Why the construction industry needs commissioning?

Three generations of Frasiers at work in the family business

In 1998, one of my clients told me he was hiring companies to commission his mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. I wondered why there was a need for these services on construction projects. You see, I grew up in the mechanical trades as a fourth generation contractor. From a very young age, I was taught about the technical and practical aspects of these systems and how to ensure our clients received a fine-tuned system upon completion of the work. There would never be a need for anyone else to make sure the owner of the building received an excellent facility. By the time I finished my engineering degree, the expectation was that most construction professionals had a strong sense of pride in their work and delivered a building without the need for a third party commissioning authority to deliver a well-functioning building. That included the designers, contractors and system specialists. Why would anyone consider adding another layer of quality control to deliver projects proficiently?

I was exposed to the commissioning process in a formal sense while teaching a class at University of Wisconsin on control systems for laboratory and viviarium applications in 2001. Charles (Chuck) Dorgan, considered the grandfather of the commissioning process in the US, was the lead instructor of the course and offered me the opportunity to sit in the class in exchange for feedback and interaction during the classes I was able to attend. Within ten minutes of Chuck’s introduction to the course, I was convinced of the tremendous necessity of the commissioning process for most construction projects, but especially for mission critical facilities. That class plus my background combined to be the catalyst to write a business plan during that first class to establish Cornerstone Commissioning three months later in 2001.

Since that time, our firm has proven the valuable benefits of our method of commissioning on over 400 projects. Whether our clients are building a maximum containment biological safety laboratory, an upgrade to a chiller plant or class A office space, Cornerstone has learned to tailor-fit our commissioning process to ensure facility owners receive a building that functions well for the life of the facility. 100% of our services are in commissioning with an intense focus on the owner’s project requirements. Cornerstone’s clients receive a finely-tuned facility that meets their requirements.