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Trimble and RIBA Stages: The Perfect Match for MEP Design

The RIBA Stages form a seamless MEP workflow for MEP Consultants and MEP Contractors in the UK.

The RIBA Work Stages detail the construction sequence of UK projects, from early-stage preparation through to client handover and beyond. Trimble has the MEP software to accompany these stages, ensuring a streamlined flow of constructible data. Read on to find out more…

As an MEP contractor, engineer or designer, you are tasked with generating constructible models that reflect exactly what is going to be built. Ensuring dimensional accuracy, high levels of quality and streamlined data are all critical to helping eliminate rework, boost productivity levels and facilitate successful project outcomes on site. Digital workflows can be invaluable, with a suite of products available to support you wherever your business sits on the RIBA Stages of Works, ensuring a flow of quality information.

The RIBA Plan of Work organises the process of briefing, designing, delivering, operating and using a building into eight key stages, offering a framework for all disciplines on construction projects. As an MEP consultant, you’ll likely become involved in a project around RIBA Stage 2 (Concept Design).

RIBA Stage 2: Concept Design

Once the architectural model has been received, the construction sequence will often split into two, with structural engineers tasked with forming the structural model concept and MEP engineers with developing the MEP model concept, leading into RIBA Stage 3 (Spatial Coordination). The structural model and 2D drawings developed at this stage will then be used as the basis of information for MEP detailers and designers at the following RIBA stages, meaning that accuracy is essential.

RIBA Stage 3: Spatial Coordination

Here, MEP calculations are imperative to achieve maximum building efficiency, such as regarding energy consumption, wastewater treatment and space allocation. M&E engineers who use modelling software to perform and generate the most essential calculations benefit from a more efficient and productive workflow. This also translates to fewer errors being encountered later in the project, avoiding the likelihood of installers not being able to install the system due to a poor design. With BIM-generated calculations, you can have peace of mind knowing that your model is accurate, localised and compliant, with minimal fuss. 

RIBA Stage 4: Technical Design

The project then moves into RIBA Stage 4: Technical Design. Here, MEP project teams will work on further developing the model, detailing all the design information required to physically manufacture and construct the project on-site and adding great levels of detail to the 3D model.

You need 3D modelling software that supports this RIBA design stage, working with your team, not against you. With an MEP focussed BIM design and engineering software by your side, you can:

  • Improve your design accuracy
  • Increase your engineering productivity
  • Access high-quality content
  • Design to various levels of detail
  • Streamline your internal operations

RIBA Stages: Coordination and Communication

While the RIBA Plan of Works details individual stages, this is not to say that they can be considered and treated in isolation. Many companies' and teams’ work will overlap between the RIBA design stages. As such, it’s critical that a project has efficient coordination and communication at its heart, with a golden thread of data passing through the whole RIBA architecture workflow.

One way of ensuring this coordination, from stage to stage and team to team, is by having a cloud-based collaboration tool embedded in the project, connecting stakeholders in a Common Data Environment (CDE). With an effective and cloud-based CDE, you can connect the right people to the right data at the right time, with shared constructible data helping to improve insight, enable informed design-making and enhance project efficiency.

Beyond the RIBA Plan of Work

Looking beyond the RIBA design stages, something that isn’t specifically referenced but all MEP contractors will be well aware of is Estimation and Takeoff. As well as feeding into every RIBA Stage, efficient estimation and contract management is critical for both the project’s successful delivery on-site and your company’s success from a profit perspective.

Whether you are an estimator - responsible for estimating the cost of work to be done, providing solutions to increase profitability and preparing project bids - or a project manager, tasked with overseeing every aspect of a construction project and ensuring that the timeframe targets and project budgets are met; digital MEP solutions can be invaluable. Helping you to say goodbye to manual work, you can instead gain a competitive edge, performing mechanical and electrical estimates faster and more accurately than ever before, providing you time to focus on growing your business. 

To learn more about how MEP Modelling Software can perfectly align with the RIBA Plan of Work and support you and your team throughout a project’s delivery, download our e-book: ‘7 Essential Capabilities of MEP Modelling Software’.