Commonsense Commissioning

Recently Cornerstone received a compliment from a contractor, who said, “[I] enjoyed working with Cornerstone…  It is nice to see commissioning agents that use commonsense.”

Is commonsense commissioning that rare in the construction industry? Possibly so. Yet practical approaches are often welcomed, which is one of the reasons why Cornerstone likes to simplify complex things.

So what does commonsense commissioning mean and how can a firm deliver on that?

Larry Battis, Senior Commissioning Specialist, weighed in: “One of my thoughts on commonsense commissioning is to try to keep the design from the mechanical equipment to the controls as simple as possible to create a more reliable system. As we strive for the most energy efficient systems possible, the complexity of the systems escalates and so does the need for more rigorous testing to ensure there are no unforeseen circumstances.

“[As a commissioning agent,] make sure you believe the data you are seeing on the building automation system is accurate and meets the design intent. Break down the sequence into basic blocks and test each one. Then review the trend data. Most controls contractors that Cornerstone works with are very good at what they do and are usually quite helpful in devising ways to test their sequences. Our firm strives for this cooperation as it makes the process so much more thorough and enjoyable.”

Tim Shukri, PE, Senior Commissioning Engineer, had these thoughts to share:

“For starters, Cornerstone schedules testing of equipment around the contractor’s schedule so we don’t adversely affect the project timeline by holding the contractor to our own schedule. I’ve talked with contractors who are grateful for this flexibility. Sometimes other commissioning firms set their testing schedule at the start of a project and require the contractor to stick to it. That holds certain aspects of the project hostage while the contractor focuses attention on keeping the commissioning agent happy. Not good!

“Another thing we do is when we identify installation or equipment operations issues, we offer remediation suggestions and, many times, actively assist in fixing the issues.”

That’s just common- and good-sense commissioning!

When choosing a commissioning agent for your next project, find out what their approach is and whether or not it makes sense. Everyone on team will be thankful you did and you’re more likely to get the high-performance facility you paid for.