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.
TRACE 700 helps compare energy and economic impact of HVAC systems, HVAC equipment.
Calculates the design heating and cooling loads and associated psychrometrics for air conditioning plants.
Mechanical Design Software (Fire)
FHC is an easy-to-use hydraulic calculation and analysis package, specifically designed for the fire protection industry.
Hydracalc (hydraulic calculation) software from Hydratec is fully compatible with NFPA 2007 printout requirements.
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.