Posts in Category: Building Commissioning

How To Avoid Ambiguity During the Construction Process

Mission Critical Commissioning: The Commissioning Plan

Often times the process of commissioning can be an ambiguous event that can have a different meaning for the variety of players involved on the project (e.g., owner, design engineer, contractor, etc.) Developing a commissioning program and documenting it in a commissioning plan helps clear up a lot of that ambiguity in order for all contractors, the commissioning team, the design team and the owner to understand the requirements and determine the expectation level for the project. The commissioning plan ensures that everyone agrees that the project will operate in accordance with contract documents and approved scope of work. The commissioning plan will highlight important general project information (location, building type and the construction period), critical abbreviations and definitions, identifies which systems or components are being commissioned and also identifies the project team members involved (including their contact information). The commissioning plan intends to focus on the commissioning process throughout the various phases of a project: design phase, construction phase, acceptance phase and post acceptance.

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The Value of the Building Envelope Commissioning Design Review Process

­­­The Value of the BECx Design Review Process.

As with most things in the construction industry, it is always easier (and less expensive) to fix something on paper than to wait and have to remediate issues in the field. This is even more evident when dealing with Building Envelope systems, due to the nature of how the systems are untimely procured, developed and installed by the contractors involved. 

The name of the game when it comes to the development and realization of envelope components from the designer’s perspective is “defensible design”.  This is defined as - all details shown on the Contract Documents can be built to meet the design aesthetic set forth, but may be resolved in a variety of ways by the subcontractor performing the work. Given that the majority of systems being designed in an envelope are based on a performance specification, the ultimate final responsibility of the work is on the contractor performing the work.

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Mission Critical Commissioning: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Every project is different; all of the variables at play make for unique situations and dynamic experiences. The same can be said about specific pieces and parts of the project, including commissioning services. In commissioning, there are different players, different issues and different challenges. To help deal with dynamic projects and diverse scenarios, lessons learned can serve as powerful tools for helping to make the next project a success. With over 20 years of commissioning services, we put together a list of common pitfalls to successful commissioning, the cause of these pitfalls and ways to avoid them in the future.

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Maintaining Building Comfort and System Efficiency


by Nicholas Neiley, Senior Project Engineer

As we head into the shoulder heating season in the Northeast many facility operators struggle to maintain building comfort and system efficiency. The shoulder heating seasons typically extends from March through May and October through December. Temperature swings of 30-40F in a single day are not uncommon which place stress on facilities system’s ability to maintain comfort and efficiency through the wide range of outdoor conditions. This is also a perfect time to observe how efficiently your systems are at reacting to a wide range of conditions.

One of the greatest challenges in any facility is the transition between heating and cooling modes. This is a situation that often occurs daily during the should season as outdoor air temperature rise and fall. The first key to improving system efficiency is understanding how your system is intended to work. Review your buildings design and as-built documents to gain an understanding of the intent. Documents to review would include design intent/basis of design narratives, control sequences, one line diagrams, and systems manuals. 

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The Relationship of BECx to LEED V.4

LEED Version 4 has recently put the spotlight on Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx), in a good way. In the event your project is pursuing the credit associated with “Enhanced Commissioning”, you will be required to retain a BECx Agent, and quickly. BECx has been introduced to ensure the performance of the enclosure is coordinated with all related building systems, and to increase the overall energy efficiency of the building.

Some of the key factors associated with the new version are highlighted below:

  • Minimum Requirements for Exterior Enclosure.
  • Enhanced Commissioning Credit, BECx Agent during DD Phase.
  • Enhanced Commissioning Credit, BECx Agent responsibilities throughout the project.
  • Enhanced Commissioning Credit, Provide Post Occupancy Review and Support.
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