Scan to BIM Technology for Sports Stadia

Scan to BIM Role in Sports Stadia Design

Sports spectators typically consist of loud crowds, with high adrenaline, indulging in copious consumption of food and drink and enjoying great views to thrilling sports matches. The venues for these spectacles require careful planning and intelligent design and usually improvement or scaling up to cater for greater numbers with more comfort. As the BIM (Building Information Modelling) process becomes more popular in the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) industry, the Scan to BIM course of action plays an important role in the update and re-design of sports stadia across the world.

Scan to BIM Technology for Sports Stadia

So, what is Scan to BIM?
Scan to BIM is a process which uses the latest technology to convert point cloud data to detailed 3D BIM models. It begins with the scanning of a physical space or site by a 3D laser scanner. The resulting scan(s) are used to develop a precise digital representation of the space, which can then be utilised to plan, design, assess or evaluate the space. Scan to BIM is also widely known as point cloud to BIM.

A point cloud is a large group (sometimes millions) of data points in space, or a 3D coordinate system, typically created by 3D scanners. The scanners measure many points on objects’ surfaces or building surfaces, creating a cloud of points or a point cloud. Point clouds record surfaces in great detail, reducing the need for repeated site visits. Point clouds can help create 3D CAD models of manufactured parts in Revit and can be used for quality checks, visualisation, animation and rendering. Using point clouds, BIM models can be created, hence the term ‘point cloud to BIM’ or Scan to BIM.

Scan to BIM can be used by MEP designers, MEP contractors, consulting engineers and architects. The data in a Scan to BIM model can be exported or imported by surveying equipment in a format that it understands. The data can then be used to create as-built conditions or used for field verifications.

When Scan to BIM is used in sports stadia, minute details are extracted from point clouds. The interior and exterior of a football stadium can be scanned, allowing section cuts of seating areas and conference centres. The precise details gathered have a significant impact on the resulting efficiency and accuracy of the subsequently generated BIM model, contributing to an efficient stadium design. A brief look at the Scan to BIM process shows how.

Scan to BIM Process
The Scan to BIM procedure typically follows five steps:
1. Survey
2. Scan
3. Process
4. Model
5. Additional Information

The stadium site sets up 3D survey control markers, which are coordinated before the scanning takes place. These markers allow accurate tracking of the site data.

During this step, 3D laser scanners connect to 3D survey control markers. Point cloud data is developed with detailed stadium site data from scanners, aerial imagery, drones, etc. and fed into the BIM environment for stadium designers.

Collected point cloud data is downloaded and processed at different intervals, then checked against the survey control data at the stadium site for inconsistencies.

Stadium site data is relayed to modelers, who create a 3D model to represent the data of the stadium site. This model is shared between all project stakeholders to minimise or eliminate rework, as it contains large amounts of data and can be updated easily.

Additional Information:
All additional necessary information is added to the BIM model.

Scan to BIM Benefits
The practice of Scan to BIM has several benefits, such as:
• Speed – 3D laser scanning enables fast collection of data at stadia sites
• Accuracy – amassing millions of measurable data points enables pinpoint accuracy of stadia site information
• Consistency – laser scanners ensure fast, accurate data, every time, at any stadium location
• Shareable Data – collected data can be measured, shared between the stadium project stakeholders
• Easy Retrofitting – complex MEP installations in retrofitting projects of old stadia are made easy due to data captured over the full measured range
• Transparency, Communication, Collaboration – stadium project stakeholders can access, use, modify, communicate and collaborate easily
• Reliability, Quality Assurance – the BIM model facilitates clash detection and elimination
• Visualisation – designers can visualise more details in BIM, such as sunlight on different parts of a stadium, during different seasons and different hours
• Sustainability – stadia with sustainable design can be designed through this method, calculating stadium energy requirements and performance
• Saving Costs – early detection and rectification of errors helps save rework and overall costs

Software Benefits
Generally, Revit is a preferred software platform to create BIM models. As well as the advantages of the Scan to BIM process mentioned above, software benefits include:

1. Creating 2D drawings from 3D point cloud data
2. Inbuilt tools to create elements such as walls, columns, pipes, etc.
3. Easy renovation of older stadia
4. Created BIM models have high accuracy levels from point cloud data feeds
5. Efficient clash detection and clash eradication

Stadia Design Stages
Design stages for stadia generally follow the stages of architectural design. They include:

Surveys of the stadium site are taken, and ground conditions are studied and analysed.

Design changes and details, such as materials, the room types, ceiling heights, stairs and elevators, are determined.

Schematic Design
The stadium structure is reviewed, with initial calculations, and systems are integrated. Design criteria, such as mechanical systems design and crowd modelling, are tested.

Design Development
Detailed calculations are completed, equipment is selected, including lights, cooling units, fans, sanitaryware, kitchen equipment. Interior designers, kitchen operators, fire engineers, ICT specialists and broadcast specialists provide input and ensure local codes and standards are met.

Issue for Construction
Specification of materials, equipment and finishes are determined. Detailed drawings are completed.

Once stadia are re-designed through Scan to BIM, it is worth knowing how the process is applied. The main applications of Scan to BIM services in the construction of sports stadia are:
• Creation of as-built BIM models for retrofit, refurbishment and renovation of existing sports stadia
• Creation of as-built BIM models for stadia MEP services that alert stakeholders to clash detection early on, to avoid costly rework
• Improved BIM models due to accurate point cloud data
• Fast determination of true dimensions

So, how successful has this process been in the real world?

Sports Stadia Designed with Scan to BIM
The following stadium projects used Scan to BIM technology to improve speed, quality, efficiency and reduce the cost of construction:

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles – laser scanning was used to determine current seating and aisle ways for new seating requirements, to show existing structural elements and MEP services for the 56,000-seat baseball stadium

Camp Nou Stadium, Barcelona – 3D camera scans were used to help renovate a 60-year-old stadium, with an upgrade of Wi-Fi technology, improvements in VIP hospitality services and a projected increase of 6,000 seats. An underground parking area to improve access for fans and a roof are to be installed at the stadium.

College Football Stadium, South Bend, Indiana – 3D laser scans located underground utilities over 160,000 square feet at a college football stadium, showing active conduit, water and sanitary sewer lines inside the stadium concourse. CAD engineers used the point cloud data to bolster the 2D utility site plans. Additional structural and architectural features gathered in the scan data can be used for other projects in the same space.

As more stadia globally are changing their design for growth or comfort or new uses, moving in the direction of a Scan to BIM construction process is becoming popular. With the wealth of affordable, experienced technical talent available overseas, outsourcing Scan to BIM services presents several advantages, namely:

• Well-qualified technicians easily convert point cloud data into data-rich BIM models from surveyed data images and point clouds.
• Licensed architects and certified scan technicians deliver high-quality as-built surveys.
• Delivery of accurate Scan to BIM services help design teams make quick decisions.
• Delivery of precise build-cost estimates reduce errors and results in significant cost savings.

Before the evolution of BIM processes and BIM modelling, the design and construction of sports stadia required much cumbersome documentation, was lengthy and involved high costs. Using the Scan to BIM process, every aspect of a stadium can be represented in a single digital view, allowing project teams to communicate and collaborate with significantly greater effect and efficiency, resulting in the construction of beautiful and technically sound sports stadia that stay within budget, especially with the attractive option of outsourcing these services.


Advantages of MEP Consultants from India

Having a single source for MEP (M&E) design and coordination – that mainly sums up the main advantage of MEP consultants from India for Western construction. MEP design and MEP coordination effectively being delivered in the shortest time is best served by a single source. Finding that single source will either be with the designer, who also executes coordination, or with a contractor, who also executes design. A single source, therefore, must have additional skills to perform both functions and thus complete the workflow in its entirety. MEP consultants in India can help in this regard by providing the complete design and contracting service required, such as MEP design engineering, BIM modelling, 3D BIM coordination and MEP shop drawing services, for example.

Advantages of MEP Consultants from India

MEP Design

MEP design outputs generally include providing mechanical, electrical, public health and fire protection building services design information (also known as building engineering and architectural engineering) by building services designers and consultants. This design data and information is provided in a comprehensive manner for all design stages, from concept design, design development, tender and construction. The design is typically delivered in BIM format and include spatially coordinated models that contractor and installation teams can install from or use to progress their detailed design and coordination.

MEP Coordination

The above individual designs are incorporated and spatially organised to be install ready in the process known as MEP coordination. Once an intelligent model is sent to the MEP engineers, they can begin working, using the building envelope, rooms and volumes as reference points. With Revit MEP, MEP engineers can determine spaces and zones and can use intelligent data which provides greater detail. The parametric tools will update automatically, and calculations can be more quickly and easily analysed when building designs change. The results are reported and shared across the entire project team. MEP engineers can calculate sizing and pressure loss. Simulation and visualisation tools can predict system behaviour, appearance and connectivity.

MEP coordination thus includes providing spatially coordinated building services drawings for construction and engineering projects, which can be utilised by MEP building services contractors. All building services (HVAC, pipework, public health and electrical systems) are also coordinated with other disciplines contributing to the building fabric and structure (steel, concrete, false ceilings, etc.). This multiservice coordination work is created in a 3D environment for all the disciplines, resulting in several benefits, namely:

  • No clashes (validated using clash-detection software tools)
  • Models are generated, through BIM modelling, with precise representations of all mechanical components/kits
  • Prevention of site-based delays and disputes, as all services have been proven to work
  • Ease of communication, since the 3D model can be viewed and enables easy walk-throughs for demos, reviews or value engineering
  • Faster approval/sign-off (3D BIM modelling allows clients to view detailed areas in 3D).

Verification of 3D MEP coordinated drawings is possible with the help of the latest MEP modelling software Revit MEP, and clash detection in Navisworks has been found to be effective for 3D building services coordination.

Benefits of Single Source for MEP Design and Coordination

When MEP design and MEP collaboration were provided by different sources, several challenges ensued. The adoption of a specific workflow – one where MEP design and MEP coordination are delivered by one designer or one contractor – solved virtually all of these issues, combining design and coordination, aiding installation, commission and fabrication. The end products include models and drawings which are coordinated and ready to install.

Particular advantages with this workflow process are:

  • The BIM model is started and finished by the same team or firm, saving time and minimising confusion.
  • The layout strategy (plant and main distribution) is usually adopted first, keeping changes to a minimum.
  • The designer can consider procurement information, incorporating this data early in the design stage.
  • The designer/contractor can then issue a coordinated model.

Additional support for design and coordination is a constant requirement for both designers and contractors. Essentially, India is a vast source of technically qualified MEP professionals, and growing collaboration online with overseas customers over the past decades has groomed a generation of well-qualified, well-experienced, low-cost MEP design human resources now capable of seamless MEP coordination too. The major advantages India’s MEP outsourcing services provide are as follows:

  • Thorough understanding of process and requirements
  • Indian MEP professionals are well versed in delivering designs according to international building and construction standards, global best practices and quality control systems.
  • Expertise in MEP
  • India produces high quantities of technically qualified engineers and designers.
  • Most MEP consultancy firms in India house technical personnel of different disciplines under one roof.
  • Technical personnel work with the latest CAD technology for drawings and calculations and use BIM 360 Team with Collaboration for Revit (C4R) to create coordinated BIM models.
  • Experience in MEP
  • MEP design and coordination professionals have spent several years learning MEP technologies and systems, and they have spent even longer moulding custom-designed MEP solutions, specifically for each client.
  • Track records for successful solutions and projects by a particular MEP consulting expert can be viewed online.
  • These firms have a history of delivering 3D BIM and 2D CAD solutions to general contractors, design build contractors, real estate developers, architecture and engineering (AEC) firms with high quality, on time and cost-effectively.
  • Indian MEP consultancy firms conduct peer reviews, have a customised quality checklist or have automated software-based model checking.
  • Infrastructure
  • Overseas MEP consultancy firms house relevant hardware, software, printers, plotters, etc., thus saving this expenditure for Western firms.

The benefits for outsourcing 3D MEP coordinated drawings ultimately result in saving time and cost for Western construction firms. Skilled external partners, especially MEP consultants from India, as a single source can efficiently deliver MEP design and MEP coordination drawings, additional design, BIM activities and responsibilities, including MEP shop drawing services.

Benefits of Outsourcing VDC Services

Modern high-quality buildings require highly effective planning and execution. Virtual Design and Construction, or VDC, is an application or process which involves a plethora of digital tools of emerging technologies to help plan and effectively execute virtual building design. The VDC process may or may not include BIM modeling, but using BIM virtual construction technology and BIM models enables architects, engineers, clients and contractors to work collaboratively on a single model — at the same time within the gambit of VDC. Outsourcing VDC and BIM services produces cost-effective, accurate output on time using the right people and the right technology.

Blog -Benefits of Outsourcing VDC Services

Why outsource VDC services?

Overseas BIM services professionals are adept at working with teams of project planners during the phases of concept design, analysis of proposal requests and during construction. Ultimately, outsourcing VDC services using BIM processes increases efficiency and profitability. Here’s how:

  • Specific knowledge or expertise required by certain projects may not be available with the in-house team. Overseas BIM services firms can bring a varied and experienced talent pool into the project quickly and at minimal cost.
  • Experienced and technically qualified outsourced partners may be able to train in-house staff on relevant emerging technologies.
  • During tight delivery schedules, overseas firms can assign skilled BIM services experts to key project needs. More professionals are available and some can be dedicated to one client at a time, while others tackle emergency troubleshooting for other projects.
  • Outsourcing frees up in-house personnel to focus on other projects.

Other Benefits of VDC Outsourcing through BIM Services

Typically, BIM services firms provide field drawings and visualisations before construction begins. Expertise with Revit tools within a BIM workflow helps streamline design documentation, leading to greater productivity. Design changes in one system will automatically be updated throughout the model, cutting costs and reducing delays.

  • Overseas BIM services firms create 3D models and 4D views of clash-free coordinated models of architectural, structural and MEP disciplines. By using 5D BIM models, cost managers can decide the quantity of different components that are required.
  • BIM outsourcing firms help Western AEC firms retain more in-house professionals on site and provide information on keeping projects on budget.
  • BIM services firms provide 2D drafts, documents for review and building permits with minimal turnaround time. Use of Revit software allows changes to be made quickly, saving costs.
  • Advanced BIM technology helps avoid scheduling conflicts and delays with reliable coordination services. Proper coordination of MEP systems and the time for MEP components to be installed can lead to smooth workflows between service providers and other stakeholders, saving time, rework and money.
  • Visualising the installation of MEP systems in tight spaces and complex routes and identifying potential problem areas can be made easier with BIM software in a VDC environment, therefore keeping costs down.
  • BIM services firms maintain project records, helping with operations and maintenance throughout the project lifecycle. Access, upgrades and repair of MEP systems takes minimal effort.
  • Time management is a noticeable plus point to using overseas BIM service firms. While outsourcing BIM services, project managers can concentrate on logistics, costs and material flow, helping to make quick, sound decisions, saving extra costs and time.
  • BIM services help collaboration and coordination with detailed BIM models.

With a host of significant advantages to support the practice, outsourcing VDC and BIM services to overseas VDC companies is soon becoming a preferred option for AEC firms in the West, helping to save time and cost.

Has BIM Changed MEP Design Workflow?


BIM Influence on MEP Design Workflow

Critical to effective construction, MEP (M&E or mechanical, electrical, plumbing) design is both one of the key features of a structure and also the one design feature that most people don’t want to deal with, unless something goes terribly wrong with any particular aspect of it. This makes it all the more important to make MEP design as precise as possible. Over time, MEP design has improved and evolved in many ways, but with the arrival of BIM (Building Information Modelling) technology, MEP design has seen modifications in its workflow as well. The workflow of MEP design has been significantly influenced by BIM technology, specifically the roles of the MEP designer and the MEP contractor.

Has BIM Changed MEP Design Workflow

Currently, there are five different MEP design workflow scenarios that exist. They are as follows:

  1. Traditional 2D design and 3D BIM coordination
  2. 3D MEP design and 3D BIM coordination
  3. Designers 3D BIM design and coordination
  4. Contractor 3D BIM design and coordination
  5. General contractor 3D model coordination

It is the third workflow that Is becoming increasingly popular. Let’s look at why that is so.

Designers 3D BIM MEP Design and Coordination

This MEP design workflow method is a direct consequence of BIM and promotes the benefit of BIM more significantly, as it gets closer to the ‘virtual design and construction’ aims of the industry. In this workflow, the approach of the design engineer is to create a BIM model that is spatially coordinated, using the actual specified components for the project. Typically, the consultant during this phase will have more time to create the model, allowing him to absorb the changes from structural and architectural disciplines as they progress through the detailing stages. Since the model is then coordinated with the structure and architecture as well as other MEP services, the consultant can create a model according to installation standards and which is more usable by an installer or fabricator.

When the model in this workflow method is passed on to a contractor, the contractor may still wish to make final changes and adjustments in a round of value engineering. Typically, the contractor will use the same model in this workflow and make changes to the model provided by the MEP design consultant. Additionally, it is probable that the consultant engineer will not have provided invert (height) levels or dimensions from gridlines and walls for the MEP services on his drawings. In such cases the contractor will therefore have to create more detail in the drawings, but again, the contractor could use the consultant’s drawings and progress them in more detail for his/her use.

This design workflow will require competent BIM coordination and MEP modelling teams and resources. XS CAD, with its large MEP coordination team and MEP engineering design team, which consists of mechanical and electrical engineering professionals, is well placed to deal with such projects for companies based in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As all are regions where BIM is now the preferred solution, XS CAD, with more than 16 years’ experience and a presence in each market is an ideal option for such companies.

Architectural Design Drafting – Concept To Construction Documentation Stage

Architectural design drafting involves a process that is essential to construction, developed into a progression of stages, namely: Concept, Design, Design Development and Construction Drawing.

It was the architect Louis Kahn from Philadelphia who said that ‘architecture is the thoughtful making of space’. The thoughts, concepts and design that drives ‘the making of space’ constitute the framework of the architectural process. Architectural design drafting, or architectural drafting, involves a process of services that are essential to the creation of structures. This process has been developed into an established progression of stages, namely: Concept, Design, Design Development and Construction Drawing.

Blog - Architectural Design Drafting - Concepts to Construction Documentation Stage

Architecture has been both an art and science for thousands of years. It has evolved to embody certain standards of practice. Technology has contributed significantly to the development of these standards, while retaining basic principles. The prime objective is to design and construct a building that is well planned, which means that decisions will be taken, modified and changed throughout the course of the project, and CAD design services are used extensively to cater to these needs.

Examining the process and its stages helps understand its relevance to the current state of the industry.

Stage 1: Concept or Schematic

This first stage of the architectural design process is marked by information gathering and discussions. The architect and client discuss the project in detail and fully understand client requirements, such as budget, aesthetics, location and type of community. Information from the client, field surveys and other sources are assembled, discussed and contemplated in length. Architects research and analyse the site, paying attention to zoning and building codes. Programming begins and the client lists the spaces in the building. The architect then determines sizes, number of rooms, locations, construction material, sustainability and relationships between the listed spaces. All ideas are explored and considered. Generally, 3 or more design options are then provided for client consideration, based on the rooms and features required. These are presented as sketches.

A rough cost estimate may be provided for each option to help make more informed decisions. At this point, clients may ask for modified options and can even make major changes in design requirements. This stage is concluded by the selection of one of the design options. Typically, 15% of the architect’s fees and work is accounted for at this stage. The primary objective of this stage is to resolve the shape and size of the building, showing the basic plan. Also, the look and tone of the building is developed. Several sketches, plans and elevations are created and several meetings take place. Generally, the drawings are loose, hand-drawn at 1/8” = 1’-0” scale.

Stage 2: Design

In this second stage of the architectural design process, an initial design drawing is developed based on the discussions, site analysis, decisions and budget restrictions agreed on during the first stage. This design would show space provisions, planning relationships, proposed layouts based on site views, orientation and access. The design will show the intended concept and form of the building. Layouts will be developed into formal ‘sketch’ floor plans and 3D perspectives to represent the style of the building. As and when the client approves, reviews and comments on this design, further details will be added to the design, such as proposed materials, technical and functional features. For example, this could involve the representation of building sections, detailed dimensional plans showing door and window placement, proposed furniture layouts and building elevations.

Any significant services which could affect the design, such as solar panels, water tanks, etc. This process is likely to take some time, as communication will go back and forth till all parties arrive at a satisfactory outcome. Further review is made of the plans and budget and the scope of the project may be reduced. Conformity regarding rights of use and building restrictions, such as height restrictions, building lines, etc. of the site, will be reviewed. In case of larger projects, quantity surveyors can update earlier cost estimates and provide new cost estimates at this stage, depending on any changes to the initial design. These drawings can be in 2D and 3D, using computer-aided design software (such as AutoCAD).

Stage 3: Design Development

At this stage of the architectural design process, architects and clients work in collaboration to select a variety of materials, such as interior finishes, fittings, windows, doors, appliances, fixtures, etc. Drawings are revised with greater detail. Engineering plans will start, involving structure, plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation systems, energy analysis and other project-related systems. Towards the end of this stage of the design process, a significant part of the product selection and services and systems design should be completed. At the end of Design Development, both the interior and exterior design of the building is decided on by the architect and the client. A general contractor is hired.

With a fixed design in place, a permit is required. Following a series of lengthy review processes at municipalities, all required drawings for a building permit incorporating the full interior design of the project are created. Then, permit drawings and room layout drawings are produced and submitted to the relevant authorities. At this juncture, a detailed 3D model is produced to help finalise design decisions. The 3D model also helps the extensive coordination process with structural engineers, and the engineering, construction systems design and detailing of the project is completed. Changes updated at this time could include any increase or decrease of thermal protection materials, inclusion or removal of solar panels, rainwater harvesting and interior and exterior finishing. During this phase, architects generally complete 20% of their work and charge 20% of their fees.

Stage 4: Construction Documents

Once the final design is set, drawings, notes and technical specifications required for bidding, construction and permit applications are prepared. Blueprints are created. Further detailing, interior elevations and further material selection occurs during this stage. All technical and engineering design is finalised, namely structural engineering, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems, plumbing, electrical, gas, energy calculations. Other items included in Construction Documents (CD) are detailed foundation plans, roofing, layouts, window and door sizes, openings, flooring, cabinets, bedroom and kitchen detailing. All fixtures and materials are selected and scheduled. Multiple drawing sets are created. Filing sets for approval and a set of construction documents are produced.

Construction Documents can be customised so that an electrician receives drawings showing only electrical work and the concrete contractor may receive drawings for foundations and concrete work, so as to reduce on-site confusion, correctly price jobs and understand work responsibilities clearly. Generally, building services, plumbing, piping, wiring and HVAC systems are finalised and represented in the design. Structural details, such as roofing, internal and external walls, ceiling, tiling, are also included in these documents. All items are attached with detailed dimensions. Façade options also feature in these documents.

On acquisition of the permit or building approvals, the remaining documents are finalised and grouped together into a set of documents to construct the building. Designs of the approved design development documents are refined with construction details. The construction documents shall are refined. Final selections of products and materials take place. This phase is typically the longest and most expensive stage of the process, since most of the detailing and coordination takes place at this point. The Construction Documents stage in a project may be long, but it is also worthwhile, because working through this stage will distinguish barely planned projects from fully customised and elegant homes. During this stage, typically 40% of the architect’s work is completed and 40% of the fees will be charged.

The methodical completion of the architectural design stages help expedite and improve the finished quality of building projects. It is critical for design team members to understand the evolution of the architectural drafting and design process. This way, when a project is ready to be constructed, most of the financial and technical issues have been taken care of and delays are reduced or eliminated.

MEP Design & MEP Coordination Benefit from One Source

MEP Design & MEP Coordination Benefit from One Source

MEP Design & MEP Coordination Benefit from One Source

MEP (M&E) design and MEP coordination from the same source can be delivered faster, either through the MEP designer, who also executes MEP coordination, or with the MEP contractor, who also executes MEP design. The MEP designer or contractor concerned, therefore, must have additional skills to perform both functions and complete the workflow in its entirety.

So, what are MEP design and MEP coordination outputs?

MEP Design

MEP design outputs generally include providing mechanical, electrical, public health and fire protection building services design information (also known as building engineering and architectural engineering) by building services designers and consultants for all design stages. The design is typically delivered in BIM format and includes spatially coordinated models of HVAC, electrical, water supply and sanitation and fire protection design that contractors and installation teams can use for installation.

MEP Coordination

The above individual designs are incorporated and spatially organised to be install ready in the process known as MEP coordination. With Revit MEP, MEP engineers can determine spaces and zones and can use intelligent data which provides greater detail. Parametric tools will update automatically, and calculations are fast and easily analysed when designs change. The results are reported and shared across the entire project team. MEP coordination enables the creation of spatially coordinated building services drawings for construction and engineering projects. All building services (HVAC, pipework, public health and electrical systems) are also coordinated with other disciplines (steel, concrete, false ceilings, etc.). MEP coordination ensures that there are no clashes (validated using clash-detection software tools), provides models, prevents site-based delays and disputes, facilitates ease of communication and enables faster approval/sign-off.

Benefits of One Source for MEP Design & MEP Coordination

When MEP design and MEP coordination are delivered by either one designer or one contractor, benefits include ease of installation, commission and fabrication, savings on time and cost, thereby allowing procurement and installation to become easier to manage. The end products include coordinated and ready-to-install models and drawings.

Advantages with this workflow process are:

  • The BIM model is started and completed by the same firm, saving time and minimizing confusion.
  • The layout strategy (plant and main distribution) is adopted first, resulting in minimum changes.
  • Detailing (secondary distribution) is added after the architectural/structural designs are fixed, again saving time and minimizing errors.
  • Procurement information can be incorporated early in the design stage.
  • The designer/contractor can then issue a coordinated model.
  • It is easier, faster and less stressful to have a one-stop shop.

Ultimately, this workflow results in saving time and cost. Whilst MEP design and coordination services being delivered by a single source is desirable, the additional design and BIM activities and responsibilities for the same may well point to the support of skilled external partners to support the process.


Architectural Design Drafting & Rendering – an Overview

Architectural Design Drafting & Rendering – an Overview

Architectural design is at the heart of an efficient, liveable, man-made structure, the brain behind the brawn of building construction. One of the more important segments of architecture is the architectural design drafting process, when architectural drawings and renderings are created, which can later be developed into architectural models also. With expanding populations worldwide and growing housing and commercial requirements, there is an increased need for architectural design drafting and architectural rendering services. We take a broad look at the stages, software, concerns and profitable options.

Architectural design primarily follows a progression of stages, namely the Concept Stage, Schematic Design Stage, Design Development and Permissions Stage and the Construction Documents Stage. Here’s how they proceed:

Concept Stage

1. Parts of the design are assembled
2. Zoning and building codes are reviewed
3. Full code summaries and research design parameters are produced
4. Site research is conducted to decide solar angles and other site conditions
5. Client needs are understood in detail and sketched with proposed dimensions
6. Architects create and submit surveys, sketches, site plans, floor plans and elevations to the client

Schematic Design Stage

1. Decisions are taken on ideas for the location and to fit within budget
2. Several design options are sketched and loose drawings are made, regularly by hand.
3. Once approved, a schematic pricing set, which includes plans, sections, elevations is produced
4. Process is discussed, functions of the building are considered and diagrams are produced
5. Doors and windows are added schematically
6. Materials are discussed

Design Development and Permissions Stage

1. Schematic drawings are developed into permit or planning documents
2. Zone requirements are reviewed
3. Drawings are developed into 3D models
4. Coordination occurs with structural engineers to complete engineering work
5. Floor plans and elevations are assigned dimensions
6. Choices of wood, flooring, windows, locations of cabinets and appliances, assembly details and relevant code information is finalised
7. Trade, supplier and manufacturer recommendations are added to the drawing set and submitted to authorities for permits

Construction Documents

1. Once permits are obtained, documents for construction are finalised
2. MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) plans and foundation plans submitted by structural engineers are added
3. Increased coordination occurs
4. Drawings include extensive detail

A single software platform or a combination of platforms can be utilised for the design stages, namely:

Autodesk’s Revit BIM:
– 3D BIM models can be created from pre-construction concept stages to detailed construction stages

DIALux and Camel within the BIM format can be used for MEP engineering design, namely MEP design, MEP coordination, MEP drafting and MEP modelling.
– Mechanical, electrical, public health and fire protection building services design can be created for concept, schematic, design development, tender and construction stages.

Revit MEP and Navisworks for 3D building services coordination can be used to create:

– Coordinated Revit 3D models, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire services with other disciplines (steel, concrete, false ceilings, etc.)
– Coordinated MEP drawings of plant rooms, building risers, prefabricated corridors and ceiling modules

AutoCAD and AutoCAD MEP can help create:

– MEP CAD drawings, installation drawings and shop drawings

Revit Architecture and ArchiCAD for architectural CAD drafting services help produce:

– CAD design services, including construction drawing sets, CAD drawings
– Architectural CAD drafting, architectural CAD models, architectural photomontage creations and architectural rendering

SketchUp, 3ds Max, VRay, Lumion, Rhino 3D, Maxwell are user-friendly architectural rendering software tools that have a cache of 3D models of furniture, plants, trees, grass, etc.

-Helps develop final photo-realistic image that reflects design concepts and dimensions
– Includes shadows, shading, light sources, white model effect
– Shows depth of field, environment panel, sky setup – (sun, weather, clouds, fog, rainbow, atmosphere)
– Produces special effects, such as background panels, blend images, texture-mapping, bump-mapping, fogging/participating medium, reflection, transparency, opacity, translucency

Along with the appropriate software, certain key requisites vital for efficient architectural design are:

Right Resources

– Sufficient quantity of skilled human resources with recognised expertise using the above software tools, with the right technical qualifications, knowledge and experience
– Dedicated personnel for one project at a time

Expensive Software

– Updated software for all relevant personnel


– Each contributing project member must be extensively trained on possibly different software

Overseas Options

For either part of or the entire design process, the above-mentioned requisites can be sourced overseas, or outsourced. Outsourcing generates technically efficient architectural design at competitive rates. This is due to:
1. A large number of experienced and technically well-qualified teams
2. Budget-friendly overseas firms with 5-10 years’ architectural design and drafting experience
3. Revit BIM platform popularity overseas, leading to sound experience
4. Impressive certification, generally a minimum of ISO9001:2015

Architectural design drives successful project execution, and though several different software platforms can help deliver comprehensive design, other factors also contribute to project success. These factors are significantly impacted by outsourcing. Outsourcing delivers cost-effective, technically sound architectural drawings, models, computer-generated images and construction documents.