Tag Archives: mechanical

Commissioning Authority

I have been in the HVAC Industry for 30 years and the amount of nonsense that goes on in any given project, never ceases to amaze me. Projects that run ridiculously over budget, technical equipment not functioning as designed, engineers that lower the bar to account for mistakes, and numerous other deficiencies that are passed on to owners.
The Construction Industry has changed extensively over the past 10 years, building structures and its systems are more complex. Systems such as, Communication Networks, Computer Servers, Surveillance Equipment, Building Automation, Sprinklers, Fire Alarms, tighter building envelops and complicated HVAC to mention a few. Added to this mix, are many new building codes that demand higher efficiency and stricter safety requirements. All these changes necessitate a higher level of skill which is increasingly difficult to hire as the skilled labour pool continues to shrink.

During this same time period, I have seen millions spent poorly and millions, needlessly added in future operating cost. Many owners and tenants have been disappointed to put it mildly. Had there been better planning in the beginning, a little more watch over the work site, during construction and proper commissioning on completions, a large amount of this money, could have been saved or, at the very least, better invested. Many new tenants and owners, would be much happier if they got what they paid for, instead of being stuck unexpected additional costs.

dirty filter-3
Heating Loop side stream filters

For example, this image is a water filter from a hydronic system. The building was less than 3 years old and there are serious mechanical issues. The mechanical system likely cost a million+ and, a particular filter was specified but never installed. The filter housing is worth $100.00 and was installed on the heating loop, afterwards. It was in place for about 2 hours before being pried from the filter housing. The muck on the filter is mostly iron combined with other contaminates. Some of the muck has been caught in the filter, much more can be found in every bearing, pump, sensor, valve, boiler and heat exchanger in this building. It will be almost impossible, to completely remove the material, the best you can do is to reduce it. It will cause damage to this mechanical system, for years to come and should have never been allowed to occur in the first place. The missing filter was not the cause of these issues but would have reduced the damage. In this case, the developer had a reputable design team, an experienced general contractor, and basic commissioning at the end of the project. So why did this problem occur and how would you prevent it from occurring again?

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