Commission This!

June 29, 2015 - Author: Kevin Koss, Senior Mechanical Engineer

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commissioning biosafety laboratory level 3 agricultural hazards

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.

  1. The engineer-of-record ensures a system is designed correctly. 
  2. The contractors make sure material and equipment is installed per the drawing and specifications.
  3. The startup technicians ensure their single piece of equipment is operating correctly. 
  4. 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.


commissioning biosafety laboratory level 3 agricultural hazards

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