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What is the difference between BIM and MEP?

BIM and MEP: what are they and how do they differ? Here’s what you need to know to improve your skills in the construction world

Have you already heard the two terms BIM and MEP but don’t quite understand what they mean? Would you like to understand more about what they refer to? Here’s what you need to know about the differences between BIM and MEP.

Let me just start off by explaining that BIM is a collaborative working methodology applied to the construction industry, whereas MEP refers to three-dimensional plant modeling, which will end up being part of the BIM model.

Before going into the actual details, I recommend you to take a look at a BIM software solution for MEP systems design. You’ll soon be able to see how it can radically improve your design workflow.

The difference between BIM and MEP

First of all, before addressing the differences between BIM and MEP, let’s see what these two acronyms mean.

What is BIM?

The term BIM refers to Building Information Modeling (or Model), it’s the process that allows specialistic disciplines to create 3D models of buildings or infrastructures integrated with large sets of information.

This methodology allows construction sector professionals (such as architects, engineers, etc.) to obtain a container of fundamental data for the management of a given project or works.

This information covers all aspects of the building (structural, architectural, plant engineering, energy performance, etc.) and allows you to manage the building from the early stages of design to the final stages of its demolition and disposal.

Unlike common belief, BIM is not a simple software (or multiple software) providing tools for you to create 3D digital models of building assets. It’s a process that enables construction industry professionals to optimise resources (time and money) throughout the entire life cycle of the building, also improving coordination and collaboration methods between AEC professionals.

To learn more about this topic, you can also read one of our past articles, “What’s BIM for and who should be using it“.

Image that schematizes all aspects of BIM

What BIM is for

What is MEP?

MEP modeling (or design) deals with the management of these three main areas of plant engineering. These are typically:

  • Mechanical systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing.

This model type, in combination with all the other disciplines (architectural, structural, etc.), allows the design team to get a complete vision of the entire building. The advantages are obvious being able to:

  • plant design optimization by evaluating system dimensions and spaces directly in the 3D model
  • reduction and resolution of any interferences with the BIM and MEP design coordination
  • improved collaboration and shared data flows between different the professionals
  • speeding up of project delivery

For extra info concerning these topics, you can read this interesting article too: “Integrated BIM-MEP design: processes, advantages and solutions.


What is MEP

The difference between BIM and MEP

At this point, the difference between BIM and MEP is quite clear.

While BIM is a process that incorporates the different areas of the construction industry, MEP is purely focussed on the plant engineering aspects.

This basically means that MEP is a subset of BIM. In fact, MEP is a specific part of the design process that, when combined with the other disciplines (architectural, structural model, etc.), contributes to defining the entire BIM process.

Schematization of the main Differences between BIM and MEP models

Difference between BIM model and MEP models