MEP stands for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. These three technical fields cover the systems that make buildings habitable for humans. Because of the high level of interaction between MEP installations, MEP engineers typically design these together. This combined approach also avoids equipment location conflicts, which often occur when MEP engineers design mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems separately. MEP Planning is essential in all construction projects.
MEP Engineering in Construction
Because MEP systems are so complex, modern engineering consulting firms use software to speed up the design process. A computer automates simple and repetitive tasks, allowing an MEP design engineer to focus on making the best decisions.
When we look at MEP participation in a project, we see that the major work is HVAC controlled by Mechanical and then by Electrical. MEP construction must include all commercial, residential, and industrial purposes where services and facilities are required.
MEP includes the installation of air conditioning systems, water supply & drainage systems, firefighting systems, electrical power and lighting systems, including transformer substations and emergency power generators, fire protection and alarm systems, voice and data systems, security access, and surveillance systems, UPS, public address systems, Mast antenna TV systems, and building management systems.
M: Mechanical Engineering
Many different types of mechanical systems are used in buildings. However, the majority of mechanical design works in residential and commercial buildings are concerned with HVAC: heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
These systems keep the indoor temperature and humidity within a comfortable and healthy range. Mechanical ventilation also provides a constant supply of fresh air, which helps to keep pollutants at safe levels.
Mechanical installations perform best when the equipment capacity is adequate. Overengineering, contrary to popular belief, has numerous negative consequences. Oversized chillers and boilers, for example, tend to cycle quickly, causing them to wear out faster and causing indoor temperature variations. Another consequence of overengineering in mechanical systems is poor indoor humidity control.
Mechanical design, in addition to correctly sizing HVAC equipment, entails determining the best routes for heat distribution systems: air ducts, refrigerant lines, hydronic piping, steam piping, and so on. Using combustion to heat a building, as is common in many, necessitates properly venting the equipment to remove harmful exhaust gases.
E: Electrical Engineering
Finding the best routes for electrical conduit and wiring in high-rise construction can save a lot of material. Electrical circuits take up less space, and MEP engineers can route them around obstacles more easily than mechanical systems, thus allowing for greater design flexibility. MEP engineers can use MEP design software to lay conduit and do wiring, thus minimizing total circuit length and avoiding location conflicts with mechanical and plumbing installations.
In most buildings, lighting installations constitute the electrical system with the highest energy consumption. Energy consultants often recommend LED lighting because it achieves typical savings ranging from 30% to 90%, depending on the type of lamp replaced. Many design software packages can simulate lighting to determine the optimal number and layout of fixtures.
HVAC is an area in which mechanical and electrical engineers must work closely together:
- To determine equipment capacities, mechanical engineers calculate the space heating and air conditioning loads.
- Electrical engineers create the electrical circuits and protections that allow this equipment to operate continuously and safely.
The main HVAC components that use fossil fuels as an energy source are furnaces and boilers. In most cases, electricity is the source of power for air conditioners, chillers, air handling systems, and hydronic pumps.
Electric works primarily include electrical power and lighting, however, there are other components such as transformer substations, emergency power, UPS/Central battery, voice/data communication, TV, security systems such as CCTV surveillance system, access control system, public address system, building management system (BMS), fire alarm system, aircraft warning lights, traffic barrier, surge protection system, and lighting.
Electrical systems might include:
- Power supply and distribution.
- Information and telecommunications systems.
- Control systems.
- Security and access.
- Detection and alarm systems.
- Interior and exterior lighting.
P: Plumbing Engineering
There are certain codes guiding plumbing installations. Plumbing design entails the layout of piping routes, similar to ductwork in mechanical design and conduits in electrical design. MEP engineers use advanced software to simplify the process and avoid clashes.
Plumbing installations interact with mechanical and electrical systems at various points, and design teams must work together to achieve the best results:
- High-rise buildings typically require water booster pumps that run with electricity.
- In most cases, domestic hot water systems require a dedicated water heater or a heat exchanger connected to a space heating boiler.
Fire protection design can be challenging because most local codes are particularly stringent in this area. Furthermore, most Local Laws stipulate that automatic fire sprinklers for all commercial occupancies be taller than 100 feet.
People might use plumbing systems for:
- Heating and cooling.
- Waste disposal.
- Potable cold and hot water supply.
- Water recovery and treatment systems.
- Rainwater, surface, and subsurface water drainage.
- Fuel gas.
What do MEP engineers do?
What exactly does an MEP Engineer or Engineer do in the MEP profession? The bullets below describe the major groups of MEP engineering professions as well as some of the professional consulting services that they offer.
Mechanical engineers design the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in construction buildings and other structures where people congregate. The following types of design and assessment consulting services are available:
- Central utility plants
- Air distribution
- Utility master planning and design
- Steam, chilled, and hot water distribution
- Exhaust system design
- Infection control HVAC
- Process piping
- Building control system
- Building energy modeling, analyses, and audits
- Renewable energy system design and analyses
Electrical engineers design the electrical systems in buildings and other public structures. They offer the following design and assessment consulting services:
- Power distribution
- Standby power systems
- Uninterruptible power supply system (UPS)
- Renewable energy system design and analysis
- Power quality assessments
- Harmonic analysis
- Electrical and communication systems master planning and design
- Telephone/data layouts
- Nurse call systems
- Security systems
- Fault current analyses
- Arc fault analyses and labeling
- Coordination studies
Plumbing and Piping Engineers or Designers plan and design the plumbing and piping systems in buildings and other structures where people gather. The following design and assessment consulting services are available:
- Domestic hot and cold water
- Natural gas piping
- Medical gas systems, distribution, and alarms
- Storm drainage systems
- Acid waste piping
- De-ionized water systems
- Reverse osmosis systems
- Water softening systems
The Bottom Line
The MEP engineering is the most important part of any construction project. There are specialists who work as MEP Engineers or MEP consultants. These individuals are in charge of all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works without which the construction project could not be completed.
The MEP engineer’s main responsibility is to work on the MEP design in order to complete the MEP works in any construction project on time. To carry out the details of MEP activities, MEP engineers make use of MEP Revit software. Various MEP apps are also useful in the construction industry for carrying out MEP work.