Since the days of ancient Greece and Rome, the concept of stadium has evolved rapidly. Modern stadium projects are often designed considering integration of sustainable features, enhanced occupant comfort and lighting capabilities. This is ideally due to the high investment involved to make prestigious, short-term sporting events a success. While there’s a huge responsibility on the shoulders of architects and structural engineers to bring such complex building structure to life; a larger, more challenging part also involves designing and integrating MEP systems.
The differences in a regular building and a stadium in terms of designing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, is what makes the need of coordination critical for MEP teams to remain efficient in their design and installation processes & this is achievable through BIM.
MEP Challenges for Stadium
The very first step for such a large facility construction is to account for the very acute requirement of illumination and coordinating it with the aesthetics of the facility. Also, specifically for MEP coordination in sports facility which has varying occupancy, open area (sometimes retractable roofs), unusual space (circular, oval, etc.) the place is always fluctuating in temperature and lighting conditions. This is where MEP component layout varies largely from general purpose construction works and requires dedicated efforts.
However, the challenge doesn’t lie in understanding the mechanical and electrical components but the detailed coordination among them. It needs undivided attention to look at how the space will be occupied and accordingly adjust the air flow to maintain varying temperature. Thermostats, receptacles, light switches etc. cannot interfere with wall coverings for aesthetics.
Coordination of facility layout with structural and architectural designs along with class of spectator seats, turf requirements etc. require concentrated attention from professionals of various disciplines. In addition to this, accommodating HVAC equipment in general purpose rooms and arrangement of power supply for multiple floodlights over the entire stadium built up ask for dedicated efforts from MEP engineers right from the beginning.
Plumbing design plays a huge part in stadium design. The biggest difference in designing plumbing for a sporting facility and a regular commercial or hospital building is accommodating toilet facilities. In a normal facility, everyone would not use rest room at the same time, while in a sporting event, it is extremely opposite. There’s a possibility that 50% of the occupant within the stadium may hit rest room at a time within a 30-minutes period. This makes water supply and drainage critical.
Geography is of utmost important too and requires varying the overall stadium design. For instance, English football stadium varies a great deal in architecture from a French, Spanish or Italian stadium. These differences arise due to different climatic conditions, traditions and practices. In order to suite the architecture; MEP layout, roof, entrance of the facility and other design elements thus varies from one location to other.
BIM to Address MEP Challenges
BIM tools like Revit collaborates and coordinates the design prepared by professionals from various discipline and brings it on an integrated platform to accommodate MEP layout well. This essentially enables the professionals to work over a shared environment keeping an organized information flow.
Alongside, when a facility is being erected, the designs that have been finalized, they may or may not comply with MEP layout as planned.
While sorting such inconsistencies during construction maybe harmful, building contractors can utilize NAVISWORKS to solve and mitigate the effect of clashes and integrate MEP designs well in advance.
With changing MEP components and layout needs, the duct work designs, fabrication and laying them across the facility also changes. Each discipline brings a different design on table and gives a strong call in understanding each design to bring out efficient solution. To meet a fully coordinated system, proper setting of MEP components according to the facility operations, MEP engineers with BIM, put collective efforts in meeting the end-user needs for decades.
Along with coordination, some other burning issues for MEP fraternity, is to develop a low energy consumption MEP layout. Sustainability issues are being more focused on by the construction authorities, especially for sports facilities that has large and widespread built ups. For one explicit example, Allianz Arena in Munich has installed about 380,000 LEDs to illuminate a circular façade of the facility. This project by Philips is 60% more efficient than the conventional lights. Through energy modeling solutions obtained by eQuest, achieving such reduction in energy consumption is possible.
MEP designs for stadiums demand a more collaborative approach with architectural and structural disciplines. BIM is efficient for clash-free design and installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in a complex stadium construction. Through BIM, it is possible to develop impressive venues on relatively limited budget that offer maximum level of comfort and safety to occupants and players alike. Utilizing tools for clash detection and energy consumption further helps in keeping the overall stadium design energy-efficient and cost-effective throughout the building lifecycle.