Tips and tricks for commissioning, balancing buildings
CSE: ASHRAE Standard 202P, Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems, identifies the minimum acceptable commissioning process for buildings and systems as described in ASHRAE’s Guideline 0-2005, The Commissioning Process. How have you applied this standard in a recent project, and what challenges did you overcome?
Bauers: We are a NEBB-certified firm. As a member of the NEBB BSC Committee, we developed our procedural standards to comply with the ASHRAE guidelines on commissioning. Given that we have taken this approach, we apply the NEBB standard to commissioning. The challenge in the marketplace that we are finding is that our process and the NEBB standard seem to be more rigorous than many of the processes implemented by our competitors. Using a hands-on approach to commissioning, we are substantially more involved—particularly during construction—than many other firms against whom we price our services.
Szel: Most of our commissioning projects are either for LEED certification or for critical facilities, which have their own specific requirements for commissioning that exceed the ASHRAE standard. With our critical facilities clients, we try to get engaged early in the process so we have input in the commissioning specifications for the vendors and contractors; we often write them entirely.
Wolff: We have not applied 202P specifically to a project, though the principles contained within it align with our standard delivery. Another way to look at this is that McKinstry Commissioning has, in effect, already been providing 202P services, since our delivery method is already in accordance with this standard.
York: I personally have not used the ASHRAE Standard 202P for a commissioning project. The standard was recently released by ASHRAE and most owners and CxAs are still learning the standard. The 202P standard does a great job specifying the minimum commissioning services required to ensure the owner extracts the most value from commissioning. The standard is very similar to the USGBC’s BD&C LEED EA Pre-requisite 1 requirements with the addition of submittal review, systems manual, and training, which we have applied on multiple projects. For systems manuals to be of long-term value, you need an engaged owner in the process—a owner that understands how the systems manual can support long-term operations and maintenance as well as potential system limitations as churn occurs.