How Important Is Software In Mep Design?

Examining the relevance of MEP software used in the US, UK and Australia for building construction.

Examining the relevance of MEP software used in the US, UK and Australia for building construction.

MEP design is one of the unsung heroes in the construction world. Much like set design for theatre, MEP design is crafted behind the scenes and its crew remains primarily invisible to the majority of people it benefits, but its effects are widely experienced, especially when things go wrong. MEP design is an umbrella term for the design of mechanical, electrical,  plumbing & fire systems in a building, or MEP building systems, and it is vitally important for design decision-making, accurate documentation, seamless performance and cost-estimation, planning and operations. Effective MEP design requires effective software and qualified design engineering professionals to utilise their experience and specialist software for optimum results. Increasingly, these professionals are found as MEP consultants in India. To better understand the importance of software in MEP design, we take a look at available MEP design services and suitable software options for those services.

Design services in construction, especially MEP engineering design, must take into account client needs, sustainability needs, architectural design and structural factors, as well as commercial aspects. This is no different for MEP design. MEP design services involve offering a choice of solutions within a specific deadline to building design professionals. They include electrical design, electrical drawings, HVAC system, duct and distribution design, mechanical pipe design for low temperature and high temperature water design, plumbing design and fire system. These services can be created for concept, schematic, design development, tender and construction stages. For lighting design, and particularly for lux level calculations, DIALux is a popular tool, while trends indicate Camel software is preferred for calculating air conditioning loads.

AutoCAD, Revit, SolidWorks, Inventor and 3D Max are software options that support MEP design. Others include country-specific and services-specific software tools. The more popular choices in the UK, US and Australia include the following:
In the UK, Hevacomp, FHC and Amtech (with DIALux) are preferred for HVAC, fire and electrical design, respectively.

In the US, TRACE, Hydracalc and ETAP (with DIALux) are preferred for HVAC, fire and electrical design, respectively.

In Australia, Camel, Hyena and PowerCad (with DIALux) are preferred for HVAC, fire and electrical design, respectively.
Taking a look at some of these tools and their features in detail offers more insight into their uses and benefits:



Specifically created to meet UK standards, Hevacomp mechanical designer software allows design and also analysis of mechanical systems.


  1. Accurate analysis of building load and energy calculations
  2. Extensive database
  3. Comprehensive tools and reports
  4. Calculates heat loss, radiator sizing, heat gains, shadow analysis, heating and air conditioning energy and summer overheating.
  5. Integrates with Hevacomp Dynamic Simulator for entire building analysis


TRACE 700 helps compare energy and economic impact of HVAC systems, HVAC equipment.


  1. Extensive modelling functionality - over 50 airside systems, air and waterside economisers, advanced chiller plant configurations, water-source and central and distributed ground-source systems, VRF and UFAD systems, dedicated outdoor-air systems and optimized control strategies.
  2. Integration - ASHRAE Standard 90.1 equipment and envelope libraries, gbXML (green build XML) imports, weather files, templates, BIM


Calculates the design heating and cooling loads and associated psychrometrics for air conditioning plants.


  1. Calculations are based on the AIRAH/IHRACE Application Manual DA9 "Air Conditioning Systems, Load Estimation & Psychrometrics", which incorporates cooling load estimation techniques and data.
  2. Models a range of system types, including CV Heating and Cooling, CV Face and Bypass VAV with and without reheat, RC Heat Pumps and Evaporative Coolers
  3. Plant fresh air quantities can be calculated in accordance with AS1668
  4. Comprehensive range and data checking, with comprehensive consistency check
  5. Results for cooling, heating and reheat loads, air quantities, VAV turn-down ratios, check figures, selectively or collectively viewed.
  6. Loads, air quantities, etc, psychrometric chart plots, dynamic graphical display of shadows on walls and windows from overhangs

Mechanical Design Software (Fire)


FHC is an easy-to-use hydraulic calculation and analysis package, specifically designed for the fire protection industry.


  • Intuitive interface to build complex hydraulic models, with thousands of pipes
  • High speed calculation engines
  • Can be used to hydraulically model any type of water-based fire protection system from fire sprinkler systems, water mist, fire hydrants, water monitors, etc.


Hydracalc (hydraulic calculation) software from Hydratec is fully compatible with NFPA 2007 printout requirements.


  • Library of pump and backflow device curves
  • Backflow loss read automatically off of curves based on flow required
  • Designate flow schematic reference points or automatically generated
  • Automatic remote head location and auto-peaking of a calculation
  • Automatic error checking
  • Calculates using velocity pressure or total pressure
  • Displays and instantly updates calculated flow, pressure and velocity
  • Flow schematics for data checking
  • Unlimited pipe types and fittings tables
  • Integrates with HydraCAD™


Hyena can be used to analyse automatic fire sprinkler systems, fire hydrant and hose reel installations or combined sprinkler, hydrant and/or hose reel systems or any other systems where the discharges can be represented by a k factor and minimum flow.


  1. Modelling of piping systems as fixed-pressure, town mains water supply or pump
  2. Input points are automatically assigned as reference nodes to save input
  3. Selection of piping materials, such as light medium and heavy steel, cast ductile iron and copper piping
  4. Pipes or nodes can be identified and pipe diameters or lengths can be changed
  5. Wide range of fittings are provided and can be modified
  6. Booster pumps and back flow preventers can be included.
  7. Can determine design point (required flow and head at the input point) given the k factor and minimum discharge of each sprinkler head or hose reel
  8. Provision is made for gridded layouts to be entered easily with pipe numbers, node numbers, pipe diameters or lengths.
  9. Sprinkler elevations and row elevation are automatically duplicated in the grid
  10. Range checks, cross checks and other checks are carried out on all input items
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