As businesses grow, the constraints of existing facilities often require renovations or new construction to meet the changing needs of the company. A new project can be an exciting point in the life of a company, but it can also be rife with pitfalls without proper oversight. Avoiding the complications–and costs–of a poorly designed building is the function of commissioning.
Commissioning is a process of oversight that measures the outcomes desired by the owners against the design, construction and operation through each phase of the project. The goal of commissioning is to increase efficiency in a building through documentation and testing. The results are increased comfort, reduced costs of operation, and a functional workplace.
Building a new office–or any other type of facility–typically involves hiring architects, construction firms, engineers and contractors. Construction also involves legal teams, design teams, zoning reviews, environmental inspections, and much more.
Excitement can turn into headache quickly when the needs of the organization are poorly defined or poorly executed throughout each phase of the process. Many businesses are looking to commissioning to ensure that each step of the construction plan meets the goals of the owners.
It’s important to consider commissioning in the planning stage of your project to incorporate the best design practices from the beginning. There are a few questions to consider in the planning stage in regard to the commissioning process.
Is this a new thing and is it just another thing to worry about?
Commissioning has been used by the military for decades. When done properly, commissioning should reduce your worries throughout the construction process because it considers your needs and projected outcomes from the design to the completion of the project. Birmingham’s Sain Engineering Associates (SEA) is one of five firms in the U.S. offering Continuous Commissioning® services.
Will this increase my costs of construction?
Commissioning is an added expense but research shows–depending on the scope of the work–that a company can recoup the costs of commissioning in as little as two years. Additionally, a company can gain revenue downstream through lower costs of operation, increased production, and lower costs associated with repairs and replacements of poorly functioning systems.
Shouldn’t my contractor already be testing systems?
Commissioning is typically done at the ownership level. A contractor, or subcontractor, installs your systems and tests them for basic functionality. A commissioning agent tests the systems against peer benchmarks, design plans and owner expectations.
A study at Texas A&M University found as much as 20% of the energy used in a commercial building is wasted through poorly designed or poorly functioning systems. Commissioning a new construction project can help maximize efficiency. Saving that 20% of potential WEGO expenses allows business owners to redirect revenues into other areas of operation over time.
This article was originally published on AL.com