When it comes to construction projects, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) systems represent most of the project budget for component layout, renovations and infrastructure upgrades. To ensure high performing building systems, it is very important to choose the right MEP engineering firm for guaranteed project success that fits withing your technical and financial objectives. MEP engineers offer a variety of services, to obtain the best outcome for your building, you must first understand the service level you need. It is recommended to schedule an interview with the MEP engineering firm to discuss about the project needs before moving ahead.
To ensure you pick the right MEP engineering firm, lets dive into everything you need to know before you make a decision. This ultimate guide will provide you with a checklist which will help you understand the kind of services you need during the interview.
1) Talk to MEP Designers as well as Project Managers
- Meet and discuss with the design and management team that will be working on the project. Learn and understand about the tasks to be performed according to the plan, and the involvement and impact of each of them throughout the project. During this stage, usually, your first contact will be with one of the executives of the marketing team. You will then be referred to the corresponding Project Manager or Lead Engineer.
- Its beneficial if the Project Manager is also a Lead Engineers, since they can provide better leadership being more familiarized with the project details. This will ultimately lead to improved project outcome.
2) Discuss Quality Management Process
- Many companies claim to have a strong quality management program, but most of them fall short. An effective quality management process should begin with a proposal which can be considered during every step of the project, from design to construction.
- You can ask for a list of quality control procedures for each position when in doubt. MEP engineering team who take quality management and control seriously, these documents and frequently reviewed and updated by the team.
3) Ask for Contractor Feedback
- Having multiple positive and unbiased comments from several contractors and developers speaks well about the MEP engineers. A qualified engineering team can assist you in managing the contractor relationship better, since all the design drawing and documentation are well understood.
- You can even ask for a list of trade subcontractors who have worked with your MEP consultants previously and call them for reference. Trades coordination is much easier when a project is designed and specified by professionals.
4) Discuss about Previous MEP Design Work with Frequent Clients
- If a MEP engineering firm has frequent clients, it clearly indicated the effectiveness and efficiency of performance and work ethics. You can reach out to these clients for reference. An even better sign would be if your MEP engineering team has clients that exclusively work with them. This can be in the form of a long-term contract.
- An ongoing business relationship can help you manage your building projects better, since the MEP engineers will be already familiarized with the installations and procedures. Hiring different MEP firm for every project is less efficient.
5) Ask for an Inspection for a Renovation Project
- MEP engineers should always check for the present conditions of the building MEP systems. If the existing documents have inaccuracies, the systems would require an extensive field verification. MEP engineers can offer more insights in such cases before a renovation project even begins.
- Engineers must also verify if the current MEP system conditions are as accurate as the design in order to prevent future possible issues. An engineer from every trade must visit the site to review and inspect the corresponding system, as they are the ones who will create a solution.
6) Discuss on Acceptable Level of Change Orders
- It is not ideal for both, the building owners and the MEP engineering team, to have a change order before the project is finished. However, avoiding change orders in all projects is unlikely. MEP engineers must strive intensively to avoid change orders. This also ensure their commitment towards all kinds of projects. You can ask for what measures are followed for preventing change orders.
- MEP system drawings must be properly coordinated. The engineering team can use Building Information Modeling (BIM) for accomplishing a proper layout with efficient functioning. Accurate cost estimation is also important and the documents must specify possible cost change for materials.
7) Discuss Construction Administration Services After MEP Design
- Construction Administration services are essential for a successful completion of project. If the MEP engineering firm provides construction administration services also, the communication between the design team and contractor is greatly improved. Hiring a different firm for administration purposes might be less efficient, and also lead to project delays and extra costs.
- Ask MEP engineers how they proceed when a contractor has not followed the drawings and specifications. The engineers must clarify the design, consider the contractor’s inputs, and come to a point of mutual agreement for building consensus. This will lead to efficient work relations between both parties