Parallel vs. Sequential cascading MEP coordination strategies: A pharmaceutical building case study

Ghang Lee, Jonghoon Walter Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


We analyze the impact of parallel vs. sequential design coordination strategies on coordination productivity and information sharing. Previous studies have shown how building information modeling (BIM) could improve interorganizational design coordination between architecture, structure, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) components of buildings (MEP coordination, for short) and thus improve the quality and efficiency of a design and construction project in terms of the reduced numbers of errors and requests for information. This paper presents a unique case where two MEP coordinators were hired for a BIM-assisted project, which was a pharmaceutical company headquarters office building in Silver Spring, Maryland. The first coordinator coordinated MEP designs concurrently with other trades, whereas the second coordinator coordinated MEP designs step-by-step in a sequential process. The results of our analysis showed that the two different coordination processes largely affect the number of clashes in the first run of clash detection, coordination meeting time and efficiency, ease in finding root causes of the clashes, and number of coordination cycles to complete the coordination. As such, the sequential coordination strategy was about three times faster than the parallel strategy in terms of coordination productivity. A further examination of these two processes from an information-sharing perspective showed that the sequential coordination process reduces the concentration of information, thus reducing the overload of a coordinator with decision-making tasks, and facilitates information sharing between heterogeneous project participants. The findings of this study have potential as a basis for future development of BIM-based MEP coordination best practices and strategies as well as providing the metrics for understanding, measuring, and predicting the performance of BIM-based MEP coordination and strategically planning the coordination process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( 13AUDP-C067817-0 ) from the Architecture & Urban Development Research Program funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Korean government. We would like to thank DPR Construction for its help and support.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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