In the young history of building commissioning, we’ve already witnessed a surge of underqualified firms that have suffered from what I like to call the “I can figure that out” fallacy.
Yet, building commissioning is more than filling out and submitting paperwork to meet code requirements. It is a detailed process of analyzing complex building systems, ensuring they were installed correctly and are operating at optimal efficiency, and evaluating how the systems are operating holistically.
When conducted properly, building commissioning — be it retro-commissioning, re-commissioning or ongoing commissioning — can benefit building owners for many years to come. Expect lower operating costs, extended system and equipment lifespans, fewer maintenance or failure issues, and substantially more money in your pocket. That sounds good, right?
But how do you know that you’re hiring the commissioning experts who will help you save the most money over the long haul of your building?
The following are some clear indicators that your commissioning firm is looking out for your best interests.
The Firm Is a Dedicated Team of Building Commissioning Agents
Many firms have designers who “switch hats” to offer building commissioning services when the need arises. The firms that will provide you the most value, though, have a dedicated team. These commissioning agents are knowledgeable on the latest industry trends, Cx tools and training, and are focused on providing expert commissioning services, nothing else. This results in a streamlined commissioning process that yields a more value-added commissioning service.
The Building Commissioning Firm Has Extensive Experience
It’s one thing to understand and implement the Commissioning Process on a project — it’s another thing to understand how the many building systems operate. Rarely do you find there is one commissioning agent who knows everything from mechanical to electrical to plumbing. You don’t want a mechanical commissioning agent commissioning your UPS emergency power system on your data center.
The right commissioning firm will have commissioning specialists for the various systems who have garnered years of in-the-field experience across different industries and building types and have become true experts in their fields. There is no guesswork in what your building needs. These commissioning agents can work efficiently and cost-effectively. And you can be certain your building will be operating smoothly after they are through.
The Agents Are Proactive in the Entire Building Commissioning Process
The commissioning process can begin anywhere in the design and construction of your project, however, it is more valuable if it starts early in the design phase. The commissioning firm that is working proactively can get involved early in the design phase reviewing the OPR, BOD, drawing and specifications, as well as developing the commissioning plan. They invest themselves more than even design firms and continue to follow through on designs with the contractors, which then helps the team successfully complete the project on-time, on-budget and with little to zero defects. There is no need to backtrack to fix things, because your commissioning agents will have already done so.
The Building Commissioning Firm’s Priority Is Your Building’s Performance
Of course your building commissioning agent needs to fill out the paperwork so you can get important things like your LEED certification or Certificate of Occupancy. However, with buildings becoming more complex, and investing even more in sustainable yet complex building systems, the need to make sure everything is working the way it should is more important than ever.
A building commissioning agent has the onus to take responsibility for your building systems being able to perform as intended and for your benefit. It takes a meticulous yet holistic approach — and not every firm is cut out for it.
Tetra Tech has over 60 commissioning agents dedicated to ensuring optimal performance of your manufacturing operation buildings and more. To learn more about our capabilities and extensive experience could serve your operation, please visit our website.