The importance of correct commissioning in BuildingsApril 19th, 2010 at 16:20
Commissioning is a quality-assurance process designed to increase the likelihood that a newly constructed building will meet client expectations. Commissioning stretches over the entire design and construction process. It should ideally begin at the design phase, with selection of a commissioning provider who helps ensure that the building owners and designers’ intent is written into the project documentation.
The design and construction of ‘green’ buildings pose problems similar to those found in conventional building design. This compromises the intent of the design to achieve a high level of energy efficiency in its function. A good sustainable design will include systems that are “right-sized” (rather than the typically oversized mechanical systems) for the building. Over sizing equipment has become a standard design practice, because—due to design, installation, and/or operation errors, systems rarely function at their intended capacity. These errors occur because of the fragmentation between design, construction and operation, resulting from a general lack of a systems approach in the building process. Commissioning can facilitate improved integration and communication between these phases and can also ensure that right-sized systems function as intended and as specified.
If a building is not properly commissioned, it will not perform according to its design intent and will therefore have a poor energy rating. A common reason for inadequate commissioning is the tendency for projects to go over time and budget and for the contractors to drastically pull back on resources to get started on new projects. For this reason, it is widely recognised that engagement in independent commissioning is best practice, as it is carried out objectively without any conflict of interest.
The cutting of costs and resources at the initial commissioning stage will end up costing the facility more money in the long run, as extensive maintenance issues will ensue. Also, the cost of retrofitting is always more financially intensive than implementation as part of the original build.
In conclusion, it is recommended to allow sufficient investment capital to employ independent commissioning at the construction stage, as it will save countless amounts of energy, money and time overall.