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Commissioning and startup processes are both fundamental to facilities readiness management projects. They ensure correct equipment installation and functionality, meet industry-specific regulation and contract requirements, and help the resulting system operation work as efficiently as possible.

Regardless of the commissioning level that’s required for your project, implementing the process at every step can help you save money in the long run. This article provides an overview of commissioning and startup, the benefits they bring to a project, and practical ways to use them to maximize your project’s efficiencies.

Commissioning and Startup: What’s the Difference?

Some people confuse the terms commissioning and startup when working on facility projects. However, they are two separate processes.

The goal of the startup process is to get the major equipment involved in the project working. This strictly relates to each device’s functionality and whether it’s operating correctly. This is typically when functional testing comes into play to prove operational readiness.

Commissioning, on the other hand, focuses on optimizing the equipment and its advanced functions for peak performance to save energy and resources. Examples of commissioning tests include airflow tests, leak testing, dehumidification tests, and assessments of electrical systems.

Since commissioning piggybacks on the outcomes of the startup process, startup is typically completed prior to full commissioning.

Benefits of Efficient Project Commissioning and Startup

Aside from ensuring that buildings can deliver on the objectives and specifications detailed in the project commissioning plan, efficient project startup and commissioning processes position companies for a host of long-term benefits that add up. These benefits include:

  • Direct and measurable energy savings
  • Greater equipment longevity
  • Fewer deficiencies at the project’s mechanical completion
  • Increased market competitiveness
  • Enhanced system performance throughout each device’s lifecycle
  • Improved sustainability

Ways to Improve Efficiencies During Commissioning and Startup

Implementing commissioning and startup processes may seem like just another coin in the expense bucket, but they can help improve the efficiency of your entire project from the beginning to project completion.

Here are some things you can do to maximize your commissioning and startup procedures for better project outcomes.

Establish Clear Objectives & Test Procedures

It’s hard to create operational efficiencies of any kind without establishing clear goals and measurements. Be sure to develop a commissioning plan during the first project phase to provide an agreed-upon sense of direction. This includes defining key stakeholders and creating a cohesive team as part of the pre-commissioning phase.

Identify Potential Challenges & Risks

The most cost-effective way to manage project challenges is to prevent them from popping up in the first place. Successful startup and commissioning looks ahead to identify possible obstacles and roadblocks that could delay or slow the project down. This lays the foundation for a comprehensive risk management plan, which can ensure a smoother project.

Develop Contingency Plans

It’s nearly inevitable that complex projects like the ones in manufacturing, energy, and construction services are going to run into unforeseen challenges. Your project team should always develop contingency plans as a safety net in case of unpredictable surprises. This will help you overcome them quicker.

Be Proactive

Commissioning should not begin at the tail-end of a project – it should start at the beginning. Being proactive about how the commissioning process will be handled, the performance tests that will be involved, and the workflow of the final report will keep you from scrambling to create a wrap-up document or trying to work backwards. It also allows your commissioning team to collect the necessary project data and complete commissioning documentation as project or construction activities are happening.

Assign Ownership of Tasks

Part of being proactive is to assign tasks early on and ensure each team member understands their responsibilities. This includes delegating wrap-up responsibilities early in the project’s lifespan so each person knows which sections of the final report they have ownership over. Ideally, this should be done prior to performance testing.

Set Up Recurring Meetings

Project success relies on consistent communication. Establishing recurring meetings from the project’s start helps to ensure all vendors and team members are on the same page about current priorities and upcoming tasks. It also provides an opportunity for everyone to be updated on the project’s progress to improve project transparency.

Document Lessons Learned

This may not be the first or last time you’re working on a project that involves commissioning and startup. Because of this, it’s critical to always document lessons learned from different project components. It’s also beneficial to note any items that were overlooked to help ensure increased efficiency during future projects.

The Role of Commissioning Software

Perhaps the biggest step you can take to improve commissioning and startup efficiency is to implement commissioning software at the project’s start. While you may be able to get away with documenting smaller projects using paper and Excel sheets, larger projects should always take advantage of technology that has been designed specifically to enhance the efficiency of these processes.

A commissioning platform increases project transparency, limits opportunities for human error, and can help keep the commissioning and project schedule on time. These commissioning solutions can also:

  • Seamlessly integrate into the certification and punchlisting process
  • Offer a mobile-optimized digital checklist that completely eliminates paper
  • Enable all vendors and project leaders to check on the project progress in real time from a mobile app on their device
  • Identify tasks that might be at risk of falling behind
  • Automate otherwise manual processes to save valuable time
  • Provide easy access to training documentation and materials for maintenance staff
  • Integrate individual systems to provide maximum flexibility
  • Ensure a fully documented audit trail
  • Help the environment by reducing waste

Commissioning management software catapults the commissioning process into the 21st century to improve accuracy, maintain compliance, and increase the project’s overall efficiency. All required documents are stored in one place where anyone who needs access can retrieve them. It can also help with general project management.

The First Step to Improve Commissioning and Startup Efficiencies

When it comes to improving commissioning and startup efficiencies in commercial and industrial projects, the single most impactful change you can make is onboarding commissioning software. With this technology, many of the other ways to improve productivity and project results naturally fall into place.

When shopping for a commissioning management software, be sure to account for its ease of use, level of training required, its interface, and its adaptability to integrate into corporate workflows. In other words, the system should make your job easier, not harder.

TrackerCheck is a great option for companies looking to optimize their project’s results and embrace continuous improvement. Experience uncompromising support from a true partner in the industry. Request a TrackerCheck demo today!



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