Design Reviews during Commissioning

National Conference on Building Commissioning: May 18-20, 2004

Design Review - Understanding What You’re Getting - Specifying What You Want

Norman L. Nelson, P.E.

Design review is a core commissioning activity and is becoming ever more common in commissioning projects. There are two fundamental objectives that may be used to focus reviews: design enhancement and quality control. Design enhancement seeks to identify improved ways, from the current design, to meet the owner's project requirements. Quality control aims at ensuring that there are no mistakes or oversights in the current design that would prevent meeting the owner's project requirements. To date, commissioning providers rather than owners have driven the rigor and type of reviews performed. Owners should understand the differences in these approaches and be able to specify in their scopes of work how they want their reviews focused and conducted.

General completeness and compatibility of the drawings and specifications are important considerations prior to construction. Many owners consider the Dx phase to primarily focus on checking for errors and omissions in the Construction Documents. The CA role is not to replace the internal QC/QA of the design team, but only to enhance it by reviewing critical areas of importance. Some owners may desire the CA to spend very little effort in quality control review, as that is the role of the design team. Owners often would rather pay the CA to use their design and operating expertise in enhancing the design. However, when quality control is part of the review, the primary areas of concern include:

• General quality and completeness of the documents
• Building envelope openings and mechanical systems
• Air pathways and duct spaces within the envelope
• Area separation, smoke and fire resistive construction requirements
• Control system and electrical system coordination (mechanical equipment and electrical schedules)
• Life safety and mechanical/electrical coordination

This article is from the library of the California Commissioning Collaborative. Read the complete article here.

Also from the CCC is the Design Review Tool Module, a comprehensive 125 page document that is part of the Cx Assistant (TM).