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Articles by Rebecca Thatcher Ellis, P.E.

Commissioning

Functional Performance Test Sampling

So you’ve decided on your sample size. What next? What happens when a system failure is found?
Last month, this column addressed the need for (and philosophy behind) sample testing certain systems when 100% functional performance testing (FPT) is impractical from a time and/or budget perspective.
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Commissioning

Functional Performance Test Sampling

Testing it all typically isn’t an option. How to determine what (and how many) to check?
In the standard commissioning process, there are two primary technical activities that occur on site at the end of construction and prior to systems acceptance by the owner.
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Commissioning

Controls Programming Versus Design

Don’t let a “copy and paste” control submittal lead to errors.
This column is a continuation of last month’s topic addressing the coordination that needs to be focused solely on HVAC controls during the construction phase of a project.
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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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2014 December

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