Commissioning processes essential to success of gaming facility projects

When you think of “gaming facility,” you may think of standalone casinos or sportsbook venues. There are some of those, but most gaming facilities are now an integral part of a resort or hotel — which adds to the building systems’ complexities because of the adjoining restaurants, kitchens, shops, meeting and convention spaces, hotel rooms and concert halls, plus smoke control and elevators. Therefore, there are several considerations to address during the commissioning process for these facilities. Two keys to success for these projects are smoke control and linking commissioning activities to the project schedule.

A major item to identify is whether the guests will be allowed to smoke. If yes, where will it be allowed? The boundary between smoking and nonsmoking zones dictates how systems must be controlled to minimize smoke migration. As casino operators are aware, there is no single method to eliminate smoke migration, so multiple approaches are used. This includes looking at the design and checking for mechanical controlled pressure differentials between these zones. During testing, it is prudent to take pressure readings between spaces and zones when possible, given the open floor plans. The filtration systems that remove particulates, thereby removing smoke attached to those particulates, should also be tested for effectiveness.

Integrating the commissioning milestones into the project schedule highlights important deadlines, such as checklist completion or testing, adjusting and balancing verification, for the project team to realize what must be done prior to occupancy. More importantly, it helps to identify how the project turnover will affect the commissioning process.

Gaming projects usually have multiple phases for turnover. The sequence of turnover by area is usually clear on phasing plans. The different systems serving those turnover areas and when systems serve spaces with two or three different turnover dates, however, can be uncertain. This helps the project team identify how the systems serving multiple phases should be commissioned.

For example, if a dedicated outside air system (DOAS) preconditions outside air for five air handling units that have different turnover dates, you must determine how and when will you test that DOAS, because it must be capable of operating after each phase. This requires a design review to see if the unit can operate after the first turnover at low loads. It also requires the team to decide the depth of testing that system after each phase. The initial phase may test all the programming logic, and then the subsequent phases get a trend review to make sure the unit is still operating stably with the additional capacity. Integrating the schedule helps identify when, and how, to perform functional performance testing.

For more information about commissioning gaming facilities, contact Wade Conlan at

Posted on July 15, 2019