George Bourassa, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Vice President and National Director of Commissioning, Facilities Division, Carter & Burgess, Inc., Chicago

Articles

Building Automation and Controls June 24, 2005

Commissioning Engineered Building Systems: All In The Timing

In my last column , I looked at the concept of “breadth of scope” as it applies to building system commissioning and discussed the diversity of scope. And just as there is diversity in the scope of commissioning, there is also diversity in timing. So, when should you start the commissioning process and when, if ever, do you end it? Most clients are now realizing that commissioning should start early in the process, typically at the programming stage or at the conceptual design stage, of overall project development. In my experience, it should start in the programming phase, but should commence no later than the beginning or mid-point of schematic design. Yet, there are still some owners and facility managers who believe that commissioning occurs at the end of construction.

By George Bourassa, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Vice President and National Director of Commissioning, Facilities Division, Carter & Burgess, Inc., Chicago
Other Building Types April 28, 2005

Commissioning Engineered Building Systems: Scope Enhancement

Last month we looked at some of the benefits of commissioning for building owners and for contractors and subcontractor members of the project team. This month, let’s take a look at the breadth of scope. Commissioning has been a formally recognized practice in project delivery for about a decade, and based on successful results, the breadth of scope in application of the commissioning process continues to increase. ASHRAE’s published definition of commissioning is: “A quality-focused process for enhancing the delivery of a project. The process focuses on verifying and documenting that the facility and all of its systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained to meet the Owner’s Project Requirements.” It is appropriate that ASHRAE has helped define commissioning, because the practice really started with a focus on HVAC systems.

By George Bourassa, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Vice President and National Director of Commissioning, Facilities Division, Carter & Burgess, Inc., Chicago
Energy, Power March 8, 2005

Commissioning Engineered Building Systems: The Universal Benefits

Last month we looked at the financial benefits of commissioning for building owners. These were in two main areas: by virtue of lower change orders during construction and the payback in operating costs during the buildings life cycle. This month, let’s examine other benefits of commissioning for building owners and for contractors and subcontractor members of the project team. Because of the increasing sophistication and interfacing of individual systems in modern buildings, when a building reaches permanent operation, there may be situations that will occur that require multiple building systems to interact. But an owner or operator may not know whether these interface properly or not until an emergency or unusual operating situation arises. Perhaps there is a power failure, a fairly common, and unfortunately, more frequent, occurrence over the last few years.

By George Bourassa, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Vice President and National Director of Commissioning, Facilities Division, Carter & Burgess, Inc., Chicago
Building Automation and Controls February 25, 2005

Commissioning Engineered Building Systems: The Buck Stops Here

sequent columns will explore specific aspects of commissioning in detail. There is no doubt that buildings are becoming more technologically advanced. The systems required in commercial and institutional buildings only a few years ago are now outdated and seem antiquated by today’s ever increasing standards of technology and sophistication. New requirements in fire protection, building safety, energy performance and information technology are driving architects, engineers and contractors to constantly learn new and increasingly complex systems, many of which are required to interact through multiple sequences of operation. With these changes over the past two decades, it has become more difficult to make sure systems operate seamlessly and nothing falls between the cracks during the design and construction phases and that the building meets the owner’s performance expectations from the day of substantial completion. The commissioning process can help owners, architects, engineers, contractors and the building’s eventual occupants foresee and correct operational problems and make for a smooth transition from construction to occupancy. Although commissioning has really only been formally recognized as an integral element of project delivery for about a decade, it has already proven to reduce callbacks from owners to contractors and designers and increase tenant satisfaction and productivity. The benefits are numerous and far outweigh the costs of correcting problems after a building is occupied. The formal definition of commissioning published by ASHRAE is: “A quality- focused process for enhancing the delivery of a project.

By George Bourassa, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Vice President and National Director of Commissioning, Facilities Division, Carter & Burgess, Inc., Chicago
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