MEP design is a collaborative process that is tailored to the needs of a project and its stakeholders. It is important to get this right because the process is responsible for providing the building with its life-giving systems.
Finding the right MEP engineer to fit the project's needs can be difficult and time-consuming. This article will help architects in Florida through the process and give them some tips on how to find the right MEP firm.
1) Assess their advanced technical expertise
Proficient MEP engineers use the latest software to design and build some of the most important structures in the world. They have been using computer-aided design (CAD) software for decades, but the latest in the industry is not just for drawing. The best MEP firms use Building Information Modeling (BIM) to improve the accuracy of their projects.
- BIM allows for better coordination of project phases.
- The data can be used to make better decisions about the design and construction.
- With BIM modeling, there is a reduced risk of mistakes.
- It is a more efficient way to design and construct buildings in a shorter amount of time.
Architects in Florida and elsewhere should look for MEP engineers that use modern BIM authoring tools like Revit and are also well-versed in other prevalent software tools, including AutoCAD, Navisworks, and MicroStation. During the interview, do not hesitate to ask questions about their technical expertise.
2) Vet MEP professionals based on qualifications
When screening MEP engineers in Florida, architects will least expect a bachelor’s degree in engineering and at least five years of experience in the field. The MEP engineers must also be licensed by the state in which they work. However, that’s the minimum criteria.
Architects must also vet MEP professionals on the basis of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as well as their command over ISO/FDA regulations.
The LEED certification program created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) measures the sustainability of a building. It is made up of six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design.
In a world moving towards a sustainable future, such a criterion cannot be overlooked.
3) Determine services offered by the MEP firm
Hiring a different MEP firm for different projects is inefficient. Architects want to look for a long-term business association. That way, the MEP partner gets familiarized with the architect’s process and projects they typically work on.
Hence, it’s important to know the kind of services offered by the shortlisted MEP firms. The more services they offer, the better since their expertise can be used in a variety of projects and industries. Moreover, this ensures single-point responsibility for designs and consistency of service.
For instance, NY Engineers offers a range of MEP services, including energy modeling, utility filings, CAD to Revit conversion, building commissioning, construction administration, fire protection, as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and sprinkler engineering services.
The more diverse the services are, the better.
4) Gauge compliance with standards, building codes
Competent MEP firms do not cut corners on compliance.
They understand and adhere to the standards/regulations of the following:
- ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers)
- IBC (International Building Code)
- ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America)
- UBC (Uniform Building Code)
- AIA (American Institute of Architects)
- BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association)
- IFMA (International Facility Manager Association)
5) Ask if they have completed similar projects
While choosing an MEP firm to work with, it’s important to ask for project-specific examples. By doing so, architects can assess the capability of the potential MEP partner to successfully bring the project to completion, from design to construction.
Also, don’t forget to inquire about:
- Completion dates of those similar projects in the past
- Availability of staff to ensure timely execution of the project
- Client references
Architects can directly communicate with past and existing clients to evaluate the MEP firms’ performance and work ethic.
6) Analyze their ability to stay within budget
In the construction industry, MEP design accounts for a big chunk of the overall project cost. If not done correctly, it can lead to delays, increased cost of construction, and even the danger of injury to workers.
Architects must determine if the potential MEP partner has a proven history of delivering projects within budget. Unfortunately, change orders are sometimes inevitable.
It can be due to:
- Increased scope of the project
- Owner-requested changes
- Errors and omissions
However, a competent MEP firm tries its best to keep change orders at a minimum. Always inquire about the reasons for change orders and how they navigated those changes and delays. Architects want to work with a firm that has a solid history of completing projects within the allocated budget.
7) Find creative and innovative MEP professionals
Creativity and innovation are two of the most important qualities of MEP Engineers. It's best to work with people who aren't satisfied doing the bare minimum. Instead, they are driven by the need to provide value and find innovative solutions to the most challenging problems.
During the vetting process, architects can ask for instances where the MEP firm was faced with such challenges and how they used their ingenuity and problem-solving skills to navigate them. In other words, architects want to collaborate with engineers who aren’t stuck in their ways but adapt themselves to the changing needs and time.
Gathering feedback from their clients might also help in that regard.
8) Hire MEP engineers with communication expertise
Whether or not engineers are great communicators is debatable. However, when hiring MEP engineers, excellent communication skills are a necessity. Every day, MEP engineers are responsible for interacting with clients, contractors, and suppliers
This collaboration is crucial to create a successful project. A good MEP engineer must be able to converse with people from a variety of backgrounds and convey the technical aspects of their work to contractors and subcontractors.
Moreover, the MEP firm must proactively respond to emails, calls, and text messages to maintain that collaboration.
The engineering industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. With the need for quality engineering projects to be completed on time and within budget, it is essential for architects to hire the best MEP engineers possible.
NY Engineers offers the best MEP services in Florida and is licensed in 50 states. The firm has worked with over 90 franchise brands and is known for fast turnaround within budget. Schedule a consultation or call us to get a quote!