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3D MEP Coordination Outsourcing - Best Practices

In the AEC industry, with the increasing demands of clients, MEP (M&E) teams are identifying ways to improve efficiency, increase productivity, optimise the use of resources, reduce costs and deliver projects profitably. As companies move towards adopting 3D modeling and BIM solutions, sometimes there are severe skill and resources shortages in local markets.

To address this shortage, a promising solution in the industry is to outsource the process of MEP engineering design and MEP coordination. When outsourcing MEP coordination, MEP (M&E) building services contractors and MEP (M&E) consulting engineers develop 3D M&E (MEP) coordinated drawings and spatially coordinated building services models by collaborating with a dedicated offshore resource team.

To ensure that you select an outsourcing partner strategically with thorough due diligence, you need to consider some of the best practices before deciding.

  1. Make an Initial Visit to the Production Centre

it is important that you visit the office where your project will be implemented, before offshoring the MEP coordination process. You need to observe the office environment, understand the communication styles, absorb the work culture, review and assess the infrastructure capabilities including facilities, security systems and backup systems. Get a better idea of those people who are going to lead and manage projects by meeting senior MEP executives.

  1. Absorb the Culture

There is a difference in culture when companies from different geographies decide to collaborate. Some outsourcing companies today inculcate a global cultural environment by conducting workshops to create awareness about different cultural practices and work environments. You need to ensure the outsourcing partner you select is driven to orientating those resources working on offshore projects and to deploying a culturally compatible resource team.

  1. Ensure Resources are Qualified

To ensure successful collaboration, you need to ensure if the offshore resource team is qualified and skilled to implement your project. Some of the outsourcing companies provide technical and specific MEP training courses that educate resources to deliver MEP coordination drawings consistent with local codes applicable and local building services technical application.

It is worth finding out if the offshore resource team has knowledge on the core functionality tools of Revit MEP such as how to use advance objects, parametric family tools and advanced features for complex projects. If the team requires project-specific training based on the scope of the project, arrange for a trainer or manager to visit the production centre to provide required training and to improve interaction with the MEP engineering design team.

Initially, some outsourcing companies may send team members to the client's site to reinforce collaboration efforts, understand how the client works, the standards to be followed, the file transfer and workflow processes, the communication style and the culture.

  1. Assess Technology Capabilities

Based on your project requirements, assess the technology capabilities to deliver your project. In a construction project, the entire MEP engineering design team needs to have software and release versions that are updated and compatible. You also need to ensure robust hardware systems are in place to support the required software and large file sizes. If you use Revit MEP, in an ideal world the offshore team should use Revit as well, although an open BIM environment is also workable.

  1. Ensure Seamless Communication

To successfully collaborate, efficient and clear communication is one of the major contributing factors. Some of the MEP outsourcing companies train resources to be conversant with clients from different geographies. You need to ensure the communication and language skills of the offshore team is at the same level. Additionally, you also need to make sure necessary communication channels such as VOIP (voice over internet protocol) or online programs are installed to enable seamless coordination.

  1. Verify Quality Compliance and Adherence to Standards

Before selecting an MEP outsourcing service provider, ensure the company has proper quality control and compliance policies and contract documents that clearly state applicable codes and standard levels. To make certain that work is delivered in compliance with applicable codes, standard levels and contract documents, ensure there are specialised MEP quality control resources that are qualified to understand and assess MEP designs and specifications.

To address the increasing pressure to deliver projects faster, you need to adopt an integrated design approach. It is highly recommended that MEP professionals get involved at the outset of the architectural design process, to ensure faster completion of projects. To minimise the number of changes, increase consistency and reduce costs, you need to transition from 2D designs and embrace new technology such as Revit 3D modeling, BIM and standardised design of architectural components.

As the AEC industry adopts new technology and upgrades its standards, only those companies that improve efficiency, increase productivity, optimise the use of resources, reduce costs and deliver projects profitably will have significant competitive advantage.

Kuldeep Bwail

Kuldeep Bwail is a Director at XS CAD Limited, a leading pre-construction planning company providing 3D BIM Modeling to Homebuilders, Architects, Retailers, etc. operating in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Europe and India. For detail info: http://www.xscad.com/