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When Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) engineering firms pursue larger and/or multi-discipline projects, they may need to form teams with other design professionals to fulfill the obligations of the project. The MEP firm usually does not have the capability or capacity to fulfill large contracts on its own. Other disciplines such as architectural, structural and civil are needed and must be provided by other firms. There are two basic models for forming teams: a prime/subconsultant relationship, or a joint venture partnership.

As prime, your MEP firm will be the lead design professional under contract to the owner and will hold contracts with subconsulting firms subordinate to your firm on the project. As a subconsultant, your firm will be subordinate to the lead design professional which
is under contract to the owner. The prime and its subconsultant(s) will often execute a teaming agreement to clarify their respective roles and responsibilities in pursuing the project.

A joint venture may be formed when two or more firms decide to pursue the project in a more co-equal relationship and sign a joint venture agreement. The joint venture enters into a contract with the owner on behalf of the participating firms. This partnership can not only bring revenue benefits, but also the opportunity for firms to gain experience working on large projects.

Resource Type

Coalition Publication

Topic Area

CAMEE, Coalition, Mechanical Engineering


March 30, 2023

Resource Link

View Resource

ACEC Member Price

$ 70.00

Non-Member Price

$ 140.00

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