Overcome Obstacles to the Commissioning Process

December 21, 2012


Commissioning is an integral component of a construction project. The commissioning process is the process of assuring that all systems and components of a building or industrial plant are design, installed, tested, operated and maintained according to the operational requirements of the facility owner or final client. Although a cost-effective strategy, the mentalities of other project teams can provide resistance to the commissioning process.

The C-Suite, or individuals that hold corporate titles, often perceive the commissioning process and the commissioning process agents as a component of a construction project that creates additional expenses. This mentality stems from the growing struggle for healthcare facilities to secure capital.

The process, however, does just the opposite. According to a recent study, the median cost of commissioning in 2009 was $0.30 per square foot for existing buildings and $1.16 per square foot for new buildings. Consequently, commissioning is cost-effective, delivering net savings to the construction cost, including savings from reduced Requests For Information (RFIs), reduced contractor callbacks and enhanced procedures for maintenance.

In addition, both the design team and the construction team have preconceived notions about the commissioning process, typically viewing the commissioning agents as people who stand over their shoulder monitoring their team’s every move.  These commissioning agents, however, develop documentation independent from that of the design team, ensuring that the design concepts follow the overall vision of the owner. Commissioning agents also facilitate the progress of the construction team by first defining each member’s roles and expectations as it relates to the commissioning plan and then by developing a list of requirements needed to effectively complete the project ahead of time.

Because of the growing complexity of facilities today, it is important to emphasize the idea that the commissioning process is driven by its focus on the bigger picture. This holistic approach is often contrasted with the commonly perceived approach of a construction manager that oversees various subcontracted projects without regard to the integration of the projects and their functioning as a system. The commissioning process, however, examines how all of the facilities system’s function together as a whole, such as a facility’s safety systems, nurse call systems and security systems.

Despite the fact that these barriers exist, the commissioning process is a critically important part of a construction project. For more information about overcoming these resistances to the commissioning process, contact Vanguard Resources.