The building services coordination is often a crucial and challenging task in complex construction projects. The traditional 2D based MEP coordination process starts, once the individual MEP services systems have been designed and the routings are being largely determined. The MEP coordination process entail by overlaying various discipline drawings (shop drawings of the same scale from different contractors) using a light table and manually checking for any conflicts among the services. This manual process has proven to be time-consuming and brings in a lot of errors and reworks.
When CAD was introduced back in 1957, the 2D process has become a bit more efficient but the problem persists as there was a high degree of intuition, technical knowledge, experience in project execution, and imagination required to identify and mitigate the clashes found.
And later an era of BIM Coordination started, where interdisciplinary coordination happens in a virtual environment.
Challenges in 2D MEP Coordination
Impact of 2D MEP Coordination Process
BIM based MEP Coordination Process
The BIM Coordination process using a 3D model has become a game changer by providing us a virtual platform to investigate the potential clashes that may occur during site execution. The automated process of clash identification using tools like Autodesk Navisworks or Solibri Model Checker has improved the speed of coordination as well lowered the time to mitigate the clashes found.
Clash reports can be generated by software itself for better clarity. Identified clashes can be corrected during coordination or can be raised to the design review team as RFI’s.
Early identification of clashes can avoid rework and wastage of materials due to onsite coordination.
The BIM coordination has brought in a collaborative approach where stakeholders from different trades can communicate, and issues can be resolved based on the priorities. This has simplified the coordination process, bringing in more time and cost-savings.
The paramount advantage of using a 3D Model based coordination is its ability to involve the trade contractors in the earlier stages of the coordination process, likewise the coordination can be start from the design development stage.
Typical 3D MEP BIM Coordination Process
The collaborative nature of the BIM Coordination Process has the ability to communicate the project quickly and easily by providing 3D visuals that resembles to the final service installation. A typical M&E coordination process can be defined as follows:
The BIM coordination is a cyclic process that can be initiated right from the start of a project. Several iterations of clash detection and coordination workshops are held to resolve potential clashes and design errors before the design being finalized for site execution.
Apart from Coordination, the BIM approach has got numerous benefits like AR/VR which is real time visualisation on Building Model, accurate quantity estimation, intelligent drawings generation, prefabrication, energy analysis, facility management etc. The use of traditional 2D MEP Coordination process lacks accurate interference checking capability and may result in coordination issues, rework, material wastage, cost overrun, delay etc. whereas the BIM based coordination approach has proven to be more efficient and is found to be the preferred method for MEP coordination.