As an owner or developer, do you ever wonder why the facility you have delivered is not completely what you had in mind?
As a constructor, would you like to build a facility right, the first time, and deliver it to the owner on-time and on-budget? As an operator, are you tired of struggling with high utility costs and excessive premature failures during the first few years?
Facilities are uniquely designed and constructed to meet each owner’s varying needs.
Rapidly changing technology and advanced energy reducing systems are increasing demands on the designers, construction professionals, and operators. This is resulting in the delivery of facilities that may not meet your expectations.
The commissioning process has evolved significantly over the last 10 years from a program that placed emphasis on system end product testing, to a program that devotes a large portion of the endeavor to ensuring the facility is designed and constructed in accordance with the owner’s requirements.
With the appropriate degree of effort expended early in the project, testing and training should be effective and successful.
A well-implemented commissioning program that is invoked from the start of the design process and continues at least to the end of the first year of operation will provide the basis of a quality system that addresses these issues.
Why start early and not at the end of a project?
Whether you are attaining LEED® or another certification standard, or you are attempting to meet your own standard, the key to a successful commissioning program lies in clearly defining the expectations of both the facility performance and the commissioning program early on.
Following are the different phases involved in a typical Commissioning Programme.
The cornerstone of a commissioning program is in the production of an Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) document. Occasionally produced by the architect, this document establishes exactly how the final product should perform.
It establishes the criteria for the Basis of Design (BOD) produced by the Engineer and subsequent design documents. While often either not produced or maintained, the OPR also establishes the degree of testing and resilience that the facility must be capable of withstanding.
If not defined by the design team, the commissioning authority can assist in the production of this document (from which all commissioning activity is defined).
Following this pre-design step, a complete commissioning specification will be established for inclusion in the bid documents. Clearly delineated responsibilities for each of the design and construction team members, together with sample test plans should be included in the specification.
The bid documents preferably detail the estimated number of hours that the contractors are required to carry for executing the function and performance test plans.
During the construction phase, the commissioning authority must regularly attend the site and assist the contractors in completing the construction or start-up check sheets. Sometimes seen as an overwhelming paper chore, this phase is rapidly adapting to utilize technology for the collection and correlation of installed data.
Continue on to the second article in this series.