Current BIM Practices Amongst MEP Contractors and Suggestions for Improvement

Chara Farquharson, Jake Gunnoe , Alfredo O. Rivera


The mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems are three of the most important systems within a building. These systems alone can account for 40-60% of the total construction costs for commercial building projects (Second, Hanna, 2010). It is crucial that these systems function adequately. With the technological advances within the construction industry, the push for advanced technologies such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) has significantly increased. This research provides a detailed literature review examining how BIM is now used in the industry. BIM, a three-dimensional tool used to model a building and its components, is commonly used during the planning, design, construction and operation phases of a project. A literature search suggests that specialty trades use BIM to increase collaboration between stakeholders. Current literature suggests that according to the Best Value Approach (BVA), upfront collaboration between clients and vendors lead to inefficiencies. BVA decreases collaboration by creating a system in which clients can better utilize the expertise of high-performance vendors, without enforcing project requirements and control measures. The authors suggest that BIM usage may be more effective if paired with BVA; doing so will simplify communication from MEP experts and minimize risk caused by collaboration.