Erisa - Commissioning Best Practices during the Turnover Phase

Commissioning Best Practices to Follow during the Turnover Phase

Commissioning Best Practices to Follow during the Turnover Phase. The turnover phase of any construction project is a well-ordered shift of building operations to the operation and maintenance (O&M) team from the project commissioning management services team. This transition is physical, signifies the completion of commissioning-specific activities, and involves knowledge transfer in the form of documentation. A successful transition occurs when the commissioning-specific documentation is complete, fully organized, building systems are operable as per the design, and O&M personnel are appropriately ready to operate the systems.


Up to Date As-Built Documentation


Erisa-Commissioning Best Practices to Follow during the Turnover Phase-Up to Date As-Built DocumentationConstruction projects guide themselves by design documents that explain and describe countless working elements that require to be put together for a successful turnover.


In construction, design documents get reviewed several times due to unanticipated problems and site conditions. Contractors, who install equipment, red-line the drawings in the field to detail particular equipment installation, physical sites, and other related updates. 


The global commissioning management authority requires being updated about the modifications as they impact commissioned equipment and get updated documentation from the project team. The commissioning authority is not accountable for updating design-specific documents, but they are responsible to ensure that red-lined updates reflect well in as-built drawings given to the owner – particularly, mechanical and controls as-builts. 


As-builts provide the O&M personnel with comprehensive information, using it to fix system problems, locate equipment, tend the performance of equipment and transfer knowledge to new personnel as and when needed. 


Well-Structured Commissioning Documentation


Erisa-Commissioning Best Practices to Follow during the Turnover Phase-Well-Structured Commissioning DocumentationSimilar to design documents, commissioning documentation should showcase the real conditions of the commissioned systems.


At the least, the commissioning final report should comprise the Commissioning Plan and Performance Verification Criteria, Pre-Functional (PFC) and FPT notes, the Commissioning Issues Log, and a letter of acceptance, along with supporting documents like Testing Adjusting and Balancing report, site visit reports, etc. 


The FPT and PFC notes are crucial resources that could aid present and future building operators in developing a systems manual (if not provided in the turnover phase) and help them with re-commissioning, three to five 5 years post turnover.


Providing a Systems Manual


Erisa-Providing a Systems ManualAs part of the turnover package, the systems manual is unnecessary unless the project seeks LEED Enhanced. Having said that, it’s another important resource that may ensure a successful turnover.


While both commissioning documentation and as-builts contain overlapping resources and information, the systems manual is an extensive guide that describes control sequences, commissioned systems as well as best practices to maintain the equipment.


Moreover, a systems manual should ideally include riser diagrams, control sequence highlights, and control drawings. It is basically a tool that O&M personnel can use for troubleshooting, operating, and maintaining, and monitoring building performance. 


Developing a Re-Commissioning Plan


Erisa-Developing a Re-Commissioning PlanUnless a project seeks LEED Enhanced Commissioning, the plan to maintain operational performance is generally overlooked as a deliverable in the turnover phase. Similar to the documents mentioned above, a comprehensive plan is necessary to maintain optimum operational performance and executing re-commissioning every 3 to 5 years.   


The plan should let O&M personnel understand project goals, the re-commissioning process, and the desired outcomes of re-commissioning quickly and easily. In general, the re-commissioning plan should detail the following:


  • Overview of the ongoing commissioning process.
  • Responsibilities and roles of the commissioning team.
  • Schedule of re-commissioning.
  • List of the systems involved.
  • In-depth instructions for the replication of FPTs, implemented by the commissioning authority in the Acceptance phase.
  • Re-commissioning documents to monitor outcomes.
  • Instructions and recommendations to set and track facility performance benchmarks.


In order to take re-commissioning a step ahead, O&M personnel could make the most of the Building Automation System (BAS) by creating a bespoke building performance monitoring program to inform the owner as well as the CFO about the building costs in a better way.


The BAS can be used to track and tend the metrics below:


  • Use of energy, which can further be benchmarked as Energy Use Intensity by making use of free management tools like Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
  • Quality parameters for indoor air. 
  • Key system parameters like humidity, temperature, or static pressure set points.
  • Automated detection of faults.


Conducting a Lessons Learnt Session


Erisa-Conducting a Lessons Learnt SessionThe final phase of every successful project is a lessons learnt session, which involves the O&M personnel, the building owner, and some key members of the project team.


This meeting can be used to enhance the owner’s understanding of the importance of global commissioning management, along with the things that worked or that didn’t work during the commissioning phase. A professional cannot expect him/herself to excel without reviewing their past performance.


The best practices discussed above can help O&M personnel and the owner to stay fully informed about building systems, have the required documents to maintain and operate the building, and understanding of the lessons learnt in the commissioning phase.


Author bio for this guest post


Erisa-Autor-OliviaOlivia Wilson, born and raised in Chestfield, loves to write about trending topics.


Mostly about construction and building works. When she is not writing, she loves to spend most of her time reading, cooking, and traveling the world. She has also worked at a literary development company and a creative writing website.


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