June 29, 2015 -Categorized in:
Tags: Labs & Research
While commissioning a BSL-3Ag Lab (biosafety laboratory level 3 for agricultural hazards), I was asked by the project manager to investigate why two high-velocity exhaust fans serving the containment space were not performing as designed. Troubleshooting the system led me to a substantial learning experience.
- The engineer-of-record ensures a system is designed correctly.
- The contractors make sure material and equipment is installed per the drawing and specifications.
- The startup technicians ensure their single piece of equipment is operating correctly.
- Who is looking to make sure “the system” is performing correctly? That should be the commissioning agent.
There is a difference between merely operating and performing correctly. As a commissioning agent, are we only making sure it meets design-intent? Or, are we truly diving into the design and ensuring the system as we leave it is operating at its best possible performance as installed?
I learned that besides verifying the control sequence and set points; it is best to commission the “system” as a whole. Many times some careful set point manipulation and monitoring is all that is required not only to have a better operating system, but also have immediate payback on energy savings.