Building Systems Commissioning can provide Building Managers very beneficial rewards; especially when they include building systems services to critical facilities, such as data centers or other 24 hour services.
Following are highlights of an effective commissioning plan to assist maintenance management in making the demonstration as effective as possible:
Interruption of electrical service is the most common source of operating crises for most businesses; thus, the most reliable demonstration of the building system status is a “Whole Building Shut-Down”; which establishes the performance of all equipment and systems under emergency power AND, AS IMPORTANT, how the systems respond to the return of utility power.
NOTE : while this test demonstrates operation of the generator or UPS units, that is NOT the purpose of the testing. All equipment and individual systems should be properly tested and accepted by the building designers and maintenance services personnel, prior to this test. This test is to confirm that all the systems are actually connected and interfaced as required for stable operation.
It is important to review the manufacturer’s equipment data, as well as the project contract plans and specifications, so that “built-in start and stop” sequences are identified; i.e. timed delay for restart, mandated manual start function, etc. Remember to review operating criteria for special equipment such as elevators, standby status for processing equipment such as medical devices, central computer gear, etc.
Be sure that the sequences for fan and damper operations are sequenced to avoid damage to duct work from over pressurization or create unacceptable negative conditions in the building.
A matrix of test procedures and anticipated functions for each piece of equipment should be prepared by the building designer or commissioning manager well in advance of the test date. A simple matrix header is used by the Summit Building Engineering team of Vancouver, Washington. A complete sample of the matrix is located at the WHITE PAPER .
Power is to be designated as Normal, Generator or UPS, then an appropriate function scheduled in each of the RESPONSE columns – “Response on Loss of Power” and “Response at Restoration of Power”.
Recommended Key Notes for the Responses are:
A - Auto local restart ( simple disconnect)
B - Auto Controller or BAS restart
C - Continuous Operation
D - Manual BAS restart
E - Emergency Generator Power
F - Remains OFF
M - Manual Restart
N – Normal Utility Power
R – Ride thru from E to N power
The following subjects need to be addressed, with detailed evaluation of complete operating sequences at shutdown and restart:
What is connected to generator power ?
What is connected to UPS ?
What is the equipment to do on shutdown ? (damper setting, fan speeds, other set points).
What is to happen on restoration of power ? ( manual or automatic start, delayed or sequenced starts)
Any objectionable conditions noted in ventilation, temperature or any operations.
Assemble a team of observers and provide instructions regarding the test procedures and the matrix checklists. There should be a sufficient number of individuals to be stationed at each critical equipment location,such as:
EACH Room containing AHU, Pumps, etc.
Chiller Room and Cooler Towers
Data / Telecom
Freezers / Coolers
Lab or Special Hoods
Roof Equipment / Exhaust Fans
Water Supply System (if served by the building systems)
Special Process Equipment
Each Observer should have a functional radio so that the status of the test and special conditions can be shared immediately.
Following is a sample schedule for the commissioning testing.
10:30 – 11:00 Review all equipment Confirm Normal operating conditions
11:00 – 11:30 Team Meeting Review staff assignments and test forms
11:30 - 12:30 Open Normal Supply Confirm ALL Check Lists
12:30 – 12:45 Team Meeting Review test status. Prepare to return Normal
12:45 – 2:00 Restore Normal Power Confirm all equipment for proper restoration
2:00 – 2:30 Team Meeting Identify items that need adjustment or repair, and required time.
2:30 – 3:30 Make necessary repairs
3:30 – 4:00 Open Normal Power Confirm status of previously failed conditions
4:00 - 4:15 Team Meeting Review status, prepare to return to Normal
4:15 – 4:45 Restore Normal Power Confirm proper equipment status.
4:45 – 5:15 Team Meeting Review status; identify and schedule additional corrections and retest, if necessary.
NOTE that time for “repairs” is minimal, anticipating proper completion of Pre-Commissioning testing.
The National Building Commissioning Association offers resources