There is an old saying that there are three unavoidable things in life: death, taxes and construction delays. While we can’t help you with the first two things, I can assure you that enhanced commissioning methods give building owners the best chance at an on-time, on-budget opening of a building that performs as desired. This idea is nothing new for state-owned buildings that have benefited from the process, but more and more private sector building owners are buying into this collaborative methodology to defend against project delays and cost overruns. Commissioning not only ensures doors close properly and plumbing doesn’t leak, but also consistently delivers buildings that perform as they should from Day One.
Certified commissioning firms like ours operate independently, advocating for the building owner and facilitating a spirit of teamwork with construction managers and installing subcontractors that integrates commissioning into the building process itself. This collaboration is based on getting everyone singing from the same page by building consensus on Schedule, Response Time, Decision Making Criteria and Expectations.
The role of commissioning can be seen in the successful execution of a privatized multi-year buildout of a college student housing complex. Each phase brought on-line approximately $70,000,000 in Construction Volume. For five consecutive years, the team has delivered $500 million worth of construction volume by the required Substantial Date. This has been accomplished by insisting on a few key deliverables:
Collaborative web based tools
Weekly coordination meetings
Construction schedules with granular milestones related to commissioned systems
Fluid/regular reconciliation of projected to actual status
Owners willing to hold the entire project team accountable to issues closeout in a 10-day timeframe.
Private sector clients which have been exposed to the commissioning process readily embrace it as a tool to deliver on-time buildings. I suspect it has something to do with their understanding of how a product efficiently travels from the designer’s mind to the consumer’s hand.
While car manufacturers have a test track to ensure their product is operating as designed, commissioning firms like Paladin conduct rigorous testing in place as the building advances through different stages of completion, allowing for collaboration on real-time remediation and driving on-time delivery. This helps keep budgets under control and expectations in line with reality. In a word, meticulous commissioning improves a building’s performance where it matters: safety (with fire systems testing), integrity (with envelope testing that maximizes energy efficiency) and usability (calibration of systems controlling HVAC and lighting.)
These proven approaches ultimately roll to the bottom line for owners whose desired return on investment includes a building that not only looks like the architect’s rendering, but also operates efficiently and effectively within design parameters. At the end of the day (and for years after that ribbon cutting) deliberate commissioning efforts lead to positive ROI, happy customers and enhanced reputations for all firms involved, be they the building owners, architects, engineers, builders and even controls integrators.
By Candice Rogers, President, Paladin, Inc.
Contact us today at [email protected] to discuss how commissioning can help you make construction delays and cost overruns a thing of the past.