Commissioning Skills: Documentation

"Documentation is one of the three cornerstones of commissioning (documentation, testing, and training). As such, it only makes sense that the commissioning provider be able to write effectively during all phases of the project and to all project team members. The documentation needs to cover the commissioning process itself and the technical issues that arise as a part of the process. It is in the documentation of the system configurations, operational sequences, and the commissioning process itself that the long-term benefits of commissioning can be realized."[1]

Thinking back, I have been in a lot of commissioning meetings reviewing, for example, the Commissioning Plan and observing how bored everyone was. The boredom can come from a number of things, including the droning voice of the presenter. But it can also come from poorly written and poorly presented material.

As Ms. Ellis implies above, documentation needs to be effective. If it's not, the "long-term benefits" of the commissioning process may be in jeopardy. To offset that trap, commissioning documentation should:

  1. Get to the point
  2. Be highly organized
  3. Tell people no more than what they need to hear
  4. Anticipate the most important questions
  5. Provide an easy way to give them their answers - whether through sparing use of excessive verbiage and boring pages of text, or through easy-to-understand charts, graphs and illustrations.

[1] Article: "Desirable Qualities: so what makes an excellent commissioning provider, anyway?" 2005, Engineered Systems, Rebecca Ellis