Engineering blog
06 Jun 2022

What are the Different Types of MEP Drawings?

Companies draft and utilize MEP drawings, which are part of architectural construction documentation, to ensure the smooth, safe and timely completion of a project. These shop drawings incorporate civil, architectural, and structural components that make the construction process a lot easier.

In this article, we will discuss the different types of Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) drawings and why they are the backbone of construction projects.

The Role of MEP Drawings

When planning the construction of a building, MEP shop drawings aid in the successful execution and performance of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system.

These drawings present specific information and details of MEP elements, including the design, installation of fixtures, and functionality.

  • MEP drawings incorporate all relevant technical information about the wiring, piping, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems that are needed to build any kind of residential or commercial building.

  • It is mostly used by equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and component vendors to gain clarity on the mechanical systems of the structure being constructed.

  • MEP drafts are used as a measuring tool by subcontractors as they communicate the government standards required to construct the structure.

  • Companies mostly use AutoCAD, Revit MEP, Autodesk Inventor, CAD PIPE, and CADDUCT to prepare MEP drawings.

  • These designs and drawing drafts are different for every structure and are created only after the building’s design documents are installed.

Precise and superior quality MEP shop drawings are crucial to understanding how different elements need to be successfully built and operated.

There are five types of MEP drawings. Let’s explore what each of these types is and why it is indispensable.

1. Detailed Shop Drawings: Annotations, Dimensioning, Elevations

Detailed shop drawings are created way before the beginning of the construction project and activities.

They are a highly detailed set of drawings for both installation and fabrication of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

  • The MEP elements need pre-fabrication that includes air-handling units, ductwork, custom piping units, etc.

  • The drawings provide accurate dimensions and are preferred over layout drawings and design details.

  • It helps in detecting any errors or inconsistencies before the final installation begins.

  • The shop drawings, created with standard codes, illustrate a clearer image of the project and a step-by-step facilitation.

  • The detailed shop drawings help ensure that every element built in the off-site location will be manufactured without any mistakes.

The construction only begins after these models and drawings are finalized by the team. 

2. Penetration Drawings: Keeping the Structural Integrity Intact

Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural systems are penetrants that are wedged into different floor and wall spaces.

The size of the openings through which elements such as electrical cables, pipes, electrical conduits, ducting, and cable trays pass is extremely important.

Penetration drawings help in ensuring that these items are located accurately. This is facilitated through the precise dimensions given in the drawings.

Once the penetration work is complete, any revisions made to the drawings cannot be implemented. MEP drawings, therefore, must be thoroughly reviewed and approved so that any chance of mistakes is omitted.

Communication and coordination between the team members working on the project are crucial to ensure proper sizing of the openings.

3. As-Built Drawings: The Post-Development Drawings

Once the construction is finished, as-built drawings are created to help understand how the building was constructed.

These as-built MEP drawing sets give a clearer understanding of what was planned for the project and what was finally executed during the construction.

The drawings are handed over to the client post construction. They include every detail of the building, fabrication, adjustments, and installation during the construction process.

These shop drawings offer in-depth information about the placement of the MEP components. They help in the facility management, building maintenance, repair, renovation, or refurbishment of any part of the building. The client also gains a better understanding of how the project was built. 

4. Coordination Drawings: Detecting Obstructions

If a building project has many MEP regulations, the risk of interference between the three MEP systems is always high. They have the tendency to collide during the installation or the construction process.

This is where MEP coordination drawings play a significant role.

  • The Coordination MEP drawings help in identifying obstructions caused because of the interaction between the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work.

    • For example, through these documents, the team can identify a severe clash between a water pipe and a duct way before the installation process.

    • This gives the team a more vivid plan of action and helps in restricting any physical conflicts in the equipment layouts, electrical piping, drainage channels, or duct routes.

  • It helps in avoiding structural problems, saving resources, time, and labor, and is known to be quite significant for the successful facilitation of any building construction project.

The resolution of any coordination issues, especially for complex MEP workings, is done through these MEP CAD drawings.

5. Pipe Spool Drawings: Assembling the Pipes

Pipe spool drawings are sometimes also called piping isometrics. They are shop drawings that provide a 3D view of a piping run, thus enabling shop personnel to properly fit and weld the piping runs. Every piping run has its own pipe spool drawing.

The prefabricated element of a piping structure is referred to as a pipe spool. The components, including flanges, pipes, and fittings, are usually built at the workshop before the installation process begins.

  • Generally, pipe spool drawings are created by mechanical drafting teams in various standard formats, and given to construction companies and site managers.

  • Pipe spool MEP drawings are created after gathering all the in-depth information on the elements welded together in one unified drawing.

  • These drawings are not to scale, but they do consist of a graphical representation, title block, and bill of material.

  • Plumbers gain clarity on what needs to be done through these MEP drawings. They use them as a reference to understand and install the spools accurately.

  • Pipes are usually connected at multiple junctions in a building and this document offers detailed information on how to assemble the spool properly.

  • The pipe spool drawings incorporate the numbers of pipes needed, the length of these pipes, and where they need to be placed. It even showcases all the pipe fittings required for the process.


MEP drawings are important to reduce the complexities and challenges of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

The benefits of an accurate set of shop drawings are virtually endless. It makes the entire construction process way smoother and helps in saving resources by minimizing or avoiding restructuring or corrections.

Does your construction project require MEP shop drawings? We recommend hiring a great shop drawing services provider like BluEntCAD who can give you precise shop drawings.

BluEntCAD is one of the leading MEP drawing outsourcing companies in the world. Our team offers superior quality drafting services with unparalleled precision. We serve homebuilders, real estate developers, architects and home designers. Browse our portfolio to see how we’ve helped companies like yours!

Let our precise MEP drawings and shop drawing service experts help you exceed client expectations and develop safe, efficient buildings. To know more about our services or get a free consultation, connect with us!

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Your Citation

CAD Evangelist. "What are the Different Types of MEP Drawings?" CAD Evangelist, Jun. 06, 2022,

CAD Evangelist. (2022, June 06). What are the Different Types of MEP Drawings?. Retrieved from

CAD Evangelist. "What are the Different Types of MEP Drawings?" CAD Evangelist (accessed June 06, 2022 ).

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