What is an MEP? And how will it affect your Building Permit w/ City?

What exactly is an MEP , short for  Mechanical-Electrical and Plumbing, and what does it have to do with your Building Permit with the city or town?

MEP –  MEP stands for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering. 

These three technical fields cover the systems that make buildings habitable for humans. MEP installations are normally designed together, due to the high degree of interaction between them. This combined approach also prevents equipment location conflicts – clashes are a common problem when mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are designed in isolation.- Michael Tobias ( Nearby Engineers)

Lets simplify this into Laymen's terms by using a simple story.

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                A few years ago, I was the architect for a very large remodel of a very established Arlington church. The buildings were completed over a time frame of 75 years. 

              We started the process by having meetings with all the leaders in the church and the church staff. A major element of the work involved demolishing interior areas of the original 1946 building. There was a lot of discussion of what needed to happen for the new space program and functions of the spaces. At one point I asked a question as to how the architect/ engineer (AE) team was suppose the handle the MEP portion of the project. The Senior Pastor of the church said..,” Terry, what is an MEP?” This was received with a bit of laughter, but I explained to him it was the Mechanical (HVAC), Electrical and Plumbing systems of the building. He immediately understood that the MEP of a building was critical to the functionality of the new spaces to be created. He was correct.
          The Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing or MEP systems of a building are vital to the function and long-term viability of a building. Those systems must be engineered correctly if a building is to be utilized properly in the 21st century. The energy uses and sustainability of the building are directly linked to the design of the MEP systems. The great majority of architects hire a consulting engineer to create, design and detail these various systems within the building. The Mechanical system or HVAC system must be designed to keep the occupants of the building spaces within a range of comfort for temperature, humidity, and air quality. The Electrical system must provide the proper levels and quality of light depending on the use of a room. The Electrical system must also provide the power for lights, mechanical components, and equipment in the building. The Plumbing system must provide water delivery, waste elimination, fixtures for human use, water heating and water conditioning. The Plumbing system also usually provides for the removal of storm water from the roof. Each of these systems must meet a certain legal code standard to pass city review and inspection. 
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The consulting professional engineer charged with designing the MEP portion of a building has a major task. Input from the owner and architect is vital to assure that the systems will meet the requirements for the future occupants of the building for decades to come. 

The architect must also be involved in some of these decisions, so the AE team must have information on the MEP budget, efficiency expectation, energy use anticipated, sustainability requirements, equipment to be used and occupant functions. For an average office building there will be hundreds of decisions made by the AE team during the final MEP design. It is vital to have the MEP systems engineered to meet as many of the criteria and requirements as possible. The best building designs will have MEP systems that meet the requirements of the owner and the budget as well as keep the wellbeing of the occupants a top priority. 


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