Commissioning

Introduction

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) defines Commissioning as “the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested, and capable of being operated and maintained to perform in conformity with the design intent.” In short, commissioning (Cx) records completion of the project as required by the contract documents.

Our commissioning process verifies and documents that the commissioned systems are installed and operating per design. It also confirms that the operating personnel are equipped with the training and support documentation to seamlessly begin operation upon beneficial occupancy.

Scope of HCA Commissioning Process and Services

Construction Phase Scope

1. A commissioning plan will be provided during the construction phase to include project specific requirements defined in the final design documents and shop drawings. This plan will include project specific Pre-Functional Checklists (PFCs) and Functional Performance Tests (FPTs). The plan will define the process of how commissioning will be executed through the construction and post occupancy phases. The Plan will be distributed to the Commissioning Team for review and comment.

2. Conduct initial commissioning Kick-Off Meeting to review Cx Plan and responsibilities of each member of the Commissioning Team (CT).

3. Attend and chair commissioning team meetings.

4. Identify commissioning activities for inclusion into the project schedule by the CM.

5. Conduct site visits to assist the Contractor in planning and scheduling commissioning activities, to observe start-up activities, to execute PFCs and conduct FPTs, and conduct other commissioning activities.

6. Review the completion of the installation checklists included in the commissioning plan by the contractors.

7. A Master Issues Log (MIL) will be utilized to track commissioning related items that require on-going attention. Any scope items that require attention by the construction team or the design team will be included and will be monitored until they are appropriately addressed. The MIL will be updated and included in each interim field report.

Acceptance Phase Scope

1. Monitor the execution of the start-up plan as prepared and executed by the subcontractors and manufacturers and we will witness equipment, sub-system, and system start-up and testing of major systems.

2. Review the HVAC test and balance report and verify the accuracy of the T&B report by having the T&B subcontractor demonstrate samples of their findings so that we can witness and document the report data included in their report is accurate which includes sound testing.

3. Direct the execution of the functional performance tests (FPTs) by the appropriate sub-contractors for the below listed equipment and systems.

4. Participate in troubleshooting and conflict resolution. We will assist the Contractors in determining the cause(s) of non-compliant performance of individual pieces of equipment and cross-discipline systems.

5. Complete and issue a final commissioning report. The report will include an executive summary with a brief overview of the commissioning process, all commissioning documentation including site visit reports, all executed PFCs and FPTs, and a comprehensive list of any outstanding action items or deficiency items.

Post Occupancy Phase Scope

1. Witness seasonal or deferred testing and modify or append commissioning report as required.

Equipment and Systems

Air Handling Units or Rooftop Units
Chilled Water System including chillers and pumps
Heating Hot Water System including boilers and pumps
Exhaust Fans
Fan Coil Units
Air Terminal Units
Domestic Hot Water System

Roles and Responsibilities

The Cx team consists of the Owner, the Maintenance Staff, the Design Professionals, the General Contractor, Mechanical Subcontractor, Electrical Subcontractor, and other subs such as the HVAC Controls Subcontractor, the Fire Alarm Subcontractor, the Test and Balance (T&B) Subcontractor, Vendors/Manufacture’s technical support, and the Commissioning Agent. All have their specific roles. While the GC will orchestrate the construction process, the CxA will do the same for the commissioning. The planning, execution, follow-up and documentation of the Cx process will be closely coordinated between the GC and the CxA so that the Cx process becomes integrated into the construction process.

Architect/Engineer (A/E) will:
1. Document design intent of systems.
2. Assist in troubleshooting of issues found during commissioning process.
3. Participate in a warranty review of system/equipment performance.

General Contractor (GC) will:
1. Review Commissioning Plan, PFCs, and FPT procedures.
2. Attend commissioning kick-off meeting and other commissioning team meetings.
3. Assist CT with developing a comprehensive commissioning schedule.
4. Incorporate commissioning activities into the construction schedule.
5. Periodically update commissioning activities in the construction schedule.
6. Facilitate cooperation of Sub-contractors and vendors in commissioning work.
7. Submit copies of final A/E approved submittals for commissioned system equipment to CxA for review.
8. Oversee development of equipment Start-Up Plan by Sub-contractor and execution of equipment Start-Up checks by Sub-contractor/Vendors.

a. Insure equipment Start-Up Plan is developed and contains forms for all required testing and start-up activities.
b. With Sub-contractors, develop overall schedule of testing and start-up activities. Submit final testing and start-up schedule to CxA 30 days prior to start of any such activities to allow CxA to schedule site visit trips to witness activities as required.
c. Insure final executed Start-Up Plan is submitted to CxA prior to start of functional performance testing. Insure final executed start-up plan is organized and contains all documentation required before submitting to CxA.

9. Conduct initial meeting regarding the owner training process with the CT and the Owner’s Facility Staff to review the Owner Training requirements, preparation of the Owner Training and initial scheduling of the Owner Training exercises.
10. Develop, with cooperation of CT, detailed Owner Training Plan. Submit Owner Training Plan to CxA for review and modify Owner Training Plan as required by CxA review comments.
11. Verify equipment and systems start-up activities and testing are completed by Sub-contractors. Assures CxA that equipment and systems are ready for functional testing.
12. Submit maintenance logs of all interim maintenance tasks performed by Sub-contractors/Vendors on all equipment from initial start-up through final Owner acceptance so warranties are not void.
13. Submit Master hard-copy Commissioning Plan Functional Performance Test checklists signed and dated by controls contractor to CxA for review prior to start of functional testing (to verify controls contractor has thoroughly checked all FPTs prior to CxA witnessing FPTs). This may also be completed through Cx Alloy.
14. Insures resolution of non-compliance and deficiencies of construction related items identified by commissioning team. Obtains written documentation of completion from the appropriate Sub-contractors.
15. Compile and submit O&M Plans prepared by Sub-contractors for review by CxA.
16. CM coordinates final schedule for Owner Training exercises and submits schedule to CxA so that CxA may witness training exercises as required.
17. CM coordinates training sessions and executes training per Owner Training Plan through his sub-contractors.
18. Schedule, coordinate and assist CT in seasonal or deferred testing.
19. Participate in a warranty review of system/equipment performance.

Subcontractors/Vendors will:
1. Review Commissioning Plan, Pre-Functional Checklists, and FPT procedures.
2. Attend commissioning kick-off meeting and other commissioning team meetings.
3. Assist CT with developing a comprehensive commissioning schedule.
4. Prepare Owner Training Plan with CM.
5. Execute the Pre-Functional Checklists on Cx Alloy as work is completed in phases.
6. With CM and CT, develop Start-Up Plan and submit to CxA for review. Revise Start-Up plan per CxA review comments.
7. Execute all required equipment and systems testing as required by project specifications (e.g. duct pressure testing, piping pressure testing, piping flushing, electrical acceptance testing, etc.). Provide schedule of testing activities to CxA 30 days prior to start of any testing so that CxA may witness a sampling of the testing as required. Submit completed testing documentation in final executed Start-Up Plan notebooks to CxA for review prior to start of functional testing.
8. Execute equipment start-up per Start-Up Plan. Provide schedule of equipment start-up activities to CxA 30 days prior to beginning any equipment start-up so that CxA may witness a sampling of the equipment start-up activities as required. Submit completed start-up documentation in final executed Start-Up Plan notebooks to CxA prior to start of functional testing.
9. Execute all periodic maintenance required on started equipment from initial start-up of equipment to final acceptance by Owner. Document execution of periodic maintenance by signing and dating maintenance logs for each item of equipment.
10. Ensure installation work is complete, is in compliance with Contract Documents and equipment and systems are ready for Functional Performance Testing. Notify CT that equipment and systems are ready for Functional performance testing.
11. Execute FPTs developed by CxA as described in contract documents and Commissioning Plan. FPT test results will be witnessed and documented by CxA.
12. Provide certified and calibrated instrumentation required to take measurements of system and equipment performance during Functional Performance Testing. Provide documentation of equipment calibration.
13. Prepare and submit O&M Plans.
14. With CM, execute training per Owner Training Plan.
15 .Execute seasonal or deferred Functional Performance Testing.
16. Make necessary amendments to O&M Plans and as-built drawings for applicable issues identified in seasonal/deferred testing.

Controls Contractor (CC) will:
1. Attend commissioning kick-off meeting and other commissioning team meetings.
2. Prepare Owner Training Plan with CM.
3. Completely install and thoroughly inspect start-up, test, adjust, calibrate and document systems and equipment under Building Automation/Controls Contract.
4. Provide laptop computer, software and training to accommodate TAB Contractor in system balancing.
5. Maintain database of control parameters submitted by TAB Contractor subsequent to field adjustments and measurements.
6. Submit schedule of control system start-up activities to CxA 30 days prior to beginning any control system start-up work to allow CxA to witness control systems start-up work as required.
7. Attend meetings as required by the CxA to coordinate trend-logging plan for use during Functional Testing and building operation by Owner. Trend-logging plan will indicate:

a.System points to be monitored.
b. Frequency/interval of monitoring for each point.
c. Trending data output format and presentation.

8. Maintain comprehensive records of all control system start-up records including but not limited to system calibration checkout records and point-to-point checklists. Submit all control system start-up records to CT prior to start of functional testing.
9. Submit executed copies of the commissioning functional tests (signed and dated by the control Sub-contractor technician directly responsible for verification of the control sequence or system operation) prior to functional testing (to show that the control Sub-contractor has actually tested and verified each sequence prior to CxA witnessing the functional testing). This may also be completed through Cx Alloy.
10. Set up trend logs per trend-logging plan to substantiate proper systems operation.
11. Provide on-site technician skilled in software programming and hardware operation to exercise sequences of operation and to correct control deficiencies identified during Functional Performance Testing.
12. Provide instrumentation, computer, software, and communication resources necessary to demonstrate total operation of building systems and control system equipment during Functional Performance Testing and during integrated systems testing with systems such as the fire alarm system, emergency power systems, etc.
13. Prepare and submit O&M Plans.
14. With CM, execute training per Owner Training Plan.
15. Provide on-site technician skilled in software programming and hardware operation to exercise sequences of operation and to correct control deficiencies identified during deferred testing and opposed season testing.
16. Provide instrumentation, computer, software, and communication resources necessary to demonstrate total operation of building systems and control system equipment during deferred testing and opposed season testing.

Test, Adjust and Balance (TAB) Contractor will:
1. Attend commissioning kick-off meeting and other commissioning team meetings.
2. Prepare Owner Training Plan with CM.
3. Submit TAB Plan and forms describing methodology for execution of test and balance procedures specific to this project to CT for review.
4. Cooperate with CC with execution of required work.
5. Submit copy of final TAB report to CxA for review prior to start of functional testing.
6. Rebalance deficient areas identified during commissioning.
7. Provide sound testing for each space on a NC Curve for review.
8. Provide on-site technician and equipment, as necessary, skilled in TAB procedures to provide verification of equipment and system performance during Functional Performance Testing. This includes calibrating sensors and thermostats.
9. Provide on-site technician and equipment, as necessary, skilled in TAB procedures to provide verification of Final TAB report air and water readings during Functional Performance Testing.
10. Prepare and submit O&M Plans.
11. With CM, execute training per Owner Training Plan.
12. Provide on-site technician and equipment, as necessary, skilled in TAB procedures to provide verification of equipment and system performance during deferred testing and opposed season testing.

Execution of the Process

HCA has provided a commissioning authority (CxA) to manage the overall process. The CxA will schedule a commissioning kick-off meeting be held with the construction team and the design phase Commissioning team. The purpose of this meeting will be to:

• Emphasize teamwork
• Focus on the purpose of commissioning
• Discuss how commissioning will be executed over the course of the construction, acceptance, and warranty phases.

The team will be asked to review the commissioning plan, checklists and test procedures to insure that they reflect fairly and accurately the requirements of the design documents. The purpose of this review will be to obtain buy-in from the contractors that they realize the commissioning process is only a tool that helps document they have met their contractual requirements for installation and completion of systems and preparation of the Owner for occupancy. We will incorporate their comments in the Cx plan. This plan is a living document that will be modified as the project scope evolves during the construction phase, as the shop drawings are approved and as other input is provided from the successful subcontractors and suppliers.

During the kick-off meeting we will coordinate our requirements for shop drawings, pipe and duct testing documentation, start-up documentation, the T&B report, warranties, etc. We will confirm protocols to be used in managing and following the commissioning process. Meetings will most likely occur on a frequent basis only during the final stages of the project when equipment and systems are nearing completion of installation, start-up, and functional testing.

The Cx plan is the document from which the execution of the process can be scheduled. This schedule will be developed with the Cx team’s input and coordinated with the construction schedule. Once the commissioning activities are included in the construction schedule, the management process will focus on execution of these activities, documentation of the results, and the follow up if necessary on items that were found not to be in compliance of with the scope requirements.

The efficient execution of the Cx process is dependent on the efforts of all the team members. Input from the installing sub-contractors on when equipment and systems are complete and ready for the various stages of commissioning such as PFCs, start-up and FPTs will be vital to insure multiple checks and rechecks are not required. Any required rework would be monitored until the item is documented to be installed or operating correctly. Master deficiency lists and action items lists will be utilized to track items that require on-going attention. Any scope items that may be addressed by the design team will also be included in the action items list to be monitored until they are appropriately addressed. We will issue interim reports as commissioning activities are completed to provide feedback and status to the entire commissioning team.

As meetings are required, HCA will organize the meetings by developing agendas, scheduling these meetings with the GC and preparing minutes of the proceedings. These meetings will be held only to facilitate the process. We will work with the team to keep the number of meetings to a minimum.

Parallel to the efforts of documenting the completion of the installation and functional performance, the preparation of the facility staff will be underway. The training plans and O&Ms and record document processing will be reviewed and monitored by the design professionals. The purpose of this process will be to be complete with the preparation of the Owner’s staff before they accept the facility. It will require timely submission of well-organized and complete O&M documentation and accurate documentation of changes in the record documents.

The final commissioning report will be issued for the Owner’s use and team’s records after the completion of the commissioning process and before opposed season and warranty period. It will be modified to include opposed season and warranty activities as they are completed. This report will be a record of the findings and a documentation of the completed project. All reports, checklists, and test procedures, etc. conducted during the course of the commissioning will be included in the final report. An executive summary of the process will be provided.

Post Occupancy and Operational Phases

The systems must operate correctly in all modes and all seasons. The planning for the Cx of the systems during the opposed season and the evaluation of the systems at the end of the warranty period will be developed in conjunction with the activities noted above. The opposed season testing will be executed as the weather allows appropriate demonstration.

Schedule

Commissioning activities shall be included in construction schedule

1.Equipment Startup and PFCs complete
2.Controls Startup & Checkout
3.Test and Balance Complete and Report issued
4.Controls contractor completes FPTs with assistance from TAB and issues to HCA
5.Controls Contractor conducts 1st round of trends to find issues and correct prior to sending for review
6.Controls Contractor conducts trends for AHUs and VAVs, formats correctly, reviews trends, and issues to HCA for review
7.Test and Balance conducts sound level measurements
8.Controls graphics complete
9.Owner Verification of FPTs

Cx Alloy

Cx Alloy is a cloud-based software that houses all of the commissioning documents including Pre-Functional Checklists (PFCs) and Functional Performance Tests (FPTs).  Contractors will utilize Cx Alloy to complete the PFCs and FPTs and can done on a laptop, iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Commissioning issues will also be on Cx Alloy where they can be reviewed, printed, add pictures, files, and comments.

Common Cx Issues

1. Access is not provided at equipment for service
2. Required straight run of duct at VAV and flow measuring devices
3. Labeling equipment and using small marker on ceiling grid to mark box access
4. P.T plugs at each sensor and at pump and coil connections
5. Temperature sensors not installed on CHW & HW return lines at AHUs
6. Missing manual volume dampers. Should be provided at each branch take-off
7. Flex duct installation detail on single grille from air terminal box and multiple grilles with required elbows
8. Duct installation: All joints should be sealed (on the exterior)
9. Duct insulation: Sealing of joints, support of insulation on large duct
10. Sound lagging and duct gauge on duct drops where required
11. Sound issues. Many can be eliminated by thoughtful duct routing and installation
12. Proper installation of balancing valves with required inlet and outlet straight piping
13. Flushing bypass: provide two valves and remove piping when complete
14. Problems with air terminal box trending: incorrect format, incorrect procedure, wrong type of valve, hunting valves, leaking valves
15. Only Weiss solar thermometers allowed. No exceptions
16. Painting and labeling of all piping
17. Sensors not being calibrated
18. Network drops and connections to NAE
19. Graphics not being complete prior to functional testing with Cx Agent

Links

 

Download the HCA Cx Process Presentation pdf file.