Keywords: architects, engineers, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, MEP engineering, structural engineering, building systems, building services, energy systems design, integrated design process, IDP, architectural education, engineering education
The architect–MEP engineer disconnect
In this era in which many building industry professionals extol the benefits of integrated design teams, the rift between some engineers and architects persists that impedes the design and construction of high performing and ecologically sound projects. Books, articles and innumerable jokes have been written about the frequently troubled relationship between the two professions, but few have delved into the differences in their thinking and training that have lead to communication problems around the table, and none have focused the disconnection that can occur when designing energy systems in particular. This paper will argue that the relationship between architects and mechanical and electrical engineers, or MEP engineers, is substantially different from the relationship between architects and structural engineers, and that both disciplines need to adjust their modes of communication in order to design more energy efficient and environmentally sound buildings.