With the potential to reduce waste, mitigate rework, speed up onsite installation, and save on cost & time, prefabrication has been a potential innovation in the AEC industry. This form of construction can be applied for various project types viz. Residential, Commercial, Airports, Hospitality, etc. but it is preferably effective for Healthcare Projects that need quick and efficient building. It has been implemented successfully in every building system viz. Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing.
What is the meaning of Prefabrication MEP
In its simplest definition, prefabrication is the process of manufacturing and assembling building components or systems in a controlled environment or offsite. Prefabricated modules or panels can be retrofitted with MEP components like electrical fittings, HVAC systems, and various plumbing fixtures based on accurate 3D BIM models or fabrication drawings.
What is the difference between Conventional building and Prefabrication?
With conventional building methods for MEP, various processes are carried out, and steps are taken wherein various project stakeholders or specialists bring in ideas and skills to the table during the project. This requires coordinating multiple teams under uncontrolled conditions that can cause challenges like labor productivity, weather problems, unsafe working environment, heavy onsite traffic, and leveraging high-quality construction. All these issues can cause a lot of unnecessary project overruns for time and cost.
Furthermore, MEP prefabrication is an optimum solution to conventional building methods. This can be validated through processes, people, and technology to build prefabricated components or panels in a controlled offsite environment, where these modules can be designed, manufactured, and tested for onsite installation.
What are the various types of MEP Fabrication Modules?
Prefabricated components – consist of pipes, sprinklers, cables, air-conditioning ducts, and plastic piping
Prefabricated Sub-assemblies –consist of vertical riser modules, horizontal ceiling panels, gas systems, water supply, and return pipes, HVAC ductwork, light fixtures, etc.
Prefabricated Sub-Assemblies with Architectural and Structural Components – consist of platform-based riser modules, ceiling boards on horizontal modules, & MEP modules connected to catwalks.
Fully Integrated Assemblies– consist of prefabricated MEP modules preassembled with various building instruments, HVAC systems, electrical panels, interfaces, etc. that includes air conditioning units, water services, cooling towers, chillers, etc.
What is the procedure for MEP Prefabrication?
The prefabrication process is broken down into 3 phases viz.
In this phase, MEP engineers build designs of components or systems with the help of MEP engineers. The drawings required for this phase are – Design Drawings, Coordination Drawings, Production Drawings, and Material Submission. Once the drawings are approved, they are sent to the manufacturing phase.
In this phase, project stakeholders like fabricators and contractors are involved in the procurement of materials, module prefabrication, and quality checks.
In this phase, project stakeholders involved are general contractors and subcontractors. The onsite assembly process consists of the following steps viz. visual inspection of the modules, moving the modules to the right location, marking module positions, installing and connecting the modules, and testing them.
What are the benefits of Prefabrication?
The benefits of Prefabrication can be listed as follows –
- Quick Project Completion
- Right use of skilled labor for greater productivity
- Quick and easy installation
- Working in a controlled environment
- Reduced onsite traffic
- Cost savings based on reduced rework, material waste, and time savings
- Low carbon footprint due to reduced noise, dust, and construction waste
- Better building quality based on high-quality materials and design
The Healthcare industry will consider Prefabrication as a crucial process to build quick and efficient Healthcare Facilities for better patient comfort and healthcare performance. Project stakeholders can leverage greater cost and time savings based on reduced rework, faster turnaround times, mitigated material waste, etc.