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A General Contractors View to MEP Model Coordination

A General Contractors View to MEP Model Coordination…As implemented on the Trimble Westminster Building Project.

The new 125,000 sq. ft. Trimble Westminster Building project in Westminster, Colo., set to break ground by the end of April, provides Trimble and its project team a unique opportunity to demonstrate integrated project delivery (IPD) collaborative techniques and gain the lifecycle benefits of building information modeling (BIM) to deliver a project in a tight 13-month schedule. For this project, all architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire safety and accessibility designs will be completed using BIM design tools to limit data re-entry or model re-creation and facilitate design coordination, clash detection and constructability reviews, and a facilities management tool in the end.

While modeling in 3D is not new to most MEP contractors, the level of involvement and insight on the Trimble project will likely surprise a few. As part of the recent MEP model coordination kick-off meeting for the Trimble project, Roger Eastman, senior superintendent at JE Dunn, said, “We’re changing the conventional philosophy for MEP participation that goes well beyond resolving clashes in a model. Our goal is to allow our MEP subcontractors to provide more input into day-to-day construction logistics.”

The MEP model coordination kick-off meeting included representatives from the design consultants and major subcontractors on the Trimble Westminster Building project including the mechanical and electrical engineer (BCER), structural engineer (Structural Consultants Inc.), electrical contractor (Encor Electric), mechanical contractor (Mtech) and plumbing contractor (Total Plumbing).

Eastman asked each represented group, “How do you want to see the project run to enhance your ability to get your part of the job completed and maximize crew efficiency and productivity?” He encouraged them to think about and share details such as the best location for gang boxes and plans for moving product to the upper floors with no elevator.

“The more we know about their needs, the better we can develop a strategy to deliver the most efficient, productive and safe construction environment,” he said. “Our goal is to provide each trade the space to facilitate higher productivity per person, per hour for less cost.”

Once the 100% Construction Document set for the project is complete, the MEP subcontractors each stated they would be ready for a model coordination meeting of primary distribution systems within two weeks. As part of the project contract, each member of the project team agreed to comply with a BIM Execution Plan. For instance, the plan requires that the structural engineer model all cast-in-place concrete, including all penetrations and openings identified in the construction documents, edges of all slabs and penetrations and all primary and secondary structural steel members. HVAC engineers model all ducts and air handling equipment to outside face dimension of the flanges as well as main duct hangers while electrical engineers model conduits 2-inches or greater, or smaller conduits if racked in runs of 3 or more, infrastructure equipment and access zones. Engineers will also model plumbing piping and gas piping, including specialty gas, and equipment will be modeled for pipes 2-inches and larger.

All consultants will post and coordinate 2D/3D files on the Trimble Connected Community project website.

In his closing comment to the group, Eastman said, “We’re thinking of you so give us your input and we’ll do what we can to make appropriate adjustments to the plan.”