Avvir Academy, Products & Solutions
October 6, 2023

Revolutionizing MEP Installation with BIM and Reality Capture

Just as appearances can be deceiving, so can the progress of a construction project.  problems beneath the surface become apparent when it comes time for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) installation. Between coordination, space restrictions/clearance zones to abide by, and the sophistication of the trades, it’s not surprising that MEP makes up the majority of many budgets and is the driver of the critical path. Minimizing or eliminating MEP issues would result in more projects maintaining budget and schedule integrity.


Current workflow analysis for MEP Installation

The first step in correcting a problem is understanding why/how it has arisen. Sounds simple. However, MEP is far from simple. Each construction project is unique, but there is a typical workflow for MEP installation.


Today’s projects are increasingly complex. Current construction MEP analysis practices require significant human resources.


The MEP trades are usually contracted to layout, install, and monitor their work with oversight from a general contractor. The GC creates a team that will regularly be on-site to provide monitoring and perform manual measurements/checks against the coordinated models.


Team members include seasoned VDC members, project engineers, and experienced field supervisors. Because many firms are short-staffed, they have to balance the need for MEP review and installation monitoring.


Coordinating a team is challenging as it requires significant collaboration and review of multiple processes. The process requires regular back and forth between the field and the office—a time suck. It can also result in missed installation errors, which lead to rework.


Studies show that rework represents on average 12% of total project costs and approximately 30% of the work done by construction companies.


To lower these numbers, owners and GCs are turning to technologies that can automate some of the MEP analysis.


Typically, an initial trade review is done through the process of clash detection. Navisworks, Solibri, and Revizto are commonly used softwares for coordination.


These steps are helpful for MEP installation. However, schedules continue to accelerate. Increasingly schedulers overlap tasks, which requires more stringent MEP trade coordination.


Similarly, budgets are strained for multiple reasons, including inflation and rising interest rates. Changes to MEP designs lead to more work, amplifying cost pressures. Changes also affect the schedule.


Another way: Future MEP workflow

Mistakes and rework related to MEP installation will very likely always exist. However, additional technology to automate review, isolate areas of importance, streamline communication, etc., is helpful in minimizing MEP issues.


Utilizing technology in coordination with a QA/QC team will lead to fewer mistakes. BIM is commonly used on complex projects, and its usage is growing.


A BIM execution plan outlines project requirements for modeling and the process by which trade review will occur.


BIM and reality capture data have great potential to improve the construction MEP analysis process through automation of analysis, clearer vision into installation sequencing, and monitoring of deviation in near real time to influence the installation to keep the schedule moving forward and maintain budgets.


With Avvir, GCs and owners can automate the MEP installation review progress. Avvir helps with the MEP workflow in other ways as well:


·       Analyzing laser scans of the project site at a regular cadence for a real-time/near real-time view of the job site.


·       Automatically identifying and clearly marking any deviations from the coordinated model. Making better use of the many hours spent in trade coordination.  

·      Creating more intentional field reviews and enabling teams to determine a priority of issues. 


An added benefit of incorporating more technology is combatting overconfidence bias. This cognitive bias “… causes us to think we are better in some areas than we really are and … causes us to lose objective perspective….”


So, while more knowledge and experience are helpful in ensuring successful MEP installation and monitoring, knowledge and experience can also backfire.


The technology helps a team get past biases since information is clearly stated (and unbiased). It augments field supervisors and office staff tasked with reviewing onsite installation.


Simultaneously, it facilitates more team members having awareness of ongoing site installation. In addition, more eyes on the process means there’s a better chance issues will be discovered early. This minimizes cost and the impact on schedules.


Other benefits include reducing travel between the field and the office since the data is available in the cloud. Also, since all scans and models are in the same web-based portal, fewer errors occur. The data is more convenient and easier to find.


The technology makes the process more straightforward to manage. Therefore, even junior staff can participate in the review of MEP work. Along with the automating of workflows and processes, this allows firms to get more reach and coverage from their staff.


Current barriers to adoption

Because of BIM's widespread usage, there’s an opportunity to put it and reality capture to work to improve MEP analysis. Yet, this is not common practice.


Why not?


Inputting new technology comes with a price tag, and the cost is rarely part of a project budget. It’s often challenging to convince decision-makers to include the technology.


The technology is used to ensure proper installation of MEP. If MEP is properly installed, no one notices. Attention is required only when mistakes occur. This scenario makes it more challenging to get decision-makers to budget for the technology.


Another barrier to adoption is one many emerging technologies face: the concern that technology will replace people. To allay such fears, staff can work with the technology to free up time and secure the best results.


Liberated from some tasks, staff have time to focus on other high-level work. Staff will become more valuable, not less.


Overcoming the barriers to technology will take time, successful experiences, and education. As with most technologies, these elements will demystify the tech and make it more palatable.


Of course, the most effective path toward successful technology adoption involves delivering value. Reducing MEP issues and enabling projects to remain on budget and on schedule will be enough to convince the biggest skeptics.



MEP design and implementation are costly in terms of time and money.


Until recently a systematic and accurate way to connect the BIM to the reality of the job site to assist in monitoring the MEP installation did not exist. Avvir makes this possible thus extending the value gained in the initial model clash coordination which can now be used through and after construction.


With Avvir, you gain unprecedented visibility into your project, enhancing awareness and clarity while reducing the need for frequent onsite visits. The integration of reality capture and BIM analysis allows for more effective coordination of trades, streamlined sequencing, and a significant reduction in costly errors, rework, overruns, and scheduling delays.


Reach out to Avvir and learn how you can coordinate trades, sequence more effectively, and prevent mistakes, unnecessary rework, costly overruns, and delays to schedule.

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