How BIM Facilitates the Integration of Engineering and Architectural Workflows

Building information modelling, or BIM, processes have had a significant impact and marked a turning point in the development of the construction sector. The introduction of BIM technology has changed design workflows, and both the architecture and MEP (mechanical, engineering, and plumbing) sectors have had to adapt to new design process trends. Building engineers and architects typically use different design and documentation workflows. By utilising BIM modelling, these procedures have been modified and integrated BIM Detailer Charlotte.

The conventional methods of turning a 2D design from an MEP designer into a coordinated 3D model by the contractor are losing favour in the MEP design industry. This change is largely the result of BIM modelling, which we explain.

In construction, the majority of engineering work is done using data from architectural designs, such as column grids for structural design or ceiling plans for MEP design. Building engineers then use architectural data, such as building geometry, as input for structural load, heating and cooling load analysis. The conclusions drawn from this analysis are then used to determine the necessary sizing of components like structural units, heating systems, and cooling systems. To determine loads and size connections, structural framing elements, ductwork, and piping, the number and characteristics of structural joints and MEP distribution systems are calculated.

In some instances, architects might have to forgo designed spaces in order to incorporate MEP components. At this point, it would be necessary to alter the design layout while keeping the building’s engineering systems in place. MEP can be incorporated into the construction plans at an early stage thanks to the use of coordinated 3D models. Consequently, a workflow based on 3D models became a practical choice. In the field of MEP design, models created with CAD have a number of benefits, including the following:

According to studies, 3D CAD tools shorten the development cycle by 30 to 50%.
By using a 3D model, non-conformance problems are reduced by 30–40%.
Fewer errors are produced by 3D-based design.
Therefore, using 3D CAD models saves time, money, and minimises errors.
MEP design typically involves a sizable number of stakeholders who are in charge of the efficient execution of various building engineering stages. Planning, designing, spatial coordination, fabrication, installation, and maintenance are typically included in these phases. Design engineers, also referred to as consultant engineers or building designers, and MEP contractors frequently work together on building services design teams. A fabricator, who uses frame modules to construct ducts, pipes, electric ladders, and sprinklers, may occasionally participate in the design phase as well. Traditionally, the design engineer and the architect collaborated to supervise the services for lighting, heating, cooling, drainage, waste, and fire protection. The design engineer avoids the intricate spatial design of the lighting, cooling, heating, etc. in this situation. The requirements for the installation of the spatial design would be carried out by the MEP contractor or trade contractor. The consultant design must then be transformed by the MEP contractor into a building services solution that is ready for installation.

There were a few difficulties with this workflow, including:

Architectural and MEP design data had to be shared.
One engineer/team produced the MEP design, and another/s provided the details.
Plans and schematics may contain conflicting or inconsistent data.
After the design has been finalised, changes may be made.
These issues were resolved by the introduction of BIM modelling, which allowed for the conversion of designs into 3D models, the increasing centralization of design data, and the quicker notification of changes to stakeholders. Five different MEP design workflow options emerged with the help of BIM modelling. These are what they are:

  1. 2D design with coordination of 3D BIM

The contractor will create a coordinated Revit BIM model using the 2D design outputs, such as 2D plan layouts, 2D sections, and MEP schematics, which allows for the identification and resolution of clashes prior to the start of site work.

  1. Coordinating 3D BIM and 2D MEP design

The MEP designer develops 2D design layouts; these layouts detail the design intent rather than the installation requirements. Following that, the MEP trade contractor receives these layouts for precise 3D coordination. The contractor is given architectural and structural models to enable coordination as well.

  1. MEP designers’ 3D BIM design and coordination

With the projects’ actual specified components, design engineers create spatially coordinated Revit BIM models. Coordination of structural, architectural, and MEP services is finished. The finished model is nearly ready for installation. The MEP contractor will typically still make final changes during a round of value engineering or preferred installation or fabrication requirements.

  1. MEP contractors’ design and coordination of 3D BIM

The MEP contractors are in charge of the design and coordination. This approach, formerly known as a “design and build” workflow, is gaining popularity. The contractor develops the design and model in accordance with the client’s instructions. From the model, a coordinated drawing is produced for fabrication or installation. Given that the costs of contractor resources are less than those of design engineers, this method is quick and economical. This also consolidates all of the control in one team and somewhat streamlines the process because he is making the final decisions regarding fabrication and procurement.

  1. The use of general contractors to coordinate 3D

For a general contractor, 2D structural, MEP, and architectural designers are employed. Detail teams that manage coordination to the level of an MEP trade contractor will typically be part of the team as well. For the contractor to assess the model’s durability and adherence to the design, a 3D BIM model is made. The model is then examined for inconsistencies.

Despite the fact that there are five distinct MEP workflows, there is only one conventional architectural design workflow that has three fundamental phases. As follows:

Creating Schematics

The architect envisions the shape and purpose of the space, which is then transformed from sketches into a 3D model.

  1. Conceptualization

The 3D models are enhanced by CAD technicians with dimensions, details, and supporting data. Drawings for plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and life safety systems are produced. The early use of tagged component data and standard parts libraries in this phase enables productivity tools that improve construction or shop drawings.

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