Owners Specifications and Submittals CommissioningOwners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning - Attention to detail is a prerequisite for commissioning. This is especially true when looking through the project specs and finding the owners requirements for the project and then matching the owner requirement specs to what is provided by the contractor and then documenting everything as the commissioning specifications require. This requires reading the specifications and matching everything up with the submittals for the project. Sometimes this is a monstrous task especially for larger projects with various types of infrastructure.

Owners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning

In this article, we are going to use the owner’s specifications for a flow meter. The flow meter is going to be installed on piping to measure flow for a lift station. The lift station consists of two large pumps, a solid waste grinder, a small crane to lift the pumps out of the lift station well house, and a small building to house the PLC’s for control and remote communication. Since this includes controls the Commissioning Engineer will need to write a functional test script to test the sequence of operation for the lift station. That is in addition to matching the submittals to the specifications to ensure the owner’s requirements are met.

Owners Specifications for a flow meter

Other than reading pages and pages and specifications this is actually an easy process to undertake simply because the owner specified exactly what they wanted by way of the brand, model number, and basic device specs. The contractor provided exactly what the owner specified in the specifications by brand, model number, and basic device specs. It doesn’t always work out that way so you may be required to do a lot of legwork to match everything up and make sure the device provided, in this case, a flow meter, matches the specifications for the job.

Owners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning

In this case, it was an easy process of simply matching the specifications to the submittals sheet provided by the installation contractor. Then to document this we simply add a precheck to the functional test script. When we go into the field to do the actual function/integrated testing we can physically verify what the submittals documented.

flow meter verification functional test script

By doing this we do initial basic check with the submittals and match it to the owner’s requirements and then we verify the device has been installed and document it by writing down the model number and serial number in the functional test script. Along with other basic checks for the installation this documents the contractor provided the device outlined in the owner’s requirements.

The functional testing can proceed to test the system(s) for proper function. When that is completed the integrated testing can proceed to test all the systems running together under real-world circumstances. This includes testing for real-world failures such as power outage. Since a lift station is an important part of the public infrastructure, a standby generator provides backup power in the event of a power failure.

Discrepancies and Failures | Owners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning

If any failures or discrepancies in the installation are noted during the commissioning process, then retesting may be required depending on the failure or discrepancy. All failures and discrepancies are listed in the functional test script and a commissioning punch list. This is usually done on a categorized spreadsheet along with the specific test script from testing. Everything is tracked and then reverified to ensure the problem has been rectified.

In this particular circumstances, a review of the submittals found the flow meter did not exist. The commissioning engineer found the flow meter missing from the submittals for the lift station. He had read the owner’s specifications, in this case, a large metropolitan city, and made a basic checklist of the items including basic devices for the lift station. When reviewing the submittals he matched his list up with the submittals and found the device had not been submitted. A few emails later and the submittal came through from the contractor.

Flow Meter Engineer | Owners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning

The specifications further detailed the requirements from the owner by stating the following:

specifications test requirements

Since certified test reports are being submitted by the factory-trained Service Engineer the functional testing for the flowmeter was unnecessary. The certified test report needs to be provided to the Commissioning Team to be included in the documentation for this project or this specific part of the project if the project is wider than the scope of this installation for the lift station.

In many cases, this owner requirement can save the Commissioning Engineer a lot of time on the job as testing and checkout of a device like this can take additional time especially if the engineer is unfamiliar with the proper installation of such a device. Any device for that matter. While the Cx Engineer is competent in many aspects of engineering I never met anyone who knows everything. Well, I take that back but that is not within the scope of this article.

Conclusion | Owners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning

flow meter documentationFor that one device alone there are nearly 300 pages of technical documentation for the flowmeter. Thankfully the owner made it a requirement to have the installation and calibration of the device certified by a factory-trained Service Engineer. Otherwise, the Cx Engineer would be reading all that documentation to ensure proper operation of the system and compliance with the owner’s commissioning requirements. Yes, there are more specifications to specify commissioning and this is typically where any commissioning effort begins before writing the commissioning plan.

Putting all this together requires a lot of attention to detail for many different things including reading the documentation of owners requirements and submittals and drawings. Making lists, highlighting key aspects and key components, and then verifying everything. Commissioning is a systemic process that matches and tests the entire construction process.

For that reason, some contractors don’t like commissioning teams. Simply because they ask a lot of questions and put a microscope on the work. Those who do quality work really have nothing to fear. They welcome a thorough check of their work. Me, I simply want to do a great job and turn in a superior product when I am finished. One that will leave everyone with the impression that you are the best at what you do. No politics or drama, just good old fashioned quality work that shines and provides examples for others to follow.

MEP Commissioning Flow Chart

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Owners Specifications and Submittals Commissioning

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