Salas O'Brien News

Commissioning: A Must-Have for Sophisticated Facility Owners

Posted by Salas O'Brien on Apr 12, 2018 4:25:32 PM

Sophisticated property owners aim to construct a building as economically as possible, and for good reason. Financial pressure is intense.

But yet, over a 30-year span, a building’s utility, maintenance, service, and system replacement costs can run between 50 to 80% of the facility’s total cost (including construction costs). The more complex the building and the more energy it uses, the higher that percentage will move within this range—especially in regions with high or increasing utility costs.

VA HospitalCommissioning can help owners reduce these costs and learn what to expect over the life of their buildings. And it can do this for a fraction of the added cost that would otherwise be incurred.

One of the core goals of the commissioning process is to ensure that buildings are thoughtfully designed for ease of operation and maintenance and that planned utility and energy savings are realized. To accomplish this, a commissioning agent reports independently to owners, testing and reviewing building systems to confirm they are achieving their planned purpose and working as designed.

Including this process in a project can substantially reduce future utility and maintenance costs. So many owners omit this kind of planning, and their costs can be up to double or even triple that of similar facilities.

Salas O’Brien commissioning clients have the highest level of assurance that their facilities are:

  • Critically examined by an independent reviewer with recommendations for cost savings or improvements to the design.
  • Built to the intended design requirements.
  • Tested to ensure the systems, equipment, and controls are operating at expected efficiency and producing the expected energy savings, lower operating and maintenance costs, and healthier environments.

Many owners assume that having a qualified engineering or contracting team working on their project means that they don’t need additional commissioning services. This is not the case. Very few engineers and contractors include commissioning in their scope of services, and they will rarely, if ever, conduct testing for optimal efficiency and energy savings unless specifically contracted to do so.

Salas O’Brien’s engineers can perform commissioning alongside general engineering services or independently, but we view it as a distinct service with unique goals and benchmarks. We are committed to maintaining the integrity of our commissioning process and optimizing our clients’ project sustainability. Beginning with sub-optimal systems and controls can damage a company’s bottom line indefinitely—but investing in efficiency at the start will pay off.

Multiple types and stages of design review and testing can make up the commissioning process, and it’s important to find the process that will best optimize your project. We ‘ll discuss these different options in a future article. Stay tuned.

Topics: Engineering, Design, Commissioning, Sustainability

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