Benefit-cost metrics for design coordination of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in multistory buildings

David R. Riley, II, Priya Varadan, Jennifer S. James, H. Randolph Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (SciVal)


Design coordination of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems in buildings is a multidisciplinary effort to locate equipment, route distribution systems, and resolve interferences between systems that can cause field conflicts. Absent from existing research are defined metrics of design coordination - how much it costs to perform depending on project variables, and the true costs of field conflicts that are eliminated by coordination. This research was performed to explore the costs of design coordination in concert with the benefits of eliminating coordination conflicts that arise in the field. A standard method to measure costs of coordination is developed for case study projects. Potential variables that affect this cost are evaluated, and the negative impacts of field conflicts are measured. Project variables that have strong relationships with coordination costs are identified to be MEP density [MEP cost/square foot (SF)], and plenum height, and exploratory models to predict coordination costs using these variables are presented. Three distinct types of coordination conflicts are identified with measurable increasing impacts and cost. These results help to quantify the level of effort needed to coordinate building systems, and help to provide a basis for detecting projects that are likely to have problematic MEP coordination processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-889
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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