Why Consultants Should Use a Partner for MEP Design

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In a changing MEP (M&E) design environment, MEP (M&E) design consultants are looking for ways to maintain a competitive edge through greater accuracy and timely delivery of their designs, while still trying to make a profit. In the past, their design teams worked on different sections of an MEP service and came up with 2D drawings that were used by contractors who would then have responsibility for coordinating the drawings, resulting in a lot of changes. Without such changes problems would arise as clashes would be found during on-site installation. The effect of M&E contractors carrying out coordination is effectively a detailed design stage known as coordination and it was traditionally done using 2D tools, although most contractors now use 3D tools to ensure a clash free model before creating installation drawings.

As the MEP (M&E) design consultants are now also responsible for creating a 3D model means that as an industry the MEP (M&E) secor is able to save time by generating a better quality model and associated installation sheets from the 3D models during the design stage.

The advent of 3D for MEP (M&E) consultants does however require additional skills, namely coordination. It is true that spatial co-ordination, for installation standard, remains a challenge for most consultants; either due to their reluctance in making a transition to advanced processes such as BIM, or because of the concerns about the overheads involved in acquiring skilled employees or partners for such processes.

Fortunately, they have the option of using skilled external MEP design partners to help them deliver the desired final drawing output to their clients. Offshore companies specialising in pre-construction BIM solutions can be an ideal choice for obtaining coordinated, clash-free 3D models and associated drawings. Such external design partners offer a number of benefits to consultants:

BIM Spatial Coordination Skills: Clashes are not easily identified using the 2D designs, and therefore construction work gets delayed when they are identified on site. MEP consultants can, of course, have a team of modellers working for them to create 3D models, but may still lack the spatial co-ordination skills in a BIM environment. The greatest benefit of teaming up with partner companies is that they have the required BIM spatial coordination skills and can deliver a clash-free model. Such companies use advanced platforms like Revit MEP and Navisworks, and have experienced professionals who can develop intelligent models of MEP services and also detect each and every clash in them.

Excellent Infrastructure: The MEP design consultants no longer have to worry about creating an infrastructure to get their projects delivered on time. Partner companies can already have an advanced infrastructure in place to guarantee timely delivery while also ensuring excellent quality. External partner teams consisting of 3D CAD design professionals have the expertise needed for BIM executing and are well versed in the use of the latest technologies that are hosted on advanced hardware units with cloud-based access.

Dedicated Teams: While working on an MEP design project, timely delivery is of critical importance in order to maintain the trust of the client. For this purpose, skilled resources must be available when required, during the life cycle of the project. There can be situations when consultants may not have such professionals in place when their services are needed most. When hiring partner companies, they can have the option of a lower cost retained team or dedicated team of Revit and Navisworks experts working for them under the supervision of experienced project delivery leaders. This avoids the need to constantly hire, train, re-train and retain skilled BIM employees themselves.

Timely Delivery of Projects: As M&E (MEP) design consultants may not have the 3D modelling and BIM skills to produce the desired result which can cause a delay in design output and present the risk of losing a valuable client. With the services of a reliable partner, consultants can ensure delivery of their MEP design projects within the set deadlines.

Of course, before a consultant hires a partner for delivering their MEP design projects, it is essential that the consultant ascertains and understands the reliability levels and quality levels of the partner company. To start with, they can understand the company's experience in MEP design projects by scrutinising the Revit 3D Modelling projects completed by the company for other clients in a similar domain. Visiting the partner's offices and meeting key personnel in the organisation also proves to be helpful in learning more about the organisation and its work culture. Furthermore, it also enables consultants to understand the competencies of its partners for 3D modelling and BIM so that expectations are clear and the consultant can continue to develop its core business with the assurance of a professional BIM support team.

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