This month, I am continuing my recent exploration of situations where building systems do not pass their commissioning functional performance tests at the end of construction. The obvious answer, of course, is to “fix the systems.” However, this gets complicated when the root cause of the test failure is not the contractor’s sole responsibility. In February 2015, I wrote about the situation where the design needed to change after functional testing in order to meet the owner’s performance criteria. Last month, the topic was about systems that did not perform exactly as designed but just might be okay anyway.
This column is dedicated to the situation where the project team cannot or will not resolve the system performance problems after an extended period of time and the building owner is compelled to look elsewhere for help achieving their design intent. This is a rare but real situation. Although the prospect of such a decision by the owner raises all kinds of legal, contractual, and liability questions, this column will focus solely on what it means for the commissioning professional.