MEP Coordination in Building and Industrial Projects.
Jigar Shah (CP-0612)
Prof. Alpesh Panchal
M. Tech. Programme in Construction & Project Management
Chapter 1: What is the Challenge and need?
However, capturing the distributed knowledge concerning the different types of systems and tailoring the software to meet the special needs of MEP coordination remain major challenges. Success with this activity would support major improvements in design, coordination, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, and retrofit for new uses.
The specifications assign responsibility for coordination to the specialty or trade contractors, including checking for clearances, field conditions, and architectural conditions. The process of MEP coordination involves locating components and branches from all systems in compliance with design, construction, and operations criteria. The current process of sequentially comparing 114 inch foot scale transparent drawings for each system over a light table adds significant cost to many projects and can add significant duration. Improving the coordination process for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems on complex buildings and light industrial projects presents a major opportunity to improve project performance through increased integration. Coordination involves defining locations for branch components of systems in congested spaces to avoid interferences and comply with diverse design and operations criteria. Several problems in current practice create the need to improve. Limited building space for MEP systems makes efficient design and construction much more difficult. On many plans and specs projects, accelerated schedules and decreased designers' fees do not allow detailing MEP systems by design consultants. The scope of work for specialty contractors on these projects increasingly includes "design assist" to complete the design for fabrication and installation. Design-build contracting, with different specialty contractors responsible for different systems, decentralizes design responsibility and increases the potential problems and the need for effective coordination between the different types of systems. Fast track projects increase the challenge. MEP systems must satisfy multiple objectives and criteria for design, installation, commissioning, operation, and maintenance. Different types of specialty contractors (e-g., process piping, HVAC piping, WAC ductwork, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, controls) are responsible for these systems. Example of diverse criteria for system design include spatial (avoiding interferences), functional within a system (flow or gravity drainage), adjacency or segregation, system installation (layout dimensions, space and access for installation productivity), and testing (ability to isolate). On complex buildings and plants, expertise and designs are required from diverse specialists – essential fragmentation requiring horizontal integration between these different Junctions working in the same project phase. The current work process is for design consultants or design-build contractors to design their systems independently. Coordination responsibility is then assigned to one firm, often the general contractor, the HVAC contractor, or a coordination consultant. The resulting process is slow and expensive. One general contractor estimated coordination costs as six percent of the MEP cost or two percent of the total cost on a light industrial project. An electrical contractor said that coordination cost equals design cost on projects in Silicon Valley; each are about three percent of the total cost for electrical systems. At the low-tech end of the practice spectrum for MEP coordination, drawing plan views on transparent media and using a light table to overlay routing proposed by several contractors is easy to understand and change....
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