Ongoing commissioning: What information should be shared with each party?

by FM Media
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OLIVIER ALLARD from ADMS Technologies explains the singular perspective and the unique key performance indicators (KPIs) of a building owner, a property/facilities manager, a design engineer, a commissioning agent and a field technician. Ongoing commissioning is a daily process running 24/7 inside a building operation. Each management level is involved in this process. Ongoing commissioning monitors the mechanical systems control sequences, lighting schedules, occupancy flows, system design improvements and more. The process uses a large amount of input data to generate precise valuable information. But, this brings up a great question. What set of information does each organisational level need to work with and how should they use it? Because different perspectives mean different needs. In order to provide a basic ongoing commissioning analysis, you need to collect data from multiple sources. The data set is used to fuel the analysis procedure allowing access to precise actionable information. Let’s first list the standard sets of data that are inputted and the information outputted during the ongoing commissioning process:

1. Input

  • Available resources description (time, money, manpower, sub-contractors)
  • Energy bills (gas, electricity, steam, oil, coal)
  • Mechanical systems drawings and control sequences (temperature resets, sizing, design specs)
  • Building occupancy/scheduling (standard work schedule, people flow, exceptions)
  • Targets and objectives (KPIs, certification, awards)

2. Output

  • Prioritised action list
  • Field team training plan
  • Building’s complete history
  • Reviewed mechanical control sequences and design
  • Reviewed operational procedures

THE BUILDING OWNER’S PERSPECTIVE

The building owner is generally not involved in daily operations. At this level useful information to look for is related to global building performance. A lot of ongoing commissioning measures comprise long-term payback with small daily savings. A cumulative sum (CUSUM) can help the building owner to see and understand the return of investment (ROI) of some projects. Tracking improvements and savings helps get future budgets accepted. Some useful KPIs include:

  • tenant complaints per month
  • global operating expenses versus initial budget, and
  • building asset value.

THE PROPERTY/FACILITIES MANAGER’S PERSPECTIVE

The property/facilities manager is involved in daily operations at a project level. The daily progress compared to the targeted objective is key information for the facilities manager. A measure and verification plan (Option B) may be used to generate monitoring dashboards and reports. This information helps the manager make faster decisions with a better understanding of the building complexity. It also provides a quick feedback to fine tune the operation process. Some useful KPIs include:

  • tenant complaints per week
  • ROI per project, and
  • expenses versus initial project budget versus project completion.

THE DESIGN ENGINEER’S PERSPECTIVE

The design engineer is usually a subcontractor working on a retrofit project identified during the ongoing commissioning process. This technical person needs to access precise data in order to create an efficient design. Ongoing commissioning produces a huge amount of data gathering sensor and meter values, set points, control sequences and more. This information reduces the error risks and costs for engineering services simply because it is a continuous flow of data compared to the usual snapshot given by a small data sample. The design engineer can also need some pre-calculated information resulting from standard equations. Some tools are available to provide these values that can accelerate the design process and again reduce cost. Some useful KPIs include:

  • KW per system
  • KWh per period
  • degrees daily, and
  • building occupancy.

THE COMMISSIONING AGENT’S PERSPECTIVE

The commissioning agent is the link between all the other resources. This person is looking to meet the owner’s expectations within the facility manager’s budget for the project using a design engineers’ services and a field technicians’ hard work. A fault detection system is really useful in order to identify out of specs equipment and non-efficient control sequences such as simultaneous heating and cooling. In order to prioritise the actions, the commissioning agent also needs to look at the targeted objectives and the actual maintenance processes and performance. Access to maintenance log helps to pinpoint critical maintenance needs. Some useful KPIs include:

  • late maintenance work orders
  • top five identified faults
  • KW per equipment, and
  • building occupancy.

THE FIELD TECHNICIAN’S PERSPECTIVE

The field technician executes the prioritised project actions. To operate correctly he needs to have a precise description of what needs to be done. A simple graphic to explain the problem with its root cause helps the technician to fix the problem. The technician can be trained to use the fault detection system to become independent to a point where he’s able to identify, confirm and prioritise necessary actions. Some useful KPIs include:

  • late maintenance work orders
  • top five identified faults
  • KW per equipment, and
  • tenant complaint per equipment.

SHARING THE RIGHT INFORMATION

Each of the five parties in an ongoing commissioning project is looking at the same building data with different needs. Each has his own set of responsibilities and decisions to make. This explains why they are not looking at the same KPIs. When about implementing an ongoing commissioning process or even a simpler measure and verification (M&V) process inside a building operation, first identify the information you want to share with each management level. The next question you should ask yourself is: how can I share the right information with the right person at the right time? Olivier Allard is a building optimisation consultant at ADMS Technologies.

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