Prefabricated Mechanical Electrical & Plumbing (Prefab MEP) systems are MEP components and equipment that are integrated into a sub-assembly off-site and then installed on site.
Why use prefabricated MEP
- Increased construction productivity– Using prefabricated MEP systems can achieve time savings of up to 60%.
- Improved workplace safety– As most works are done off-site, the time spent on-site working at height is reduced.
- Improved environmental performance– Dust and noise pollution is minimised on-site.
- Higher quality control and quality assurance– Improved quality of MEP assemblies as the components and equipment are assembled in a controlled factory environment.
What to consider when using prefabricated MEP
- Identification of areas suitable for prefabrication– Project stakeholders should come together to identify areas within the development that are suitable for prefabrication. Adopting prefab MEP in areas with a higher density of MEP services (e.g. near service cores, near MEP plants) will bring about higher productivity gains.
- Early involvement of contractors and MEP specialists– The early involvement of contractors and specialists in the coordination of MEP services will allow more time for optimising service distribution.
- Site/project management – As the modules of prefab MEP systems can be quite bulky and heavy, the project team should plan suitable delivery routes and lifting equipment right from the start. A Just-in-Time (JIT) approach to module delivery to site will also facilitate efficient installation.
- Maintenance, replacement and renovation– The maintenance of prefabricated MEP installations will not vary much compared to the conventional MEP installations. Basic maintenance considerations (e.g. location & orientation of valves, working space for maintenance activities) will need to be incorporated into the design before the modules are fabricated. For more information, please refer to BCA’s Design for Maintainability checklist.
Compliance to Regulation
- Code of Practice– The installation of prefab MEP systems must comply with the Code of Practice relevant to each system. Project stakeholders are reminded to ensure such compliance, and any deviations should be brought up, discussed, and approved by the relevant authority prior to work being done.
Figure 1: Prefabricated sub-assemblies (Photo Courtesy of Gammon Pte. Ltd)
Figure 2: Prefab MEP continuum (Photo courtesy of Georg Fischer, Balfour Beatty and Voltas)