As commissioning becomes the “buzzword” for the new millennium, we need to separate this process from hvac startup. In fact, system startup or, as we call it, “system readiness,” is a contractor requirement that focuses on all the key issues required prior to the commissioning functional performance testing process. If you are in need of information on commissioning, please refer to Rebecca Ellis’ column, “Getting It Right.” If you are in need of information on startup, please read on.
As a design-build (D-B) management firm, we have created a three-ring binder full of startup sheets that we select on an as-needed basis. We have taken the information from various equipment manufacturers relative to the startup of their equipment and combined this information with other requirements pertinent to having the equipment/system ready for the functional testing process.
If you are interested in developing similar startup sheets, you can begin by creating a template that can be used for each sheet as follows, keep in mind that each item can be answered with “yes,” “no,” and “not applicable.”
- Project name and job number.
- Name of equipment and system served.
- Date of startup and tec hnician(s) doing the work.
- Note that the manufacturer’s “trouble-shooting sheet” is attached with this startup sheet.
- Note that the manufacturer’s “startup sheet” is attached with this startup sheet.
- Remove shipping blocking.
- Confirm electrical power has been provided.
- Confirm pump/fan turns in correct direction.
- Confirm that hot-water pipe connections are complete.
- Confirm that steam and condensate pipe connections are complete.
- Confirm that hot water is in the system.
- Confirm that steam and condensate is in the system.
- Confirm that chilled water is in the system.
- Confirm that chilled-water pipe connections are complete.
- Confirm that equipment has been cleaned inside and outside of unit.
- Confirm that drain piping is completed.
- Confirm that vent piping is completed.
- Confirm that gas piping is completed.
- Confirm that gas is in the system.
- Confirm that oil piping is completed.
- Confirm that oil is in the system.
- Confirm that all insulation is completed.
- Confirm equipment has been installed per the engineer’s detail.
- Confirm all labeling has been completed.
- Confirm that building automation is completed.
You can also refer to Amanda Parolise’s “Hvac Designer Tips” column for an “edited” version of the above that has been applied to an air-handling unit.
To get started with the development of these sheets, you may be surprised to find that this information is not readily available from most equipment manufacturers’ catalogs. What you need to do is request operation and maintenance manuals from the manufacturers. From these documents you should be able to find the troubleshooting sheet(s) and startup sheets.
Going back to the issue of commissioning, the process is frequently identified as “documentation-verification-training.” Before commissioning verification can begin, the hvac contractor (or D-B firm) needs to be able to document the startup via startup sheets.
To expedite the commissioning process, and to do so in a cost-effective manner, standardized startup sheets can be invaluable tools. In addition, these sheets can be enlightening to design engineers who have never participated in the startup of the hvac equipment/system that they have designed.