Much has been written about the benefits of each phase of the commissioning process, from the development of the owners project requirements to first-year warranty walk-downs. However, reviewing a project’s evolution, from inception through occupancy, in a “lessons learned” workshop is extremely valuable. Reviewing discussions, decisions and issues and their final resolutions provides insight for everyone involved. In some cases, team members may revisit their internal procedures and standards for future projects.
An experienced Cx provider with a large portfolio of projects brings an advantage to the discussion. They come prepared with a library of lessons learned over a number of years. They have seen a variety of contract documents, observed the work of many contractors and tested a number of systems. In addition, they have often reviewed the ongoing performance of systems and discussed the opinions of users and operations and maintenance (O&M) staff after the project team has moved on.
Lessons can vary in size and effect, ranging from the subtle enhancement of a detail (to facilitate equipment servicing), to a major upgrade in an owner’s process for project development.
Reviewing our library of lessons learned allows us to offer some general areas of concern for project team members:
- Never assume team members understand the project scope based on similar work or prior association with an owner, contractor, etc. Ask detailed questions early and document responses.
- When project programming begins, owners and users need to distinguish between “needs” and “wants.” If not addressed early, it may result in tough discussions should budget constraints require value engineering.
- Provide energy modeling to demonstrate how envelope design affects HVAC system performance and efficiency. Provide building envelope Cx when possible.
- Controls integration and interoperability are the largest challenges facing Cx authorities today. Schedule meetings to discuss roles, responsibilities and clarity of documents.
- Data vs. information: ensure system metering and monitoring yield “actionable” data, permitting decisions by the owner/operators.
- With respect to O&M training, find out what works best for the client, such as training modules broken down by system/activity, periodic refresher sessions, etc.
For further information regarding Hanson’s library of lessons learned, please contact Bob Knoedler at RKnoedler@hanson-inc.com