The Transition to Operational Stability

The commissioning process as best understood and applied today is materially completed at the end of construction and typically just prior to the owner taking occupancy of a facility or space. Yes, there are seasonal tests that are deferred and revisited as appropriate but for all intents and purposes the commissioning process has been completed at this stage…but should it be?


An emerging trend extends the presence of the commissioning process well into and even through a typical construction warranty period. The transfer of knowledge to actual building operations staff as well as other key building occupants has traditionally been handled in few days or even a couple of weeks of well documented owner’s training. The training is often critical for operational staff to understand the building systems in place, the parameters of their operation and how they are applied and located within their facility. The problem with this approach is that often times the operator will be often be new to the organization and sometimes will have never even set foot in the facility for which he is now responsible. The ability to learn and consume detailed operational information is somewhat limited for obvious reasons. It is impossible to impart an extreme level of detailed information on an individual or team of individuals in a couple of weeks when the team of trainers has become intimately familiar with the facility and systems over a period of weeks, months or even years.


The idea of transitioning a facility, space or building to operational stability as it is managed through its first full year of occupancy is beginning to emerge and the value of the approach is fairly significant. When applied in a more systematic manner, in more manageable pieces and when coupled with data, information and user friendly dashboards the building operations and maintenance staff receives maximum benefit. A substantial, in depth training and working knowledge of the facility throughout its operational ranges will typically be experienced in a full year of operations. The support and guidance of commissioning personnel during this transition can bring significant long term value to a facility for a relatively low investment.


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About Matt Norman


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Matt Norman is the director of Energy Services at McKenney’s and is responsible for our energy-related management, engineering and commissioning teams. He regularly consults with building owners and managers who are seeking measurable energy efficiency gains through equipment right-sizing and advance system controls. Along with other notable projects, Matt’s portfolio includes the Duke Energy Center—the first-ever LEED® Platinum-certified commercial office building under the LEED Core & Shell rating system.

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