Amping up your Systems Manual

While we are on the subject of the commissioning Systems Manual (see previous post), why not consider creating some added value in your Systems Manual submittals? Time is  precious, so you don't have to reach for the stars the first time out. Improve things incrementally; each time you create a new Systems Manual, take it up a notch. 

One idea is to point out the difference between preventative and predictive maintenance. A great deal of what is called preventative maintenance is actually reactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance resides at the lowest rung on the ladder of maintenance approaches. Why not use the Systems Manual as a tool to help your customers begin climbing that ladder?

One way to do that is in manageable steps. By using some readily available resources, you can give your clients some genuinely practical guidance. PECI, for example, has published "Fifteen O&M Best Practices." Pick one of those as an initial addition to your Systems Manual.

Typically, the primary goal of the preventive maintenance (PM) plan is reliability and increased equipment life. Including procedures to check for efficient operation as part of the plan should enhance this primary goal as well as eliminate unnecessary energy waste. Buildings often have extensive maintenance-focused PM plans, which are rigorously carried out by the O&M staff.

However, even if a piece of equipment or a system is meticulously maintained, if it is poorly operated using inadequate control strategies or improper scheduling, vast amounts of energy waste can occur. Also, poor equipment operation can lead to premature equipment failure (for example, short-cycling) and an increase in maintenance requirements. PM plans tend to focus on component-by-component care, missing the holistic view that sees the operation part of O&M as equal in importance to maintenance.

• Provide a comprehensive O&M plan for the facility by formally including PM procedures for periodically reviewing and monitoring the operating sequences, strategies, and schedules to ensure that the facility operates as efficiently as possible.