Articles by Rebecca Thatcher Ellis, P.E.

Commissioning

Construction Phase HVAC Controls Coordination

Don’t be the team that finishes the building and then wonders why nobody brought the airflow measuring station.
HVAC systems continue to be the most challenging part of a new construction project to get right the first time, and the most challenging parts of the HVAC systems are their controls. I believe there are two root causes.
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Commissioning

Teams: Lacrosse And Construction

In the game of commissioning and construction, there is no “I” in team. All the players must work together to score the efficiency goal.
I spent many hours this past summer watching my son play lacrosse and couldn’t help thinking about how the team sport of lacrosse is similar to the team sport of design and construction. I’m sure this is analogous to the other team sports that move an object up and down a rectangular field, court, or rink, but this is how I see its comparison with lacrosse.
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Commissioning

Owner Training For Non-Operators

Building owners must be proactive when it comes to safeguarding and maintaining systems at the completion of a building project.
This is the conclusion of my series addressing training for buildings where O&M will be outsourced.
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Training A Service Contractor

Sidestep present and future problems by incorporating these six elements into your Systems Manual.
Last month, I introduced the importance of providing building-specific training to outside service contractors when a building owner does not have or does not intend to hire in-house O&M staff.
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Commissioning

The Importance of MEP Coordination

Can a project manager overcome the desire to suspend belief in physics and common sense?
Last month, I addressed the challenge faced by new construction project teams to build faster and cheaper. In the normal project delivery process, this responsibility falls on the construction manager and/or general contractor (CMGC).
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Commissioning

Service Contractor Training

Owner assumptions and no formal transfer of knowledge can put a real dent in design intent.
The transfer of knowledge, skills, and documentation to the people responsible for operating new systems is required in order to sustain the benefits of the commissioning process.
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Commissioning

Substantial Completion Confirmation

When is the project complete? Who decides? Here is one example.
This is apt to be the last of my series of columns regarding the relationship between Substantial Completion management and efficient and successful commissioning. Previous columns have addressed various reasons why projects are being declared substantially complete when the building systems are barely functional and ideas for how to improve that situation. This month’s column will look at how substantial completion is actually determined by the owner and/or owner’s representative.
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Commissioning

FASTER + CHEAPER ≠ Better

Can a project manager overcome the desire to suspend belief in physics and common sense?
My recent columns have been puzzling through the question of why owners are accepting unfinished construction projects as substantially complete.
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Commissioning

What Is Substantial Completion?

Sort it out before you’re told that you’re there.
This month I will continue addressing what can be done to reverse the trend of building owners prematurely accepting projects as substantially complete.
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Commissioning

Substantial Completion & Knowledgeable Owners

The readers weigh in. In my December 2012 column, I solicited reader feedback regarding substantial completion and the trend of owners accepting buildings as substantially complete when the mechanical and electrical systems are not complete, fully integrated, and functioning properly. 


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