Independent Commissioning Agents: Ensuring Efficient Building Systems
Independent Commissioning Agents: Introduction
The development of life sciences projects are invariably complex and time-consuming. There are many moving parts, from process design and construction through to the installation and commissioning of various systems.
It’s crucial to have a team that is dedicated to ensuring that all of the systems in a building are working effectively and, in the V-model type approach of corroborating specifications of performance, in the manner in which they were intended.
This is where Independent Commissioning Agents come in.
Independent Commissioning Agents (ICAs) play a vital role in the building process by providing unbiased and objective testing and verification of building systems. They work to ensure that all systems are installed, commissioned and operating as intended, delivering optimal performance and energy efficiency.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Independent Commissioning Agents and the role of an ICA in the building process.
We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions to help you understand the benefits of using an Independent Commissioning Agent for your next building project.
What are Independent Commissioning Agents?
- Independent Commissioning Agents are essentially third-party experts who are contracted to review and verify that building systems are installed and functioning correctly.
- They generally work on behalf of building owners and operators to ensure that the systems perform optimally, ultimately delivering the best possible efficiencies.
Independent Commissioning Agents are unique in that they have no vested interest in the design, construction, or installation of building systems. They are objective, unbiased, and focused solely on ensuring that systems are installed and commissioned correctly.
Independent Commissioning Agents
Independent Commissioning Agents represent just one of the stakeholders of a successful project, feeding into a cyclical model of project-centric information.
Why are Independent Commissioning Agents Important?
Essentially acting as an agent, independent commissioning agents play a critical role in the building process. The top 5 key benefits of using an independent commissioning agent are identified as follows:
Objectivity: Independent commissioning agents provide an objective, unbiased assessment of building systems, ensuring that all systems are installed and commissioned correctly.
Energy Efficiency: Commissioning agents ensure that all systems are performing optimally, delivering maximum energy efficiency, and comfort for building occupants.
Improved Indoor Air Quality: Commissioning agents verify that HVAC systems are properly installed and functioning, ensuring improved indoor air quality for building occupants.
Cost Savings: Commissioning agents help to identify and resolve potential problems before they become more significant and costly to repair. This can lead to significant cost savings for building owners and operators.
Improved Performance: Commissioning agents ensure that all building systems are performing as intended, improving overall building performance and reliability.
The Role of Independent Commissioning Agents (ICAs) in the Building Process
(Independent) commissioning agents play a crucial role in the building process, working to ensure that all systems are installed and commissioned correctly. A step-by-step overview of the commissioning process looks something like this:
Pre-Construction: Commissioning agents review design drawings and specifications to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement.
Construction: Commissioning agents monitor the installation of building systems to ensure that all work is being done to the highest standards.
Testing and Commissioning: Commissioning agents test and verify that all systems are functioning as intended, making any necessary adjustments to improve performance.
Operations and Maintenance: Commissioning agents provide ongoing support and training to building operators and maintenance staff, helping to ensure that all systems continue to perform optimally.
And through this process, the ICA’s add value by ‘tuning’ the facility to operate economically through such a significant proportion of the building’s lifecycle (cost):
FAQs about Independent Commissioning Agents
What is the difference between a commissioning agent and a building inspector?
(At a high level) a commissioning agent is a specialised professional who is focused solely on ensuring that building systems are installed and commissioned correctly, while a building inspector focuses on ensuring that building codes and regulations are being met during construction. Commissioning agents go beyond what building inspectors do, providing a comprehensive assessment of all building systems to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency. And in doing so focus more on the operation and lifecycle of the building, through the ability of the building and its systems to meet its (user) requirements.
Are independent commissioning agents necessary for all building projects?
While independent commissioning agents are not necessarily required for all building projects, they can bring significant benefits to any building project. The use of commissioning agents can help to ensure that all systems are installed and commissioned correctly, improving energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and overall building performance.
How do I choose the right commissioning agent for my building project?
When choosing a commissioning agent, it’s important to consider their experience and expertise in your type of building and systems. For example, PharmOut are experts within the field of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, laboratories and other health sciences facilities. You should also look for a commissioning agent with a proven track record of delivering quality work and positive results. It’s (always) a good idea to ask for references and to check their credentials, such as certifications and accreditations.
Should the process of independent commissioning be a digital process?
Absolutely. The process should (wherever) possible utilise the available data to provide a digital platform for effective independent commissioning. The asset lifecycle can be broken down into 4 key components:
- Planning assets
- Creating assets
- Operating assets
- Redefining assets
And using a model of the digital integration of this process, such as the concepts of using “digital twins” and “digital shadows”, provides the appropriate platform for the effective management of the assets of the facility.
Ultimately, this approaches the level of “6D”, allowing for the full collaboration and full integration of time management and budget calculations in a cloud-based common data environment (CDE) that allows for Asset Life Cycle Management.
Summary of benefits of using ICAs (Independent Commissioning Agents) to ensure efficient building systems:
- Independent Commissioning Agents can provide a comprehensive assessment of building systems
- They go beyond what building inspectors do and ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency
- Can bring significant benefits to any building project, from small renovations to large-scale new construction
- Provide an objective, unbiased assessment of building systems
- Ensure all systems are performing optimally and delivering maximum energy efficiency and comfort for building occupants
- Using Independent Commissioning Agents can lead to cost savings, improved indoor air quality, and better building performance
- When choosing a Commissioning Agent, consider their experience, expertise, and track record, as well as their credentials
Independent Commissioning Agents play a crucial role in the building process, working to ensure that all systems are installed and commissioned correctly.
They provide an objective, unbiased assessment of building systems, ensuring that all systems are performing optimally, delivering maximum energy efficiency.
The use of independent commissioning agents can lead to significant cost savings, improved indoor air quality, and overall improved building performance. If you’re planning a life sciences project, consider the benefits of using an independent commissioning agent (ICA) to ensure that your building systems are installed and commissioned correctly.