C — February 14 - 27, 2014 — Pennsylvania — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal


By Harry B. Koons, III, CxA, LEED AP What is building commissioning? P ennsylvania ’ s E ngineers


uilding Commissioning is a quality-control mea- sure involving the test-

balancing, and employee train- ing for efficiency, consistency, and safety. As an objective, third par- ty measure, commissioning brings value and confidence to any project, large or small. It does not detract from the responsibilities of engineers or contractors, but instead enhances relationships be- tween project teammates and building owners. While all con- sultants, building trades, and vendors involved in a project are responsible for their indi- vidual components or systems, commissioning confirms all of

those pieces work together as a whole. Commissioning dem- onstrates to the owner that all systems are operational and will perform at optimum condi- tions. It gives facility managers the tools to operate and main- tain systems correctly. Why Should I Commission My Building? The act of commissioning con- firms you’ve achieved expected design quality, ensures efficien- cy and operational confidence, and establishes a baseline to compare future performance. Commissioning can result in fewer change orders, extended

equipment life with fewer war- ranty issues, lower operating costs, improved indoor air qual- ity, increased productivity, and enhanced safety. Commissioning offers proven savings on energy and opera- tional expenses. Non-commis- sioned buildings generally cost 8-20 percent more to operate than commissioned buildings. Newly constructed commis- sioned buildings use 18 percent less energy than their non- commissioned counterparts. Retro-commissioning provides an average of 16 percent whole- building energy savings. Rebate

incentives are available based on achieved annual energy sav- ings, offering even more return on investment for a building owner. The average payback for commissioning based on energy savings alone is 4.8 years. What Does a Commissioning Agent Do? When engaged early in a new construction or renova- tion project, an independent commissioning agent will work cooperatively to identify issues and solve problems. The agent may participate in design or construction reviews, provide input during value engineer- ing, provide technical insights, and offer recommendations for improvements. Commissioning agents per- form functional tests, identify deficiencies, and coordinate with contractors to avoid or overcome problems. As a proj- ect is completed, commission- ing agents provide summary reports, training guidelines, and documents to close out the construction phase, verify all work is complete, and ensure design parameters are met. An agent should perform a thorough systemwalk-through and incorporate a comprehen- sive testing strategy, review the construction schedule, identify milestone system completion and vendor start-up dates, and coordinate full system testing with all responsible contractors and the owner’s personnel. Dur ing commi ss i oning , agents can identify energy ef- ficiency faults that contribute to operational cost savings and owner benefits. Some of the most common issues identi- fied by commissioning agents include missing, broken, or improperly installed equipment or devices, wrong or improperly placed equipment, incorrect air or water balancing, wrong set points or controls, and poor start-up or testing procedures. A commi ss i oning agent should do more than tick boxes on a checklist, but be a support- ive partner, offering technical support, help applying for tax incentives and rebates, details for operating and maintenance of commissioned equipment, and personnel training support. A strong agent should identify typical issues faced by a facility of your kind, and be prepared with specific guidance and rec- ommendations. Harry Koons is director of commissioning services at Precis Engineering. n

ing, inspec- tion, and doc- umentation of building systems and equipment to ensure each c omp o n e n t and system functions ac-

Harry B. Koons

cording to design intent and client requirements. Commis- sioning coordinates the tradi- tionally separate functions of equipment startup, calibration,

ENGINEERING | COMPLIANCE | COMMISSIONING | LEADERSHIP Call us to learn how our trusted, objective commissioning services will add value to your building project. MAKING THE COMPLEX E L E G A N T

20 South Maple Street, Suite 200 Ambler, PA 19002 215.540.9800 www.precisengineering.com

PRECISION ENGINEERING FOR PERFORMANCE CRITICAL FACILITIES Mechanical | Electrical | Plumbing | Fire Protection | Process Utilities | Automation Central Utilities | Critical Environments | CFD Modeling | Energy Optimization | Sustainability

Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs