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Coordination Drawings: Keys to Hiring the Best Mechanical & Plumbing Coordinated Shop Drawing Firm


By: Richard A. Valentine, P.E.

First…what are Coordination Drawings?

Coordination-DrawingsIt is helpful to define some terms, since Coordination Drawings require a very specialized skill. MEP (Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing) Coordination Drawings are utilized in a commercial construction project to reduce conflicts between the different trades. Therefore, the subcontractors installing the duct work, piping, plumbing, electrical conduits & fire protection piping are coordinated on detailed MEP shop drawings such that the elevations and routing of each system does not interfere with each other. In addition, each trade is coordinated with the building Structural and Architectural such that there are no conflicts with the ceiling or structural members.

Once we establish the routing and elevations for the HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical & Fire Protection Piping, we create a composite coordinated shop drawing, which overlays all the services on one (1) main MEP coordinated shop drawing. Then, once approved and everyone signs off on the MEP coordinated shop drawings, each subcontractor creates their own detailed shop drawing (Duct Shop Drawings, Plumbing Shop Drawings, Fire Protection Shop Drawings, etc.).

Therefore, coordination drawings are an up-front planning tool that allows for the smooth installation of each trade such that the duct work & plumbing do not “clash” in the field when the subcontractors perform the installation. A good, professional coordination firm (such as Advantage Engineer Technologies, PLLC) that is proficient at this process can save the installing contractors several man-hours of labor in the field, and therefore maximize profits on the job. This is important because profits on construction projects these days are not easy to obtain due to the increased number of plumbing & HVAC subcontractors bidding on these projects.

Beware of cheap coordination firms.

The quality of the coordination drawing effort varies significantly, depending on the ability of the coordination firm. Some people try to save time and money by hiring fly-by-night drafters doing this type of work “on the side” while maintaining a full time job. The results are certainly less-than spectacular, and will always lead to more headaches as the coordination process unfolds. You will spend more time and effort coordinating over-and-over again, hence, delaying the project schedule, and angering the Owner, General Contractor, A/E firm, and the other MEP subcontractors.

For examples of great coordination drawing work, click here → Advantage Engineering. You can get several samples of HVAC, plumbing coordination drawings, MEP design drawings, piping drawings, piping fabrication and coordination drawings, sheet metal coordination drawings & coordinated ductwork shop drawings.

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