In 2013, I was interested in attending a computational design conference. I looked over the agenda, speakers, and other details and I realized that other than one structural engineering company, no other design consultants were involved with this computational design conference. In particular, I was interested in the following question:
What does computational design for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems look like?
The term "computational design" is very similar to other computationally heavy uses of computing for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. This includes generative design, computational building information modeling (BIM), and the visual scripting features of Dynamo by Autodesk. If you look at the professional practices that characterize these terms, I think you'll still find that architecture and, to a lesser extent, structural engineering, dominate computational design. Even today, where are the computational or generative uses of BIM being applied to MEP systems?
We all need to work to promote the use of computational and generative design in the MEP trades. MEP systems, in our experience, account for between 15% and 85% of the building cost. They are also a very large contributor to non-elective change orders on projects. MEP systems are important and we think it is crucial to implement computational and generative design in MEP, both to reduce cost and to improve efficiency in the design process.
If this thinking resonates with you, check out our webinar, "Getting Started With Dynamo & GenMEP." In this webinar, we discuss autorouting with GenMEP and how Dynamo can be used with GenMEP to automate MEP workflows.