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Importance of accuracy in MEP shop Drawings

MEP shop drawings comprises of 2D drawing set in AutoCAD or PDF format that is used on site by contractors or Engineers

Published: 31/10/2018

Country: India

MEP shop drawings comprises of 2D drawing set in AutoCAD or PDF format that is used on site by contractors or Engineers. These drawings consist of the entire building map and details that is required for construction. The accuracy or the quality of the Shop Drawings determine the quality of overall building construction process. In case of in accuracy of these drawings, there will be unresolved design issues, budgets can go overboard and installation process suffers a lot.

Years ago, the 2D shop drawings were completed with the help of AutoCAD software. These drawings were complex in nature hence there were a lot of issues that the onsite contractors faced during the construction and that led to failure of many construction projects. Construction companies faced critical losses in terms of money and reputation both in case of delays or inaccuracies during installations. The labor cost, redesigning cost etc. came up to excess liabilities. Today this issue is solved to a great extent with the help of BIM and advanced construction process like construction scheduling, costing etc. Today all the design and development process are performed using Building Information Modeling. This process helps in overcoming all the design issues by performing clash detection and BIM coordination during the modeling stage. All the issues are sorted and once the model is finalized, the Engineers and Drafters start working on “MEP Shop Drawings Services” or “MEP Installation Drawing ”. Hence, the on-site contractors find the drawings more accurate compared to the 2D Drawings done in past.

All the fixtures, equipment’s and routing is done in MEP 3D model after which the models are coordinated and shop drawings are extracted. This way we have the exact location of the equipment’s, fixtures, outlets etc. in the model itself. We can then extract 2D sheets from the model and add detailing to them. These models and drawings together comprise of the MEP installation systems. These can be used for onsite installation HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing components.

Clash detection, MEP Coordination and Shop Drawings can also be disastrous if not executed proficiently. Using the latest technology and systems does not guarantee accurate results. It is very important for the drawings to be accurate. Accuracy is the key for successful onsite installation. So if the shop drawings are not accurate, the contractor has to pay a huge price. How do we ensure accuracy?

Qualified and skilled resources: This is a requirement that cannot be compromised on. It is very important to hire qualified and skilled Engineers to work on MEP shop Drawings. This incumbent should be experienced in terms on Engineering skills, software competence, on site experience along with knowledge of coordination and drafting.

Utilization of BIM: Using BIM Services to develop MEP Installation Drawings is also another way to ensure accuracy. Building Information Modelling is parametric in nature, hence any changes made in the 3D model also reflects in the 2D sheets too. This makes it easier to make last minute changes in the shop drawings. We can make the changes in the model and it directly reflects in the drawings and all related places. This reduces time, design issues are sorted collaboratively in meetings resulting in seamless execution of the MEP installation process.


Collaborative approach prior to onsite construction: It is important to utilize the time prior to the onsite construction wisely.  Design issues and interference between multiple services can be detected through the MEP BIM coordination process effectively. This helps in identifying flaws and also initiate rectification of the flaws at the right time. Engineers, Architects and Contractors should at once get together using collaborative tools and correct these issues prior to the start of on-site construction. By doing this we can save money and time that is spent when the construction stops due to design issues on site. Secondly the contractors can take reference of the live virtual model during construction to identify problem areas.

2D MEP CAD drawings contain all the critical and detailed information about the floor plans, elevations and has the sizes with design intent.  The contractors also get blown up details, equipment schedules and call outs that provide complete information about the installation process of the HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing components. Since these are MEP coordination drawings, the contractor can be rest assured that everything will be in place without any clash or collision.

MEP coordinated shop drawings have improved the construction process drastically by saving money and time both. It should be developed with an intention of making the construction process more productive and cost effective. If Architectural is important for the aesthetic, structural for the strength of a building and MEP for the proper utilization of energy in any building.


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