May 27, 2014 Boston Society of Architects // BIM Roundtable  featured a talk by Construction Management project teams from Skanska and Consigli  who implemented a modularized MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)  system on a biopharma project for Novartis in Cambridge.   The system, ringing each floor supplied utilities in predetermined pathways. The HVAC ductwork, plumbing pipe runs and electric conduit were fabricated in segments in an assembly area, shipped to the job,  welded together while on the floor. They were then tested and finally lifted up to their overhead locations encased in a system with racks and hoops.
Trade partners involved were “co-located” for 9 months and worked together on layouts, shop drawings and assembly drawings.  Different unionized trades including sheet metal workers, ironworkers, plumbers and electricians came to figure out allocations of work during the process.

The Construction manager had a large space where 30 people provided assembly services. Instead of working on ladders in cramped overhead areas, the assemblers worked on the ground, sometimes in chairs. There was a separate room for welding, so that could be done in a separately vented area.

COMMENTARY

Putting things together before lifting them into place overhead only makes sense.  Building information modeling and lean practices make working this way preferable.

There is not harmony among the software products used by various players.  The parties work together better than their various software packages do.