Commissioning's Value to Building Operations and Maintenance

Sample Virtual Commissioning Systems ManualDeveloping Systems Manuals for Existing Buildings in a Corporate Environment
Kenneth L. Gillespie, Jr.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Technical & Ecological Services

ASHRAE Guideline 1-1996: The HVAC Commissioning Process describes the Systems Manual as “the composite document that expands the scope of the operation manual and the maintenance manual developed in ASHRAE Guideline 4-1993 by including the additional information gathered by the commissioning process”. It is a progressive concept that unfortunately has not been easy to implement in practical application. One complicating issue is that O&M manuals are already voluminous and sometimes difficult to use. Another is that system manuals are intended for use by various groups with differing responsibilities and technical expertise.

Having been a member of ASHRAE Guideline Project Committee 1-1989R, I recall that the
committee felt very strongly that the systems manual, founded upon the statement of design
intent, was the chief deliverable of the commissioning process. While some effort was made to
flush out the necessary items to be included, the idea took a turn when it was recognized, just
prior to our submittal for public review, that some of these items were also included in ASHRAE
Guideline 4-1993: Preparation of Operating and Maintenance Documentation for Building
Systems. The definition was changed to accommodate this fact, but little more was done to give
it practical meaning. 

After publication of Guideline 1-1996 committee members expended little effort to articulate for
ASHRAE membership at large how the new guideline differed from Guideline 1-1989 or to
publicize our intentions as to why we made the changes we did. I do not feel that this was
intentional. I believe we just ran out of gas. Getting the document through publication was more
than sufficient for most of us.

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