Tips and tricks for commissioning, balancing buildings
CSE: Does your firm offer third-party commissioning services, and if so, what benefits do you provide as a third-party CxA?
Linder: KFI believes that commissioning is a technical process that requires active, on-site involvement with all project team members. Our technical commissioning approach places an emphasis on physically performing installation verification and functional performance testing with our qualified personnel, in lieu of just reviewing contractor supplied documentation. We don’t just document problems. We use our knowledge and expertise to identify the root causes of the issues, providing the biggest benefit to the owner by identifying solutions. The technical approach provides the owner with true third-party verification of the commissioned systems.
Feyler: RDK Engineers provides third-party commissioning, and most of our projects are such. In addition to the owner preferring the third-party commissioning, it is a requirement of for the U.S. Green Building Council LEED EAp3 Enhanced Credit. The benefit of third-party commissioning is that the CxA can provide to the owner or the owner’s project manager an unbiased report on project deficiencies, whether design or construction related issues. Design reviews are provided by experienced engineers; the engineers that start the project in the design phase follow the project through construction and acceptance, participating in the installation observations, creation of the functional performance tests, and on-site commissioning. The engineer has a though understanding of the equipment and system sequences.
Wolff: Yes, we provide third-party commissioning along with commissioning of our integrated MEP design build and performance/savings guaranteed projects. Being a company that provides commissioning services across a broad spectrum of the industry gives us a unique perspective and resource pool to draw on to solve complex issues. We have in-house design engineers, installers, and service personnel. This allows us the opportunity to draw from their knowledge and experiences to improve our commissioning services and to bring in experts where necessary.
Szel: Syska Hennessy does provide third-party commissioning, which is fast becoming the industry standard. LEED projects going for the Enhanced Commissioning credit are required to have a third-party CxA. The benefit of third party is, since this agent is hired by the owner, it is responsible to the owner and provides a completely unbiased perspective. You basically become the eyes and ears for the owner, in acting on its behalf.
York: Yes, our core commissioning practice is typically contracted as third party. The most evident benefit is that potential conflict of interest does not exist between the CxA and the project team. The CxA can offer an independent perspective, challenge concepts, and offer guidance to the owner, designer, and contractors freely. In addition, the third-party CxA can facilitate healthy conversations and moderate disputes quickly and keep the project moving forward. A skilled CxA can bridge communication gaps and keep the project moving forward.
Bauers: As a National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) technical commissioning provider, we believe that our teams provide an invaluable technical resource to the design and construction team. We improve the quality of construction documents through effective participation in the design process. We assist in identifying and resolving equipment and installation mistakes while their resolution is both possible and either low cost or no cost. We provide system performance optimization in the acceptance phase by not just testing, but by validating and adapting system performance to the realities of the installed systems and constructed facilities. And, we prepare the operations team—through collaborative inspections and testing processes and training—to sustain optimal performance of the delivered systems.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.