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Model Element Author (MEA) in BIM: who is it and which roles are covered?

Model Element Author (MEA) in BIM: who is it and which roles are covered?

The Model Element Author (MEA) in BIM, is the key figure responsible for developing a specific Model Element. Find out how important this role is.


In BIM, the informative model of a project becomes the digital twin of the work itself, that is, the work is made digitally before even actually.

It is clear that such a model will contain all the parts of the work (architecture, structure, systems, etc.) defined geometrically and from an informative point of view. There is a specific figure responsible for modeling the various elements: the Model Element Author (MEA).

In this article we will discover together what role it plays and what responsibility it has within the BIM.

Who is the MEA in BIM?

The MEA, acronym for Model Element Author, is one of the key figures within a BIM Project together with the “Project BIM Manager” and the “Discipline BIM Lead”.

The Model Element Author is the professional figure involved in the BIM process and responsible for the production of the information model of the work or parts of it.

Article 1 of The HAGUE Document E203-2013 defines the MEA as the entity or individual responsible for managing and coordinating the development of a specific Model Element based on the LOD  required in relation to the specific project milestone.

The figures that cover this role within a project delivery process can be more than one depending on the information model to be produced and the parts that will compose it. In general, the MEA disciplines are:

  • MEA Architecture;
  • MEA Structure;
  • MEA HVAC;
  • MEA Electrical;
  • MEA Fire;
  • MEA Hydraulic;
  • MEA Landscape;
  • MEA Civil;
  • etc.

Each Model Element Author is responsible for the production of its part of the information model, which must be produced on the basis of project specifications and on the basis of LOD requirements in relation to the various project phases.

Model Element Author (MEA) in BIM

Organizational structure of a BIM project

What are the MEA’s responsibilities in BIM?

The main responsibilities of the Model Element Author (MEA) are:

  • to analyse the BEP (BIM Execution Plan) in which it will identify all the information about the information model that it will have to produce, including the level of detail (LOD- Level of Development) that it will have to reach in the creation of its model;
  • develop the model or its elements of competence with a certain level of detail based on the specific design phase – concept design, preliminary design, developed design, detailed design, construction, operation;
  • communicate any issues or inconsistencies to all project participants.

What is the MEA schedule?

The Model Element Author schedule – also called Model Element Table in Article 3 of THE HAGUE Document G202-2013 – is a table that, based on the design specifications, assigns the modeling of the elements of the work to the various “authors” and defines the levels of detail to be achieved (LOD – Level Of Development) for that specific part of the model and in relation to the various design phases.

The MEA Schedule serves to plan and clarify the roles of modeling, it is therefore important that it is drafted carefully and agreed between the various parties involved in the design process.

To draw up this table accurately, it is necessary to be clear about the project, its modelling phases, the professionals responsible and the various LODs to be achieved.

The result of an accurate compilation is an efficient programming of the modeling that will lead to the production of a complete and multidisciplinary information model that will fully respond to the design specifications.

Below is an excerpt from a potential MEA Schedule in which you can appreciate the subdivision according to the different elements to be modelled (Model Element) to which a specific author and a specific LOD are assigned in relation tothe projectphase.

Model Element Author (MEA) in BIM

Example

This is precisely an excerpt from a MEA schedule, whose drafting would continue following this same programming methodology also for the rest of the model elements:

  • site;
  • sub-structure;
  • structure;
  • enclosure (building envelope);
  • internal partitions – horizontal and vertical (Interior);
  • MEP systems (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing);
  • fire protection systems;
  • etc.

What are the other key roles in the BIM organizational structure?

The other key roles of the BIM organizational structure are:

  • project BIM Manager;
  • BIM Lead disciplines.

The first figure, that the Project BIM Manager, is responsible for achieving the project objectives referred to the various BIM uses and to the project information requests.

Among the responsibilities of the BIM Manager, we find:

  • development of the BEP (BIM Execution Plan);
  • updating the BEP;
  • description of the various stakeholders;
  • constant updating of stakeholders to the BIM process;
  • problem solving in a timely and efficient manner;
  • development of the information model according to the requirements indicated in the BEP;
  • coordination of the federation of models;
  • assignment of roles and responsibilities for the resolution of hard clashes and soft clashes;
  • customer support and the development of the project in order to ensure compliance with BIM requirements and objectives.

Each discipline within a BIM project – architecture, structure, systems, etc. – should then have a BIM Lead in order to manage the BIM activity related to that single discipline.

Among the responsibilities of the Discipline BIM Lead we can identify:

  • collaborate in the drafting of the BEP;
  • participate in design review and model coordination meetings;
  • facilitate the use of the BEP within the work team;
  • ensure that the model is produced as indicated in the BEP;
  • indicate and validate the various LODs in relation to the various design phases;
  • perform checks on the model before it is shared;
  • communicate any problems to the Model Element Author;
  • implement internal coordination and clash detection and clash management procedures;
  • manage model transfer and version control;
  • manage BIM information in relation to individual disciplines.

Within a BIM process, nothing is left to chance and all the different roles involved, just like the Model Element Author, have clear roles and responsibilities.

Therefore, by working within a BIM process-based methodology, you’ll be able to appreciate much more efficiency in terms of productivity and quality, in comparison to the traditional approach to design. If you also want to check the benefits of implementing BIM with your projects, all you need to do is try the BIM software that best suits your area of interest free for 30 days!

 

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