MEP engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing systems of a building. MEP engineers research to find the best design and develop specifications for installers, mostly surrounding HVAC, home wiring and piping. MEP installations are typically addressed together to avoid design conflicts.
Challenges of MEP engineering
In MEP projects, great design is critical, since the integration of MEP components can greatly influence the overall structural design and architectural concept. A wrongly placed equipment that would require a small change to the design can affect the entire project and will require extra work and more budget to correct.
Designers use CAD drawings and BIM to foresee any problems ahead of the construction phase but clashes still arise when merging MEP and structural designs. That’s why S3DA has decided to take the non-traditional approach and become a single source for both MEP and structural design.
Want to learn more about our unique approach? Just ask!
Because of their work, MEP engineers must have great knowledge of dynamics, mechanics, fluids, heat transfer, chemistry, and electricity. Technological advancements have also made the understanding of computers, data communication lines and fire protection systems mandatory.
The mechanical component of MEP typically involves heating and cooling systems. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) services are necessary for comfortable living conditions as well as machine operations.
A MEP engineer’s job is to come up with the most efficient designs, i.e. keeping the consumption of water and electricity low while balancing with the costs of the required equipment and their ease of implementation. A mechanical engineer connects the work of electricians and plumbers, such as controlling plumbing via electrics or servicing electrics via plumbing. Without the mechanical component, the other fields would have little to do with each other.
Some of the system mechanical engineers deal with include HVAC Systems, Central Plant Design, Exhaust Systems, Direct Digital Control (DDC) Systems, Chilled Water Systems, and Heating Water Systems.
Electricians are responsible for home wiring, namely providing power supply for lights and appliances. Their challenges include finding the optimal routes for conduit and wiring and design systems that allow for safe and continuous operation. However, since electrical circuits require less space than mechanical systems, they typically have much more flexibility.
Some of the electricians’ jobs include designing comprehensive electrical systems, evaluating onsite power generation requirements and distribution, designing critical power systems, integrating IT and AV into overall building design, and designing lightning and fire protection systems.
Plumbers must lay out complex piping routes, dealing with potable water, heated water, sewerage, stormwater, and sometimes rainwater collection and storage. Plumbing services can also extend to natural gas, hydroponics, irrigation, fuels, oxygen, vacuum/compressed air, solids transfer, and more.
Plumbing installations interact many times with mechanical and electrical systems, for instance in fire protection systems, or to deliver hot water, or in installations that require water booster pumps.
The importance of a MEP design firm
Designing MEP systems is a complex labor, where small miscalculations can have lasting effects on a project’s budget and schedule.
An experienced design firm can assist in several ways, such as developing code compliant designs that make it easy for you to get permit and avoid being stalled by long approval processes.
Delivering an efficient design means lower electricity and gas bills, and lower maintenance costs. The engineers will find the devices most suitable for the task with the lowest energy consumption or even come up with measures for using renewable energy. Each building is different, and a tailored, professional design can help you get the most out of your building.