Jacobs: Department of Veteran Affairs Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System Replacement

Commissioning, retro-commissioning; survey work; government building; military facility; and new construction

By Jacobs August 9, 2018

Engineering firm: Jacobs

2018 Commissioning Giants rank: 1

Project: Department of Veteran Affairs Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System Replacement

Location: New Orleans, LA, United States

Building type: Government building/military facility; hospital/health care facility; office building; parking garage/service station; research facility/laboratory

Project type: New construction

Engineering services: Commissioning, retro-commissioning; surveywork

Project timeline: September 2011 to June 2018

Commissioning budget: $2,850,000


After the completion of the design for this $1.2billionhealthcare campus, a significant value engineering effort was employed that dramatically changed the HVAC system. However, the drawings were not re-designed and re-issued. The development of commissioning documentation and test procedures was difficult due to the need to review original design, VE documentation, resulting RFIs and submittal before any documentation could be developed. This was multiplied by the large number of test procedures and supporting documents for the commissioning process due to the size of the campus (1.6millionsq ftand ninebuildings plus central concourse).

Along with the VE impact, the project was constructed and turned over ina phased approach. The hospital systems were not designed or developed to support a phased turnover, which required significant additional time to test systems in an individual building approach rather than a whole campus system-level approach. The VE impact also made unforeseen impacts to system-level operations of the campus,which were identified and reviewedfor modifications during the commissioning process.

Frequent delays in schedule, limited QC efforts, and conflicting indications of readiness by the contractors led to very inconsistent results from functional testing. Tracking of resolutions to issues as well as detailed tracking of the completion of testing on a building and phase basis was made more difficult due to these issues.


To mitigate the impact in developing the testing documentation for the large number of systems and equipment involved, Jacobs utilized theirproprietary commissioning software, JCx. This software was used to develop the test procedures for the multiple systems and equipment, track progress of testing, and to record and track resolutions to corrective issues. The time saved using an electronic approach to commissioning documentation was significant over a manual approach, particularly when considering the size of the campus. Additionally, utilizing JCx, the contractors and the owner’s representatives were able to directly comment on and track resolutions of corrective issues. This ability increased the interaction of the team in resolving issues and maintained a consistent record of the status of the project in relation to testing.

To support the impact to the project due to delays, limited QC efforts and conflicting indications of readiness by the contractors, Jacobs worked with the VA to add a full-time, on-site commissioning manager to the project. Supplemented byadditional staff, the on-site commissioning manager was able to reduce conflicts in scheduling of testing as well as provide immediate input and review of the impacts to the building systems and on the commissioning process due to unforeseen issues resulting from the VE process and limited consistent documentation.