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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Sofia Mendes

Q/A with Sofia Mendes, Jr. HR Generalist Employee of the Month: August 2017 If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go? I would love to visit Norway, I’m a sucker for scenery. What is something about you that would... Read More
 

Joseph Kennedy

Q/A with Joseph Kennedy, Field Engineer II Employee of the Month: August 2017 If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go? Scotland/Ireland. My wife would love to go there. I’ve been to northern Scotland (Aberdeen) for... Read More
 

Tucker Hubbell

Q/A with Tucker Hubbell, Field Engineer II Employee of the Month: July 2017 If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go? I would vacation in New Zealand. It is so far away from everything else geographically, I want ... Read More
 

Benefits of Retro-commissioning

One of the tasks of retro-commissioning involves the process of restoring a building’s original design performance.Retro-commissioning is also finding ways to save energy which equals saving dollars. Many buildings I have encountered on university campuses and hospitals can be 100 years old. Over the life of a building, the process and use of the building has changed, and additions and modifications have been made to existing systems. What was once important to a building years ago may not be relevant today.

A project I encountered was a three-story University building, built in 1915, with classrooms, offices, and a Lecture Hall. During my initial walk through of the facility it was observed that the HVAC system for the Lecture Hall was operating seven days a week.

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Solar Eclipse, natural wonder or natural disaster!

Written By: Dan Forino, PE, CCP, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, Regional Director

On August 21st, 2017 areas across the United States will experience varying degrees of a total solar eclipse with a path that will both completely and partially cover the sun. With a path of totality ranging from Lincoln City, Oregon and arcing over the United States ending in Charleston, SC. Most of the United States will experience at least a 60% coverage, with close to 2.5 hours of partial coverage depending on location.

With the increased frequency of renewable power photovoltaic arrays across the country, what can we expect? Do we all need to run out for bread and milk in preparation, as is tradition during any Northeast snow fall?

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Frank DiSalvo

Q/A with Frank DiSalvo, Senior Project Engineer Employee of the Month: May 2017 If you could vacation anywhere on the planet, where would you go? Anywhere??? Well that depends on what “space” I’m in… adventure & spirit travels... Read More
 

Mission Critical Commissioning: The Long Term Win Mindset

The mission critical commissioning environment requires first time quality. Whether due to accelerated schedules, moving deadlines or the sheer amount of equipment to be tested, when commissioning activities are not done correctly, it can be extremely impactful and sometimes impossible to go back and give it a second try. Poorly executed commissioning, including oversights, missed deficiencies or failing to completely test a system, can put an owner at risk well after the project has been turned over. An effective commissioning program requires first time quality; and to achieve this, commissioning requires looking past the project schedule or equipment list and identifying potential future impact and risks.

Keeping an eye on long-term impacts can be challenging, especially when considering the dynamic environments that define data center construction projects. However, it is achievable if the commissioning provider keeps a long-term win mindset. Having a long-term win mindset means constantly thinking ahead and identifying potential gaps and risks, staying present and engaged with the project team to ensure that all expectations and concerns are being communicated and most importantly, keeping current concerns and situations in perspective with long term impacts. While immediate problems (such as looming deadlines, labor/cost impacts, potential scheduling delays, etc.) can be difficult to see around, maintaining the long-term win mindset means thinking through these issues and keeping in mind that short-term gains can often be a long-term loss.

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The Role of Factory Inspections in the BECx Process

Factory inspection visits are vital; and they unfortunately have a habit of being overlooked. The factory inspection process during the Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) is especially important when it relates to fenestration systems, when any prefabricated components are being installed or when complex architectural glazing is being utilized on a project.

As more and more systems are being fabricated off-site (to minimize not only rising costs of field labor, but also to improve general quality) the importance of reviewing these components in the factory is critical to ensuring that they ultimately will meet the project’s goals. While this process starts on paper with the review and commenting on Quality Control/Assurance plans and discussions with the contractor and their team, it is most important that these steps and processes are verified in the factory setting with project specific materials. Critical components that are commonly verified in factory settings are as follows:

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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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