Modern-day buildings are composed of a variety of complex systems; heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, water distribution, building control systems, and more. Architects and Engineers design these intricate systems, but to take them from flat drawings to a cohesive, functioning building, they must be implemented correctly and then monitored. This is where Commissioning comes in.
What is Commissioning?
The Government of Canada defines Commissioning as “…the ongoing process of tuning and calibrating these systems to make sure buildings are performing as efficiently as possible.” Commissioning requires being onsite and using all your senses to ensure the building’s systems are functioning efficiently and in harmony. This process is best started at the beginning of the design phase so the project team and Commissioning Provider can coordinate before equipment is specified, purchased, and installed. By continuing to monitor the integration of systems throughout the construction process and into occupancy, the Commissioning Provider guarantees smooth handovers, efficient operations, expert support, and optimal building performance.
The Commissioning Process certifies that buildings are operating as expected, that the building meets the Owners’, clients’, and tenants’ needs. This type of quality control ensures that all stakeholders are given the important information and tools needed to further improve their building.
Because of its all-encompassing nature, different stakeholders may have slightly different definitions of what Commissioning is and what it entails.
Why Commissioning is Important
When it comes to the business of building, Commissioning is a crucial step. On average, Commissioning provides energy savings between 10 to 15 percent annually by optimizing systems integration and functionality. When brought in early, a Commissioning Provider ensures the construction schedule is maintained and costs are well managed. In addition to equipment start-up and functional testing, the Commissioning Provider conducts demonstrations and training for building staff, so they are equipped to keep the building running smoothly. The Commissioning Process results in longer equipment life, lower maintenance costs, higher property value, and a more comfortable indoor working environment, to name a few benefits.
From the Building Owner’s Perspective
As the Owner, you assume that your best interest, as well as the best interests of your future tenants, are kept at the forefront during the building process. Construction and building design is an extremely competitive marketplace. Contractors and Consultants that compete based on price and offer below-cost bids to get projects, often cut corners to meet those bids. This leads to quality issues that can put the building, and its tenants at risk. A Commissioning Provider is an impartial, outside expert who helps identify issues before they become costly. The level of detail provided comes down to choosing either a Commissioning Agent or a Commissioning Authority.
What a Commissioning Agent Does
Commissioning Agents monitor buildings’ plans, test and document mechanical equipment and systems and arrange proper operation and maintenance training for the applicable individuals. They do not evaluate non-mechanical systems, prepare a Commissioning Plan, or conduct testing and balancing services.
What a Commissioning Authority Does
As Commissioning Authority, they act as the Owner’s Representative for the Commissioning Phase of the project. This encompasses reviewing mechanical, electrical, and control systems and drawings. By widening the Commissioning scope to include all these systems, the Commissioning Authority identifies any conflicts between the systems and respective trades. Plus, they arrange proper operation and maintenance training for the applicable individuals.
Commissioning with AME Group
AME Group provides a full array of Commissioning services, including the following:
As the Commissioning Agent, the AME Group would be responsible for reviewing the installation of the mechanical equipment and systems, as well as ensuring it operates as intended. Through detailed coordination, collaboration, and hands-on testing, we would be involved in every step of the Commissioning Process.
As the Commissioning Authority, the AME Group would be acting as the Owner’s Representative for the Commissioning Phase of the project. With our extensive experience in hands-on Commissioning, as well as project management and leadership, we would bring value, reliability and assurance to the project stakeholders and future occupants that the final building will operate efficiently and as intended.
Continuous Commissioning is when a building previously commissioned or retro-commissioned is continually monitored to ensure the building does not deviate from the Owner’s current project requirements. This highly effective method keeps energy costs low and minimizes system problems that might arise due to neglect or changes to the buildings’ operations.
Re-Commissioning is when a building was previously commissioned but has since come out of balance. No longer operating efficiently, or no longer meeting the needs of the users, Re-Commissioning can be relatively inexpensive since documentation is available from the initial commissioning of the building.
Retro-Commissioning is for buildings not previously commissioned. Having not undergone any commissioning, deficiencies in design or construction prevent optimal operation. Retro-Commissioning discovers these deficiencies and provides suggestions and solutions. This process does not usually disrupt the building’s operations.
Aquatic Commissioning is a specialty service we offer since aquatic systems have unique systems, industry standards, and strict health requirements. Our Aquatic Commissioners find ways to improve water quality and increase efficiency by checking flow rates, reviewing equipment life cycles, and even conducting aquatic assessments.
Our dedicated AME Commissioning Team is experienced in a diverse range of projects and sectors, including new construction and existing buildings. Our hands-on approach means that our team is onsite regularly reviewing the systems in real-time as they are being installed, during the planning phase, and during the testing and verification of the building.