ASHE Commissioning: Creating Efficiencies in Facility Management

July 3, 2013


vanguard-ashe guidelines

In a recent blog post, we urged facility managers to demonstrate value and efficiencies to their customers by taking advantage of the latest Benchmarking Health Care Facility Management Report.

Commissioning is another approach that enables facility managers to bring more value to their organizations, with the help of professional organizations like the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

Referred to as health facility commissioning (HFCx), the ASHE process establishes standardized language and processes for commissioning health care facilities that are effective, cost efficient and generate a healthy return on investment.

The act of commissioning, according to the American Hospital Association’s Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals, is the creation of a process that ensures all building systems within a facility are installed and function properly. In addition, the design must be consistent with the owner’s project requirements, and staffers must be trained to maintain and operate the finished facility.

The HFCx process delegates accountability for the building’s performance to a project team that includes the authority that oversees health facility commissioning, according to ASHE. The guidelines provide teams assigned to special projects with a specific process and tools that will enable to the project manager to improve collaboration, ongoing commissioning behaviors, and retrocommissioning techniques.

Another important benefit of HFCx: The collaborative design of this process boosts communication among team members that can improve their ability to achieve the goals of a given project that meets the goals of the facility and the community who depends on 24/7 excellence the most.

Ultimately, the process enables the facility manager and/or project manager to improve the performance of the project by ensuring a smooth transition from completion of the project to sustaining a highly efficient operation in the future.

Processes like HFCx are becoming more important than ever. With hospital payment systems changing from volume- to value-based structures due to regulatory changes, organizations are looking for ways to cut as much waste from their operations without compromising patient health and safety.

Among the systems facility managers should consider for commissioning:

  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Medical gas
  • Fire alarm
  • Lighting (interior and exterior)
  • Material handling

The biggest roadblock facility managers face when using HFCx: The cost of commissioning isn’t cheap. In fact, some bypass the process for that reason. The upside, however, is a better ROI. Additionally, HCFx costs may be higher than other kinds of commissioning processes, but it includes more and the payoffs may be even greater.

For more information about the commissioning process for health care facilities, contact Vanguard Resources.