E-commerce was once a value-added service, but it has become fundamental for companies to stay competitive. This is especially true during the coronavirus outbreak, since e-commerce contributes to social distancing. Construction requires the presence of contractors and their staff in project sites. However, many of the engineering services required can be delivered remotely, and this includes MEP design.
With modern design software and collaboration tools, architects and engineers can collaborate regardless of geographic distances, and with no need to meet in person. This is a major advantage during the current health emergency, since a virtual design environment eliminates the infection risk completely.
Planning a new building? Get your MEP systems designed and approved remotely.
E-commerce also allows the itemization of MEP design services, based on specific tasks or amounts of work. MEP design companies can offer “itemized” services in e-stores, adapting to the needs of various clients and project sizes. Clients can also know the exact cost of the design service in advance, even before contacting the engineering firm.
MEP Design: Comparing E-Commerce and Conventional Payments
MEP engineering services can be budgeted more accurately with an e-commerce approach, since the list of tasks required is simply added to a “cart”. Also, traditional design services are often paid by check or bank transfer, while e-commerce offers more options such as credit cards and Paypal.
- E-commerce allows faster payment with less fees: while an international wire transfer involves a high fee and several days, Paypal transactions have low fees and immediate processing.
- With e-commerce, project owners also have more flexibility when managing their payment methods. For example, they can switch to a credit card that has just started its billing cycle, getting more time to pay their bank at zero interest.
E-commerce makes the MEP design process faster, by shortening the initial conversations between the owner and engineering firm, and offering an immediate budget. Building owners know exactly how much the required services will cost, and the design engineers can start within hours after the initial contact. Payment terms are provided upfront, and transactions are processed automatically - owners and design firms can focus on projects.
Virtual MEP design services also save plenty of time and fuel, and in the current situation they reduce exposure to COVID-19. With modern engineering software and collaboration tools, a building project can go from a concept to an approved design, even if the parties involved never meet in person. Of course, another advantage of e-commerce is eliminating geographical distances - an engineering firm in North America can offer MEP design services for building projects in southeast Asia or the Middle East.
Reducing MEP Design Costs with E-Commerce
For project owners, e-commerce offers engineering expertise by task, or by determined amounts of work. Real estate developers and contractors can outsource engineering services at a flexible cost, instead of having their own staff on payroll. With the uncertainty brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, having flexible costs is beneficial for companies of all types.
E-commerce in MEP design also reduces costs thanks to the efficiency and accumulated expertise of the engineering firm that offers it. After having worked on many MEP designs and getting them approved with local authorities, engineers can complete the process within the smallest possible number of man-hours. Also consider the time saved in commuting and meetings, which is subtracted from the total design hours.
Virtual MEP design services also bring indirect savings. For example, they avoid the medical costs incurred if a staff member gets COVID-19 while attending meetings. By accelerating the design and approval stage, e-commerce also allows an earlier construction start. This is beneficial for owners who are currently paying rent while their building is finished, or owners who will start collecting rent from prospective tenants.
E-commerce brings several benefits to MEP design. Project owners can get the services of expert engineers without hiring them permanently, while getting transparent and flexible prices. During the COVID-19 emergency, e-commerce is also a social distancing measure that reduces the infection risk for everyone involved in the project.
Engineering firms can use e-commerce to reach a larger market, while protecting their staff from COVID-19. Design engineers also waste less time commuting, and meetings can become much more efficient online.