MEP stands for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering, and professionals from these technical disciplines are who design the systems that make building interiors suitable for humans. These building systems must be specified and installed properly to accomplish their purpose, and must also be serviced at regular intervals to stay under optimal operating conditions.

Although MEP consultants can offer you a wide range of engineering services, they generally accomplish one of the following purposes:

  • Making sure the building systems in a new construction are designed and installed properly.
  • Identifying deficiencies in existing buildings, and proposing measures to correct them and improve performance.

In a way, MEP consulting can be considered an investment - you pay for a professional service to make sure your building systems operate optimally during their service life. This yields tangible financial benefits such as lower operating costs and improved productivity, along with qualitative benefits such as improved comfort and safety for occupants. If you are developing commercial space for rent, MEP engineering services can also give you a competitive edge: a building that offers high-performance systems is likely to attract more tenants. For example, energy efficient heating and cooling systems are selling points in office spaces for rent.

Regardless of whether you are considering a new construction or a renovation for an existing property, MEP engineering services can add great value to your project.


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MEP Design and Consulting in New Constructions

Designing a new construction to be a high-performance building from the start is much easier than improving an existing building through major upgrades. Therefore, working with a qualified MEP design firm early on provides benefits throughout the entire building life cycle. The reason is simple: modifying plans and specifications is considerably faster and cheaper than modifying existing buildings.

Smart decisions during the design phase also allow project cost reductions, minimizing material requirements and optimizing equipment capacities. Older buildings often have oversized installations, which in many cases are the result of “rules of thumb” during project design. Oversized systems are more expensive to own in terms of capital investment, operation and maintenance. More is not necessarily better in MEP engineering, and an optimally-sized building system outperforms both oversized and undersized installations.

Working with the best MEP engineering firms also provides an often-overlooked benefit: building code compliance. New York City is known for having some of the most demanding building codes in the world, particularly when it comes to fire protection and energy efficiency.

Overlooking code requirements can lead to plenty of design revisions with the NYC Department of Buildings, delaying project approval and construction. If you are developing commercial spaces for rent, missing the planned opening date by even a few weeks can result in plenty of lost income - better to get it right from the first attempt.

MEP Design and Consulting in Existing Buildings

Even if building systems are designed and installed correctly, deterioration of components over time is normal, resulting in a gradual loss of performance. There are also cases where the existing equipment was the best in the market at the time of construction, but is now outclassed by newer technologies. For example, consider air-conditioning systems: a ductless mini-split system is more efficient than a window-type unit, but newer ductless systems are in turn much more efficient than first-generation units.

MEP consulting is beneficial for existing buildings practically at any time. Perhaps your company plans to improve performance voluntarily, but also keep in mind that NYC legislation may impose upgrades on existing properties. Currently, two of the most relevant laws requiring mandatory upgrades for NYC buildings are the following:

  • Local Law 26 of 2004: Mandatory fire sprinkler system installation for all buildings at least 100 feet tall and classified as business occupancies. The deadline is July 1, 2019.
  • Local Law 88 of 2009: All buildings above certain size thresholds must upgrade their lighting to reach the efficiency levels of the NYC Energy Conservation Code and must submeter electricity for their tenants. The deadline is January 1, 2025.

Regardless of whether your building upgrades are mandatory or voluntary, working with qualified MEP engineering professionals ensures you get satisfactory results. With respect to optional building upgrades, consulting services can help you determine which of them can deliver the best results. This way, you can prioritize investments.

The Greener, Greater Buildings Plan also features Local Law 87, mandates energy audits and retro-commissioning for large NYC buildings at 10-year intervals. If your property falls under the scope of LL87, an MEP engineering firm can help you out.

Conclusion

Property owners in NYC can achieve significant long-term benefits by working with qualified MEP consultants. You can improve building performance, reducing the consumption of resources such as electricity, natural gas and water, while providing comfort and safety for occupants. In addition, you can rest assured that your company will not face legal action for missing NYC building code requirements.

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