Mission Critical Commissioning: The Value of an Owner Advocate

No person is an expert in everything; regardless of our skill level and/or experiences. Finding others that can be called upon as resources will always yield dividends. This is especially true when approaching the problems and challenges that exist while operating in mission critical environments. We all develop our own personal networks of technical resources; when you find yourself responsible for a portfolio of systems or facilities, calling on that personal network can become a lifeline to help you solve an issue or get yourself out of a bind. Working in the industry, participating in projects, it should be a goal of every provider of services to become the “go-to” resource for their client; not only should their work reflect this mentality, it should also be reflected in the relationships that are built with each client. While this is important for all trades and service providers, it should be paramount for the third party commissioning agent.

The third party commissioning agent acts as the second set of eyes, the voice of the owner, when carrying out a construction or overhaul project. Essentially, the commissioning agent becomes the owner's advocate. Through carrying out their responsibilities as an advocate, the commissioning agent takes on a level of involvement with project stakeholders throughout the project life-cycle, acting to ensure that the facility and systems being built or modified meets the design intent and the owner’s requirements. Through this involvement, the commissioning agent not only plays an active role while the project is being executed, the commissioning agent also becomes a tool for the continuity of knowledge well into facility operation. With literal hands-on involvement throughout construction and turnover, systems issues, RFI responses, field modifications and other informational gems of knowledge picked up along the way, the commissioning agent is an invaluable resource. The effective commissioning agent does not only fulfill this role, they thrive in it.

The true owner’s advocate ensures that they are looking out for the owner’s best interest at all times; not looking for the quick resolution of issues or by pushing known issues off on operations teams. The true owner’s advocate sees issues through and ensure that their client is aware and satisfied with the resolution. The true advocate takes a level of ownership when testing the systems in a facility and does not just point out problems when they arise; instead, they head to the front of the pack in helping to troubleshoot and resolve those issues. The true owner’s advocate works to become a partner to the owner in terms of ensuring their systems are working as designed and that all potential hidden issues have been covered.

At HEA Critical, we strive to not only become a true advocate for our clients but rather to become a trusted resource, someone that our clients can reach out to for guidance or an educated opinion. We aim to build lasting relationships with our clients rather than just fishing for short term gains. We put client needs first and ensure that each project we participate in gets our full attention and that we constantly strive to deliver real value in any situation.

Written by: John Lutz, Director, Mission Critical Services


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