Prefabrication in the construction industry is on a hot growth trajectory, expected to surpass $200B in market cap over the next 16 months.

MEPF subs get to work with highly modular components on their projects but often suffer from having to assemble them in suboptimal conditions (such as 50 stories in the air before the windows are installed on a Chicago skyscraper!)

Pipe Spools
There's Nothing More Beautiful That a Well Laid Pipe {spool}

MEP prefabrication promises to ability to fabricate off site and save on labor and materials in the field. This promise is built on a foundation laid by BIM (Building Information Modeling). LOD400 BIM can deliver precise, fabrication quality models that are coordinated during pre-construction so that they can be turned into spool drawings and prefabricated in your highly controlled facility before being shipped to the work site for installation.

A.) The contract 2D design documents are converted to a 3D model.

B.) The equipment, parts and fittings are placed in the model. We have access to the largest library of fabrication quality BIM models.

C.) The model is coordinated with trades during pre-construction & signed-off as clash free.

D.) We then split the model into spools and produce simple, visual shop drawings that have all parts labeled to size and orientation. We also produce a comprehensive Quantity Take-Off (QTO) at this stage.

E.) You can now procure parts and use our shop drawings to assemble spools in your facility.

F.) Finally you can deliver spools and equipment to the job site and use our provided installation drawings to lift spools into place, precisely where they need to be without issue!

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We've all heard the industry rumblings from different teams trying to tackle to prefab problem, but how much of that is marketing and how much is reality?

Historically, prefab construction dates back to about 3800 BC but really didn't take off until the turn of the 20th century with Sears Roebuck & Co's house kits. Sears sold over 100,000 of these simple cookie-cutter houses during the first half of the 20th century after which they fell mostly out of popularity. Over time, the US instituted very strict building codes for prefab construction and states and local municipalities piled on their own rules which made it impossible to design a kit that could be built in any location without severe modification.

Enter BIM.

With the advent of BIM (Building Information Modeling) designers have refocused on prefab as a possible path again. BIM allows designers to collaborate swiftly and seamlessly to achieve prefab designs that can be more modular. We're now able to swap out components to adhere to local codes and regulations without disturbing the overall design. A new approach with allows architects to focus on design, and structural and MEPF engineers to focus on what they do best.

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The advent of BIM on the construction industry has released a wave of procurement and contract changes that has fundamentally rebalanced who shoulders the risk of project uncertainty. We'll dive into the origins of this problem and find solutions for risk mitigation that can benefit everyone.

The BIM Coordination Process typically falls into three parts:

1.) Modeling. Subcontractors produce their individual 3D models per the contract 2D design drawings.

2.) Coordination. Sub-contractors meet regularly to work out clashes between the models.

3.) Sign-off. Sub-contractors sign a binding document for the GC stating that the model is clash free and that the sub will be responsible any resultant costs associated with issues in the field.

In the past, before BIM was widely implemented, GCs primarily shouldered the risk of constructability issues, having to pay liquidated damages for late delivery and change orders for sub contract changes. But now, GCs have been able to use BIM to offload that risk onto Subs. The problem is that sub-contractors can't just charge 5% more because the risk is often not small but catastrophic resulting in bankruptcy. So what can an MEPF sub do when faced with this hurdle?

The best approach is multifaceted:

A.) Put together a team of high knowledge BIM experts! The software is challenging, but so is the trade knowledge base. You need someone with both the experience in navigating BIM software as well as knowledge of local US codes and best practices. Our team is 100% based and trained in the US.

B.) Have your team audit the design models. The GC will typically supply the architectural and structural design models but they will not warrant them. Performing an audit on the design models allows you to take comfort in the fact that the model is truly clash free.

C.) Ensure that you are working with precision models. Get the right LOD! Get the right Dimensions! Get the existing conditions exactly right!

Call us today and we can provide a free consultation in understanding how best to approach your scope and ensure that project risk is minimized.

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