Development of a Knowledge-Based System to Improve Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Coordination

ABSTRACT - CIFE: Center for Integrated Facility Engineering

Thomas M. Korman and C.B. Tatum

CIFE Technical Report #129

July, 2001

STANFORD UNIVERSITY - Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) coordination is a major challenge for complex buildings and industrial plants.  It involves locating equipment and routing connecting elements for each system using a process of sequentially comparing and overlaying transparent drawings of MEP systems on a light table to detect spatial interferences.  This multi-discipline effort is time-consuming, expensive, and requires knowledge regarding each system over the project life.

Currently, designers and constructors use tailored computer tools to design and fabricate MEP systems, but no knowledge-based computer technology exists to assist in the multidiscipline MEP coordination effort.  Effective MEP coordination requires recalling and integrating knowledge regarding design, construction, operations, and maintenance of each MEP system.

The research investigators believed that the use information technology could significantly improve the current process.  Hence, the purpose of this research was to develop a technology that integrates a number of knowledge bases – design criteria, construction, operations, and maintenance – into a knowledge-based system that is able to provide valuable insight to engineers and construction personnel, as well as assist them in resolving coordination problems for multiple MEP systems.