructibility leading to better outcomes.

BIM helps MEP contractors in areas such as:

  • 3D modeling
  • Builder’s working drawings
  • Shop drawings
  • Collision Detection
  • Detailed section reviews
  • Bill of Materials and many more.

If we dig a little deeper into how MEP can gain by integrating BIM, we find that:

Reduces Wastage of Resources by Minimizing errors:

BIM provides MEP contractors a bird’s eye view of components such as ceiling elevations, walls with electrical wires, the layout of the plumbing, etc.

They can access all this data on a single platform that serves a single point of truth to all the stakeholders associated with the project.

This helps in collaboration and facilitates the detection and correction of errors at early stages, thereby reducing the wastage of resources.

Saves Time and Effort

The 3D model enables the MEP contractors in several ways. For instance, a 3D view of the piping and ductwork enables them to make changes such as, adding in equipment, visualizing their clearances, etc. They can incorporate changes in the model at different stages in real-time saving their time and effort.

Modeling smaller components is sometimes more difficult for MEP contractors than bigger ones. The 3D models simplify the task of modeling smaller components with the highest degree of detail.

Streamlines Logistics Planning and Procurement

MEP work requires careful logistics planning because it entails working with several small and large components such as wires, pipes, etc. that occupy space, planning bandwidth, etc. BIM streamlines procurement planning, making sure that the elements manufactured offsite fit in the relevant places. This facilitates better estimation besides eliminating the need for bulk storage of material both onsite and offsite.

A streamlined procurement planning by BIM eliminates chaos and helps minimize expenses associated with over-ordering.

Avoiding Clashes

One of the most common challenges in a construction project is clashes occurring due to the involvement of different entities for different aspects of the project. For instance, clashes occur if plumbing and electrical trays are needed to be placed at the same location. BIM model automates activities using a clash detection process that flags all instances of clashes. This enables early detection and resolution of clashes.

BIM’s clash detection enables detecting and resolving clashes such as hard clash, soft/clearance clash, 4D/workflow interference, etc. This simplifies the planning of the workflow schedule for MEP contractors.

According to Statista, in a survey conducted in 2019, 60.5% of the respondents said that they had used BIM for clash detection.

Powers Eco-friendly projects

Since BIM offers a collaborative platform, it enables all the MEP contractors and other stakeholders to consider the material and energy properties during the design phase so as to construct more energy-efficient buildings.

Quick Prototypes

MEP contractors can use 3D printing alongside BIM to create quick prototypes to convey complex design ideas to the stakeholders.

Mitigates Risks

BIM offers MEP contractors accurate information about MEP systems that helps mitigate construction risks. The information provided is data such as ductwork cubic foot per minute(CFM) output, pipe diameters of the mechanical and plumbing lines, gravity system pipe pitch, size and location of electrical panels, and many more. This data can be leveraged by the MEP contractors both onsite and off-site.

The Bottomline

BIM has changed the landscape of the construction industry, enabling better project management and coordination among different parties involved in a construction project. BIM powers the MEP contractors to make precise decisions prior to field construction and equipment installation.


Published by Sukh Singh

COO - Tejjy: A BIM and Construction Consulting group in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area! A certified woman Minority.

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