What is MEP Engineering?

MEP stands for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing. So, MEP Engineering is a more straightforward way of saying Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing engineering. A firm that offers MEP engineering services is one that provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services.

Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing are referred to as technical disciplines in professional engineering service. For example, other disciplines include civil and structural engineering.

MEP engineers make buildings comfortable and functional

MEP engineers partner with other disciplines to help design buildings. For example, K-12 school buildings, office buildings, and government buildings all have mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers collaborate frequently. The design of one system impacts the design of another. When designing large commercial buildings, it is critical that these three disciplines work together to provide a successfully integrated design. That’s why it is common to see larger consulting firms offering all three engineering services.



Mechanical engineering is one part of MEP engineering. Engineers in the mechanical discipline are responsible for designing heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems for buildings.



Electrical engineering is another part of MEP engineering. Electrical engineers that work in MEP engineering design the systems that power a building.



Plumbing engineering the ‘P’ in MEP engineering. Plumbing engineers design the water-based systems with end-uses like sinks, showers, and toilets. In addition, plumbing designers work on variety of unique building systems.

What do MEP engineers do?

MEP engineers design systems that make buildings comfortable. Here are just a few examples of how MEP designs make a difference in your daily life:

  • Lighting to illuminate spaces that would otherwise be dark
  • Air conditioning and heating for comfort
  • Running water at sinks and toilets
  • Ventilation to improve productivity and prevent illness
  • Power devices like computers, security systems, and coffee machines (all the important things!)
  • Ensuring that wastewater from sinks, showers, and toilets are disposed of properly

MEP engineers also have a significant impact on the long-term operation of a building. For example, the design of an MEP system can make a huge difference in monthly energy bills.

Outside of designing, MEP engineering teams perform other consulting services. Some examples of the services MEP engineering teams provide include reviewing designs from other engineering firms for code compliance, troubleshooting MEP systems that aren’t operating correctly, optimizing central utility plant designs, and short circuit coordination and arc flash analysis studies.

What do mechanical MEP engineers do?

The M in MEP stands for Mechanical.

A mechanical engineer that works in MEP engineering designs the mechanical system for the building. In general, the mechanical system for a building is defined as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

HVAC designs can become quite sophisticated, depending on the type of building and goals of the project. For example, an office building may have individual offices, large conference rooms, and computer server rooms. All of these spaces have different comfort, conditioning, and ventilation needs.

As a counterpoint, a laboratory research facility at university building requires special attention to how air will move through the building, in order to avoid fumes or particles from moving into common areas.

With that being said, MEP mechanical engineers have several responsibilities to ensure a successful design. Their work ranges from calculating the required cooling capacity to drawing ductwork on a floorplan. Mechanical engineers also spend time away from the office, meeting with other disciplines, consulting with the owner, or visiting a job that is in construction.

Three MEP engineers coordinate a design at RWB Consulting Engineers

What do electrical MEP engineers do?

What does the E in MEP stand for? Electrical!

Electrical engineers in the MEP field ensure there is proper electrical service to the building. Beyond lighting and power for appliances, electrical designers provide solutions for high-consumption devices like mechanical systems, server room equipment, and outdoor lighting.

Given that both mechanical and plumbing systems require power to operate, electrical engineers play a crucial role in making buildings functional. In addition, electrical engineers must ensure that their equipment is sized correctly. An electrical supply that is too large or too small could result in both operational and safety issues.

Similar to mechanical engineers, electrical engineers have a variety of day-to-day tasks. Some days are spent calculating or modeling electrical design, while other days are spent in meetings or visiting projects in-person. Electrical engineers frequently collaborate with mechanical and plumbing designers to ensure the design is suitable. Electrical designers may provide the lighting design for the building, which can range from simple overhead lights to more modern illumination solutions.

What do plumbing MEP engineers do?

The P in MEP represents Plumbing.

A building simply wouldn’t be operable without running water or working toilets.  But plumbing designers have a wide variety of design responsibilities beyond potable water.

Plumbing engineers also handle different building waste systems like sanitary, grease, and acid waste systems. Each system has unique requirements for design and disposal, adding a lot of variety in a plumbing engineers’ job.

Plumbing engineers also play an important role in sustainability projects. Water conservation is critical to projects with aggressive sustainability goals — plumbing designers design reuse systems like roof drainage and rainwater collection.

Plumbing engineers spend their time calculating, designing, and laying out a variety of plumbing systems. They must also coordinate with other disciplines so that designs are fully functional.

MEP Engineering

While there are many career paths for engineers, MEP engineering is a unique field. Every project is different, requiring engineers to apply their skills and expertise to design a unique solution.

RWB Consulting Engineers has provided MEP engineering services for more than 30 years. Our team of over 50 mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers has the knowledge and talents make building comfortable and functional. Contact us for more information on how we can add value to your next project.

PS: we are always looking for talented designers to join our team!