Commissioning and Testing

What is Commissioning and Testing?

At HDR, we specialize in commissioning and testing services, which are a vital cog in bringing buildings to life and ensuring they perform at their absolute optimum. Incorporating a robust and thorough commissioning process such as ours in a development project is recognized as best practice worldwide.

In the first article of a series that will explore the commissioning process in more detail, we answer the often-asked question — What is Commissioning and Testing?

According to the Commissioning Definitions and Terminology for the Building Industry: A Common Overview 2018 (ASHRAE, CIBSE and AiCARR) commissioning and testing is:

“… the advancement of an installation from the state of static completion to full working order meeting the specified requirements. It includes the setting-to-work of installation, the regulation of the system and the fine-tuning of the system.”

The commissioning process is a quality-focused process for enhancing the delivery of a project. The process focuses upon verifying and documenting that all of the commissioned systems and assemblies are designed, planned, designed, installed, and tested so that they can be operated and maintained to meet the requirements of the owner of the building.” Let’s drill down further into what this means:

Building services systems should undergo a series validation exercises and controlled, coordinated tests in several operating and failure scenarios to see that they work as reliably and efficiently as the designers intended. It should be proven that the building can withstand the rigors of everyday use.

The words ‘controlled’ and ‘coordinated’ are key here. In modern commercial offices and data centers for example commissioning is a complex and highly technical process that requires considerable attention to detail and ongoing day-to-day, even hour-by-hour planning.

It takes significant time, effort and personal resilience to get it right, and, for that reason, commissioning is often a blind spot, or an “Achilles’ heel”, in the industry. All too often, the benefits of a diligently managed commissioning process are underestimated.

These benefits include:

  • Legislative compliance
  • Repeatable compliance with design requirements
  • Improved workplaces and user experience
  • Improved sustainable design, operation and energy efficiency
  • Reduction of future operational risk, overall maintenance and utility costs
  • Life-cycle cost effectiveness and efficient use of investments

Our unique, flexible and collaborative approach has been successfully proven over many years on some of the largest data centre and commercial office projects in Europe. It can be adapted to suit an appointment at any stage of the project and guides clients through each of the five strategic stages in commissioning modern buildings:

  1. Project assessment
  2. Project planning and preparation
  3. Pre-emptive quality assurance
  4. Construction and commissioning
  5. Comprehensive testing and analysis

Frequently, commissioning and testing is that last step in determining how successful a building project is. Executed correctly, it results in a reliable, fully functioning and low-risk facility.

Mike O'Mahony Photo
Commissioning Managing Director