There is no doubt that extensive documentation is required in the commissioning process. There are documents that establish the standards for the building’s systems and then there are the tests and reports that verify the systems meet those standards. There are also the documents that detail how to maintain the systems after the effort is complete. However, the process involves so much more than filling out paperwork and checking a box on checklists.
When 5D’s Incorporated provides Cx services, we get out into the field and physically validate the installation and the start-up procedures. We go through every nook and cranny testing to make sure the building’s systems are properly installed and meet the owner’s requirements. We also review the design and look at the systems from an O&M standpoint to ensure those systems are sustainable for many years to come. We ensure the owner is left with a high performing system.
So, what exactly will you get when you hire 5D’s Incorporated to be your commissioning agent/firm?
Well, it depends on the type of building and project.
NEW CONSTRUCTION COMMISSIONING (NCCX)
This is exactly what it sounds like – commissioning to be performed on systems for a building being constructed. The process of new construction goes through five phases. Those phases are:
This is the stage when the owner identifies the requirements of the building and its systems. Several questions will be answered at this time such as…
- What will the rooms be used for?
- What time of day and how many days will it be occupied?
- Is the goal of the building to be LEED certified?
This is the phase when the owner would ideally hire the Cx Agent and/or the Architect and those questions (and more) would be thought out and put into documents such as the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and the Basis of Design (BOD).
These documents serve as the foundation of the project and act as a guiding light for everything else to build off so we highly recommend it. It’s when the owner’s voice is heard the loudest.
This is the phase where the engineers and architect begin to put together design drawings. 5D’s Incorporated reviews those drawings to ensure they meet the OPR. We also review them for sustainability and from an O&M perspective to ensure the systems will be able to be managed and maintained. The design phase is also when we create the Commissioning Plan in preparation for the next stage.
This is when we communicate the Commissioning Plan through a Kickoff Meeting with the owners, engineers, contractors and subcontractors. This phase is when 5D’s will conduct site visits to validate system installation, witness equipment start-ups, pipe flushing and other various activities.
This is when we do the actual testing, called Functional Performance Tests (FPTs). We vigourously test the systems to make sure they’ll handle peak loads (load is capacity of the room) on the hottest and the coldest of days. This is done through the use of test scripts. There are templates out there but 5D’s develops custom test scripts for each project to ensure the project is getting the attention it deserves.
In addition, when 5D’s performs the functional testing we also validate the TAB and Control’s Point to Point efforts. This is one of the areas where 5D’s differs from other commissioning agents. Where other Cx Agents will validate the TAB and Controls efforts by simply reviewing the TAB Report and the DDC Trends Report, 5D’s will go the site and with our own calibrated equipment test the airflows and the points to ensure they reflect what is stated in the reports.
When the testing is completed we provide the owner with a Final Commissioning Report which details the Cx process along with all related reports, tests and pictures.
Post-Acceptance Phase or Warranty Phase
This is when we do off-season testing to ensure the system is still performing how it should. We also conduct occupant interviews to determine if they are experiencing any issues. Once this phase is completed 5D’s will provide an amended Final Commissioning Report to include any findings resulting from this last testing effort.
EXISTING BUILDING COMMISSIONING (EBCx) or RE-COMMISSIONING
Re-commissioning, also known as, Existing Building Commissioning, is a Cx effort conducted on a system that has been commissioned in the past. The reason for repeating the commissioning is typically due to a renovation, a change in the building’s purpose, or because there are problems with the system. Such problems could be sick building syndrome, high energy consumption, ineffective performance, etc…
Retro-Commissioning is an effort that’s conducted when an HVAC system in a building was never commissioned. It involves all the same steps and efforts as re-commissioning but it’s done on a system that is not new. Retro-Cx and EBCx are often confused and that’s ok – the end result is a system in an existing building needs to be commissioned for one reason or another.
The process for both types of commissioning is:
This is the time period when the owner decides to hire a Cx team. This phase involves identifying the issues or purpose for the Cx effort, selecting the Cx team and defining the Cx scope.
This is when design documents, construction documents and any related testing documents are reviewed so that we have a good understanding of how the system is supposed to look and work. It’s also when we conduct the site visit and crawl into every nook and cranny to troubleshoot. Most times we find the issue occurred because of several little things vs. one large issue.
When we’ve identified the issue we then find a solution and implement that solution to ensure functionality and quality performance. We will also perform the functional tests we develop to validate the functionality.
This is exactly what it sounds like. We meet with the owner and the O&M team to review our findings and implemented solutions. We also discuss any future needs or actions that will need to be taken by other members/contractors. We will write a final report detailing the project and processes taken and it will include copies of all tests and reports ran.
Your MEP Commissioning Solutions
Contact or call us to ensure your real estate is in the best shape possible.