Commissioning activities begin to get more active during the construction phase. Elements of Construction Phase Commissioning include:
Finalize Commissioning Plan
With a complete design, and contractor solicitation, the Commissioning Plan can be finalized. Once the General Contractor/Construction Manager is on board, it is advantageous to solicit consensus of the Commissioning Plan through signature of the major project stakeholders (i.e. Owner Representative, Design Professionals, Construction Professionals). Although signature may not be contractually binding, it represents a review and agreement of the Commissioning Plan by the major project stakeholders.
Construction Team Kickoff
Selection of the major subcontractors is an additional milestone and it provides the opportunity for the Commissioning Authority to be introduced to the construction team. A commissioning kickoff meeting is designed to introduce the subcontractors to the commissioning process and the Commissioning Plan. The Commissioning Authority facilitates this meeting to establish the purpose and proposed process for commissioning, systems involved in the commissioning process, the individual roles and responsibilities of each participating commissioning team member as specified in the Construction Documents. Also discussed are the acceptance and warranties phases of the project.
The Commissioning Authority is part of the submittal review process; receiving submittals and shop drawings for commissioned systems either concurrent with the A/E, or in series with the A/E firm. The Commissioning Authority reviews for commissioning related issues and for compliance to the OPR. The purpose of the Commissioning submittal review is for development of the Field Installation Verification (FIV) and Operational Performance (OPT) test protocols.
The Commissioning Authority is also in the communication chain for contractor Request For Information (RFI), Meeting Minutes, Schedule Updates, and Scope Change documents for both review of commissioning related items and updates to commissioning documents.
Test Protocol Development
The Commissioning Authority develops test protocols are based on the project documentation (plans, specifications, submittals, ship drawings, manufacturers start-up checklists, Installation & Operational Manuals, Sequence of Operation, etc.) and best practices. Field Installation Verification (FIV) test protocols are primarily static tests of equipment level installation while Operational Performance Test (OPT) protocols challenge system operation and integration. Review and sign-off by the project stakeholders serve as both a check-and-balance and as a notice of expectations to the construction professionals.
During the course of construction, the Commissioning Authority performs field inspections that are designed to spot any commissioning related installation concerns early on in the project. This service, while not always included in the commissioning workscope, provides additional opportunity for team building and collaboration between the construction professionals and the commissioning authority. It provides the commissioning authority insights into the competency, work ethic, and challenges faced by the construction professionals. With this information, the commissioning authority can make additional risk assessments and adjust the depth and rigor of the Operational Performance Tests.
Similar benefits are gained from Commissioning Authority attendance at project meetings (another service that is best practice, but not always included in commissioning workscope). A combination of site observations with meeting attendance can avoid a long list of deficiencies at the testing phase, minimize owner concession, and substantially enhance both the project schedule and ultimate building performance.