Retrocommissioning is a team effort. The way the manager assembles the team depends on the needs and capabilities of the organization. If the department has sufficient in-house resources and the necessary expertise, department technicians can carry out the process. Most departments will have to rely on at least some outside assistance.
Even with sufficient in-house resources, managers might be best served by enlisting outside help. A set of fresh eyes often can detect opportunities that otherwise would go unnoticed. Outside expertise also can help identify and address faulty assumptions regarding chiller operations.
When looking for outside help, managers should identify partners who have experience with similar chiller systems in similar facilities. That partner also must be able to work effectively with in-house personnel, particularly during the data collection and analysis phases. Managers should require prospective partners to identify facilities for which they have performed retrocommissioning tasks, and managers should meet with their peers from those facilities to review the prospective partner's performance.
Even with outside help, managers need to understand they will have to commit significant resources to the retrocommissioning project. They will have to track down documents and make them available to the team, and maintenance personnel will need to be available to discuss maintenance and operating practices with the retrocommissioning team.
Finally, managers will have to provide insight regarding the department's future plans that might impact chiller operation. The process truly is a team effort.
James Piper, P.E., is a national consultant based in Bowie, Md. He has more than 25 years of experience in facilities maintenance, engineering and management issues.
Chillers: Retrocommissioning Restores Design Characteristics
Chillers: Steps to Retrocommissioning
Chillers: Assembling a Retrocommissioning Team