Accurately spooling and prefabricating mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems enables companies to complete projects faster with higher precision and at lower costs.
It’s common knowledge that some companies in the MEP trades have been using a building information modeling (BIM) process for over two decades. A strong motivation to adopt BIM is still the ability to automate production using the detailed shop drawings and bills of materials that are created. The virtual 3D BIM models help maximize construction processes and coordination by overlaying and comparing drawings from multiple trades.
Prefabrication is a team effort. Contractors and designers have gradually followed the MEP adoption lead by implementing Autodesk Revit for their BIM processes. Over the years, the use of BIM has expanded to make use of visualizations, simulations for clash avoidance, and fine-tuning stakeholder work to reduce duplication of effort.
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Prefabrication is a way to capitalize further on an already-productive BIM process. Smooth MEP prefabrication improves a project’s success in the following ways:
- Quality – When prefabricated in a shop, all the spool segments with the same dimensions can be created at the same time using the same jigs in the same workspace by the same worker. That level of consistency cannot be replicated in the field.
- Optimization – Properly detailed spool sheets specify exactly how much material is needed before construction begins. This saves time on sourcing and ordering/purchasing materials and enables layout of cutting patterns for efficient material use and reduced waste.
- Scheduling – The assembly-line structure of a prefab shop has faster, more predictable workflows than a jobsite. Skilled workers can accomplish more work and more accurately than fabricating as-needed in the field, making schedules more attainable. Field installation can also be more predictable – eliminating the need for workarounds – when using components that are prefabricated, stored and delivered to the field as needed.
- Safety – Although all construction includes safety risks, prefab in a shop can reduce that risk. Because field workers can focus on working with a specific set of components in a designated area, they don’t introduce additional risk by making adjustments on-the-fly, moving materials around a crowded jobsite, or getting in the way of machinery or equipment.
Only by working from precise documentation can a project stay on schedule and within budget.
The shop drawings show how the project will be constructed. For systems to be successfully spooled and prefabricated, detailers need to design the shop drawings and spool sheets with a high degree of accuracy based on the information they are given. Using BIM for detailing ensures accurate shop drawings and enables MEP systems to be prefabricated and installed seamlessly.
Accurate detailing drives successful prefabrication. When shop drawings and spool sheets are accurate and meet installation requirements, everything – dimensions, materials, hangers, sleeves – has the best chance of fitting after being delivered to the jobsite.
Improve profitability, visibility and quality for MEP trade contractors by aligning teams on a single platform: EVOLVE. Contact Applied Software, Graitec Group today to learn more about the growing line of EVOLVE tools.