Efficiently Navigating the LEED Commissioning Process:
Build the Right Strategy with Facility Grid
Commissioning processes and procedures are nothing new to the construction industry. First introduced decades ago for quality assurance purposes, commissioning – or Cx – can ensure that buildings adhere to the owner’s project requirements (OPR) and basis of design (BOD) specifications. While commissioning hasn’t always been a popular aspect of construction, when done correctly, it can improve a project from the design phase through post construction and occupancy. Project managers and general contractors reap the benefits of a reduced project schedule time and lower costs due to fewer change orders and claims. Building owners and occupants enjoy better energy performance and lower operational costs. Since the commissioning process uncovers issues early, it often saves the owner the expense and hassles of maintenance or safety issues that may occur down the road.
LEED: Commissioning’s next chapter
There’s been a renewed focus on commissioning in recent years as we’ve become more ecologically conscious. The demand for sustainable buildings has risen, and with it arose the need for a standard set of criteria buildings had to meet to be considered “green.” Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was established in 1998 by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to promote practices focused on sustainability. LEED programs are implemented by building developers and owners wishing to achieve energy savings, water efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions and the impact of project resources. A building cannot achieve LEED certification without commissioning, and a commissioning provider (CxP) is a key member of the team that makes it happen.
While general building commissioning comes with its fair share of challenges due to increasing complexity in sequence of operations and system design as well as growing skill gaps and ever-accelerating project schedules, LEED commissioning places an added burden on owners and design-build professionals. Many well-intentioned owners are attracted to the idea of achieving LEED certification and pursue it without fully understanding the financial and other arduous requirements of the LEED commissioning process. With the right strategy, many of these obstacles can be overcome.
Increased project costs
When a project scope includes the goal of LEED certification, it will typically involve more paperwork, additional oversight to monitor sustainable requirements, and the implementation of increased design initiatives. This can make for a time-consuming, complicated process that results in higher costs in new construction and existing building improvement projects.
CxPs can benefit from the streamlined and accelerated processes provided by Facility Grid. Both intuitive and easily accessible, this cloud-based software eliminates many of the manual administrative tasks associated with Cx so program managers can focus on delivering value to the client. With Facility Grid, the right team members are immediately engaged for tasks and flagged issues, so projects are handled with efficiency and accountability. Users can perform and track all Cx activities, document issues and observations, store project documents, generate reports, catalog equipment and systems, and provide transparency into a Cx project’s status – all from within the Facility Grid interface.
For further streamlining of processes, Facility Grid can import spreadsheets with asset data, checklists, and functional testing forms. And as many Cx activities take place on site, Facility Grid also offers a mobile app for iOs, Android and Windows that enables users to be fully productive from any location.
Successfully achieving LEED certification requires the diverse skills and expertise of a cross-functional team, the members of which don’t typically work together on a day-to-day basis. Commissioning providers, building owners, facilities managers, architects, engineers, contractors, maintenance personnel, and corporate administrators must all communicate and collaborate throughout the life of the project.
Facility Grid’s easily navigable dashboards and mobile app allow all stakeholders to see the project’s status in real time. They gain 360-degree visibility via instant access to the up-to-date status of commissioned assets and associated activities against the project schedule. Project participants can quickly communicate and collaborate to make informed decisions, mitigate risks and keep the project on track and on budget.
Real-time tagging of necessary actions to key stakeholders accelerates closeout and handover processes. The proactive and fully automated process encourages records to be tracked and reviewed throughout the course of the project rather than as a time-consuming and counterproductive add-on at the end.
Ever-changing standards, regulations, and technologies
As knowledge of our environmental impact expands and fuels sustainability concerns, new and more rigorous energy efficiency standards are developed to support public health, climate, and clean energy goals. Building designs are also rapidly evolving to incorporate new and more sophisticated building systems. CxPs must keep pace with rapidly changing commissioning practices impacted by factors such as labor shortages and skill gaps, building and energy code updates, evolving LEED standards, and technological advancements.
This increasing complexity demands a commissioning compliance checklist that includes all building systems and updates in real time as tests are performed. With customizable function performance testing (FPT), checklist forms, and real-time project tracking , Facility Grid streamlines the process for CxPs. And long after a project is completed, owners have anytime and anywhere access to Facility Grid’s portfolio of information related to the building’s equipment and systems. This sets the stage for greater efficiencies and ongoing maintenance and compliance across all phases of the facilities management lifecycle.
Reduce complexity while enhancing efficiency & collaboration
The challenges to achieving LEED certification are significant, but for almost every obstacle, Facility Grid has a tool, feature, or functionality that can help. Whether you are a commissioning provider, owner, project manager, general contractor or other stakeholder in the design, build, and commissioning process, you’ll gain game-changing information and insight via Facility Grid’s streamlined, user-friendly interface and analytics reporting.
Our software can be scaled to meet your unique needs. While some users only require a simple cloud-based document management repository and issue tracker, those who use Building Information Model (BIM) and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) programs can utilize one of Facility Grid’s integrations such as our Dynamic COBie-based export or API to automate the population of those systems with Facility Grid data.
Contact us today to request a demo and to determine the model that’s right for your organization.