ITcon Vol. 20, pg. 347-363,

Exploring the approaches in the implementation of BIM-based MEP coordination in the USA

submitted:January 2015
revised:July 2015
published:September 2015
editor(s):Ruikar K
authors:Saman Yarmohammadi, Graduate Research Assistant
Economics of the Sustainable Built Environment (ESBE) Lab, School of Building Construction, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Baabak Ashuri, Associate Professor
Economics of the Sustainable Built Environment (ESBE) Lab, School of Building Construction/School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
summary:The design coordination of Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) systems is a manual process conducted during preconstruction phase of building projects. The difficulties associated with the conventional MEP coordination process have resulted in extensive efforts to enhance the process through utilization of BIM technology. The widespread adoption of BIM technology by AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) firms has given rise to new means and methods of conducting MEP coordination. However, there is limited knowledge about various approaches that are currently practiced as BIM- based coordination. Also, there is a need to identify information items and metrics needed to properly capture and measure the effect of BIM on enhancing coordination process. The major objective of this study is to capture the underpinnings of BIM-based coordination process as currently practiced by AEC firms in the U.S. A nationwide survey was conducted to capture the subject matter experts’ opinions in the following areas of BIM-based coordination: (1) Current approaches of conducting coordination using BIM; (2) Information items collected to monitor coordination process; (3) Factors affecting coordination production rate; (4) Metrics used by AEC companies to measure production rate; and (5) Identified best practices leveraged by companies to enhance BIM utilization in the coordination process. The findings of this study indicated that “remote coordination” and “regular coordination” are the most widely used BIM-based coordination approaches. Number of clashes resolved in each meeting, BIM competency of team members, and number of trades attending meetings were identified as the most commonly collected information items by AEC firms throughout the MEP coordination process. Team experience level, preliminary design quality, and MEP system complexity were found as the most important factors that impact the MEP coordination process. Several best practices were recommend by participants in this study to improve the efficiency of MEP coordination process. These strategies were described under the four different phases of an MEP project: initiation and planning, 3D modeling, MEP coordination, and construction and installation. The results of this study are expected to enhance our knowledge about differences among various BIM-based coordination approaches, their popularity among practitioners, and their effects on the coordination progress. The findings of this research will help AEC firms by describing information requirements for establishing a procedure to track, measure, and compare MEP coordination progress across different construction projects.
keywords:Building Information Modeling, MEP Coordination, Design Coordination, Progress Management, Production Rate
full text: (PDF file, 0.529 MB)
citation:Yarmohammadi S, Ashuri B (2015). Exploring the approaches in the implementation of BIM-based MEP coordination in the USA, ITcon Vol. 20, pg. 347-363,