What Is MEP Engineering?

Learn what MEP engineering is, what purposes it is used for, and what it means in construction

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In construction, it is essential to estimate and consider all If you want to build a house to live in, you will need help from professional contractors. It is crucially important to calculate the number of materials needed and know how much the whole project will cost. And for sure, you have encountered the MEP construction term many times during the preparatory work before starting the project.

Today, we will explain what MEP means in construction. You will learn what this abbreviation stands for and what this term consists of. Also, we will tell you what MEP means in the construction and what benefits it has. Finally, you will learn what common MEP engineering services exist and what problems MEP engineering solves.

 What Does MEP Mean In Construction?

Let’s start with the definition of the MEP abbreviation. In construction, MEP means “mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.” In fact, MEP engineering can be considered the science of planning, designing, and managing the plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems of a building. 

Engineers confer for the implementation of the MEP project
By vista.com

When you are about to start any construction project (no matter what exactly you are going to build), you should hire an MEP design company. They specialize in plumbing, electricity, and mechanics, which makes them essential across all stages of the construction process. They will assist with decision-making, cost estimation, construction administration, as well as documentation, building management, and building maintenance.

Note that MEP systems are very important for any building! In fact, they serve as a building’s central nervous system, being responsible for the comfort features of a structure no matter its size and height. MEP systems make a building comfortable to live in and pleasant to stay in. And, of course, they ensure the whole building is safe and functional. When all MEP aspects are considered and taken care of, the building is comfortable and safe to stay in.

What Does MEP Construction Term Consist Of?

Now you know the basic definition of the MEP term and its overall purpose in construction. However, we would like to take a closer look at each aspect of it, such as plumbing, electricity, and mechanics, to see what it is responsible for. This way, you will get a better idea of what MEP is about.

  • The mechanical design elements include the heating and cooling systems in particular. Thanks to them, we can comfortably stay inside these buildings in any temperature and weather conditions.
  • The electrical system in a building keeps the lights on, keeps our devices charged, and helps the other systems work. Architectural lighting design and plans are crucial components of the electrical engineering process.
  • Plumbing systems provide fresh water for drinking, cleaning, washing, and more. And they take sanitary wastewater away safely.

Most often, an MEP engineering firm is hired to provide its service for large commercial or institutional projects since the scale of these buildings requires extensive planning and execution. In particular, an MEP firm can be helpful during the construction of office buildings, stadiums, schools, or hospitals. But basically, consulting engineering can be used anywhere, on buildings of any size, on any piece of real estate.

What Are the Common MEP Engineering Services?

MEP engineering provides a wide range of services for construction purposes. However, in real life, most MEP engineering companies provide only a set of the most essential services. Then they just augment those basic services with special ones such as architectural lighting, commissioning, sustainability, or energy management.

The top services an MEP firm might provide include the following:

Mechanical Engineering / HVAC Engineering

  • Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Systems
  • Central Plant Design
  • Exhaust Systems
  • Direct Digital Control (DDC) Systems
  • Chilled Water Systems
  • Heating Water Systems

Electrical Engineering

  • Comprehensive Electrical System Design
  • Onsite Power Generation Requirements and Distribution
  • Critical Power Systems
  • Integration of IT and AV Into Overall Building Design
  • Device Coordination and Arc Fault Services
  • Lightning Protection Systems
  • Fire Alarm Systems

Plumbing Engineering

  • Domestic Cold and Hot Water Systems
  • Domestic Waste and Vent Systems
  • Fuel Gas Piping Systems
  • Storm Water Systems
  • Performance Specification of Automatic Sprinkler Systems
  • Water Conservation Systems

Energy Management

  • Geothermal Heat Pump Systems
  • Chilled Beam Systems
  • Displacement Ventilation
  • Dedicated Outside Air Systems
  • Underfloor Air Distribution Systems
  • Thermal Storage Systems
  • Energy Recovery
  • Free Cooling Systems
  • Utility Monitoring

Lighting Design

  • Architectural Lighting Plan Design
  • Life Cycle Cost Benefit & ROI analysis
  • Dark Sky Compliance and Ordinance Coordination
  • Illuminance Calculations
  • Color Temperature Analysis
  • On-site Lighting Mock-Ups
  • On-site Aiming and Adjustments
  • Custom Lighting Design
  • International Design and Lighting Specifications
  • Lighting Control Design
  • Renderings and Other Lighting Visualization Techniques

Communication Technologies

  • Voice, Data, and Video Integration
  • Security and Alarm Systems Integration
  • Audio/Visual System Design


  • Design Stage Reviews
  • Functional Testing
  • System Documentation

Sustainable Design

  • Sustainability designs that are cost-effective
  • Alternative Energy
  • Energy Conservation Technologies
  • Energy Modeling
  • LEED Consulting

Since all these services require precise calculations and measurements, many engineering firms use 3D modeling and other tools to optimize their product engineering and provide the most accurate data.

What Issues and Problems Does MEP Engineering Solve In Construction?

Since MEP engineering takes care of so many nuances and factors that the process of building construction consists of, it is evident that MEP mechanical engineering companies can solve or improve quite many problems or issues connected with building:

  • They optimize operational and maintenance practices
  • They can minimize construction costs
  • They help lowering energy costs
  • Provide oversight and integration of different systems and different contractors
  • They help to improve lighting
  • They improve the building’s aesthetics
  • They help to ensure design integrity
  • Improve heating and cooling
  • Help you meet environmental requirements
  • Improve the environmental performance of the building
  • Solve water/plumbing issues
  • Assist with water conservation
  • Help with energy conservation
  • Can offer energy recovery solutions
  • Help with automating building systems
  • Maximize long-term value

This is why it is recommended to hire a reliable and trustworthy MEP engineering firm to supervise the construction process properly.

The Benefits of MEP Engineering

Speaking of MEP engineering, it comes with a pool of benefits for anyone responsible for the construction of a building or involved in it. Also, MEP offers certain perks for those who will use that building in the future. Those who benefit from using MEP are

  1. Architects
  2. Construction managers
  3. Contractors
  4. Federal, State, and Municipal governmental agencies
  5. Hospitals and healthcare organizations
  6. Industrial and commercial companies
  7. Land and property developers
  8. Private individuals

Also, the benefits of using MEP consulting are multiple, extending far beyond those involved in constructing a building. In the table below, you can see the benefits different stakeholders receive when MEP engineering is employed on a construction project.

  1. Quality assurance
  2. Design intent assurance
  3. Collaboration
Owners of the building
  1. Cost savings
  2. Energy Efficient Facility
  3. Quality assurance
Construction firms
  1. Quality assurance
  2. Construction assurance
  3. Collaboration
  1. Safety
  2. Comfort
  3. Reliability
  4. Aesthetics
Community Residents
  1. Aesthetics
  2. Value
  3. Safety
  4. Comfort

How to Choose a Good MEP Engineering Firm

Since MEP engineering is so essential for any construction project, you must be sure you hire a trustworthy and reliable firm that will be providing you MEP services on all stages of the building construction. But this is exactly the spot where people stumble since they usually don’t have a clear idea of how to choose a good MEP engineering firm.

To help you out, we will explain what to consider when choosing the right MEP engineer or firm for your construction project.

Ability to Meet Deadlines

In construction, meeting deadlines is a non-negotiable factor. Before hiring an MEP firm, ensure it has the necessary resources and qualified staff to meet your project needs. Ask them to tell you more about their project management approach, scheduling systems, and ways they account for deadline changes.

Check If the Firm Is Able To Deliver Within Budget

People often expect it to be given that their MEP firm will stay within budget. However, we recommend you ask your potential MEP engineering firm about their history of keeping projects within budget. 

In particular, ask them to explain why they had to change orders. For sure, there is never a perfect project, but knowing a history of projects completed within budget can help you understand how your project will go.

What About the Communication Skills of Their Engineers?

Engineers are not considered the most social people, but the ability to communicate with clients, owners, and the rest of the construction team is of utmost importance. Make sure your MEP engineers have expertise in verbal, written, and video communication. 

Ensure the Engineers Are Creative and Innovative

Engineers should be able to think creatively. So don’t be afraid to ask your MEP engineer to give examples of how they have solved problems similar to yours in the past. Also, ask what they would do if that weren't an option. You need to see how they think through the problem to develop innovative solutions.

Now you know more about the MEP engineering term. We explained what this abbreviation means and what benefits it brings to the building construction process. Now you know what spheres MEP engineering consists of and what purpose each of those spheres serves. Also, we explained who can benefit from using MEP engineering and why it is important that you hire a professional and trustworthy firm to provide this kind of service. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible To Build A Home Without Hiring An Mep Engineering Firm?

Hiring an MEP engineer ensures your building will be good-looking but also safe and functional. So we don’t recommend you neglect their service!

What Are Mep Design Costs?

It all depends on the complexity, scope, and type of project. Generally, it’s from $0.5 to $3 per square foot for residential housing. The MEP drawing services start from $2,500 per 5,000 sq. ft.

How Much Does It Cost To Get An Engineering Drawing?

In general, you can expect an engineer's hourly fee to be between $100 and $120 per hour.

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