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How To Do HVAC Commissioning in Healthcare Facilities

Facility managers should always speak up during development of owner's project requirements regarding HVAC design, installation, commissioning, and operations. Especially operations.

By M. Troy Smalley and Ric Rambacher    Green   Article Use Policy

Nothing will make people unhappier, quicker, than being too hot or too cold. The design engineer is going to design the HVAC system to meet the code and conform to all standards of best practice. But the facility operators are familiar with their practices, the ones they’ve developed through years of experience. Speaking up in the owner’s project requirements workshop can help guide the designers towards solutions that the facility management team knows work best in this application.  

During the construction phase of commissioning, the facility management mechanical engineering staff can point out installation issues, such as potential problems associated with access to equipment, quality issues, problems with equipment supports, and potential problems with material or system compatibility. Why? Because they have had to repair or replace every type of valve, variable air volume box, coil, diffuser etc., throughout the facility. A little time spent helping the CxA develop the installation checklists could save huge amounts of time and expense later. Wouldn’t it be nice to point out that the manual air vents on all the VAV boxes need to be accessible before the project is completed and the ceiling is up?

As is the case with any successful operation, people are the number one resource. In healthcare facilities, this is especially true. The  facility management team plays an integral role in the building commissioning process, especially in the pre-design and operation phases. If the facility management team doesn’t participate fully, they may not like what they end up with when the building is handed over to them. Remember the old adage, “He who is silent is understood to consent.” 

Troy Smalley, P.E., CCP, (msmalley@rimkusbc.com), mechanical engineer with Rimkus Building Consultants, has more than 20 years of engineering experience, including the design of HVAC systems, plumbing systems, fire protection systems, and building commissioning. 

Ric Rambacher, P.E., (rrambacher@rimkus.com) principal consultant with Rimkus Building Consultants, has more than 40 years of experience in the design of industrial, municipal, educational and commercial facilities, including systems analysis. 


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posted on 9/24/2018