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How Digitizing Commissioning Increases Value

By Akash Mehta, LEED AP BD+C, QCxP, PMP

One project, 10 buildings, 20 companies, 90 different systems, 1,500 pieces of equipment and 1,500 different tests – this was the amount of data ESD managed for all stakeholders during commissioning of a mission critical data center for a Fortune 500 client.

To manage such a vast amount of information, ESD utilized a cloud-based web application – CxAlloy – to create a database of equipment linking the related systems, spaces and buildings.

The main goal of the ESD Commissioning team? Save money for the client – not only during the construction phase but also during the design and operation phase through efficient process management, increased collaboration, and improved transparency.

Another goal was to provide the client with up-to-date documentation on the entire commissioning process and equipment history, which would ultimately serve as a go-to document for the Operations team.

The client received three main benefits from ESD’s work:

  1. Design standpoint

Design reviews were provided on CxAlloy. Design engineers searched issues assigned to them or created issues themselves so that all the issues initiated by multiple design engineers, commissioning agents, stakeholders and others were stored in one master issues log rather than in multiple files. This helped the client collaborate design review comments from multiple parties and helped others create and document the final construction drawings faster.

  1. Construction standpoint

As part of the commissioning process, installation verification checklists were created for the contractors to fill out. To expedite and streamline the completion of these checklists, ESD created them in a digital format that was easily accessible in CxAlloy using any device with an internet connection. The general contractor and subcontractors could easily complete the installation verification checklists in the field from their computer, tablet or smart phone. Issues or site observations were logged in real time during testing to allow all members of the project team to comment and collaborate on issues. Issues were created so that they could be searched based on the building, system, equipment type, discipline, assigned party or due dates. All stakeholders could also search issues assigned to them based on criticality to prioritize closure of critical issues.

This process drove issues toward closure in a more efficient manner, ultimately leading to a decrease in construction downtime and an increase in cost savings for the client. Moreover, ESD utilized CxAlloy to generate and provide daily testing progress reports to all stakeholders, summarizing testing activities and expected upcoming testing activities.

  1. Operational standpoint

ESD used the equipment database to create tailor-made reports adhering to the client’s requirements. In this case, equipment-based reporting was executed so that at building turnover, facilities management was able to easily find all information and history on a specific piece of equipment or system. This documentation included completed factory witness tests, documented pre-energization settings, completed installation verification checklists, completed functional performance tests and critical point trends (temperature, humidity, pressure and the like) recorded during integrated systems testing. Design and construction issues discovered for each system and method of resolution for each also followed this equipment/system-based reporting. This report was also developed so that it could be sorted on a per-building basis for ease of use. This technique provides an excellent reference for facilities management for future maintenance or troubleshooting, which will ultimately lead to decrease operational downtime.

As project management, documentation management and data transfer activities are increasingly relying on digital technology in the construction industry, ESD’s commissioning team is providing cutting-edge solutions in an efficient way to bring value to clients.

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