March 26, 2013

Operator Training During Functional Testing

With LEED, green buildings, and energy efficiency being a hot topic these days, mechanical systems in buildings are becoming much more complex and more difficult to understand and control. Mechanical designers are finding new innovative ways to recover energy, to provide energy efficiency, and to cut the cost of operating the building, all while maintaining occupant comfort. The ideas and designs of these systems are all great, but what happens once the building is handed over to the Owner, and their operating staff takes over control of the building?

A part of the commissioning process is to provide the Owner and their team with a well-planned out and detailed training course of all the equipment, all the systems and most importantly the building automation system (BAS). When it comes to equipment training, there is always maintenance of the equipment and troubleshooting which is covered in training sessions. Manufacturer’s training sessions are great for this and give operators a lot of knowledge on the particular piece of equipment. When it comes to complex systems like the BAS, one or two days of training may not be sufficient. Operators will usually get a brief understanding of the control system, but will likely not fully understand all the control sequences – and with complex mechanical systems come complex control sequences!

During functional testing – the commissioning consultant, controls contractor and mechanical contractor all get together and test each and every control sequence to verify it is operating as per the control sequence. Why not have building operators available during the functional testing to observe? This would allow for them to see how the systems are designed to operate, and how the control sequences work to achieve the control requirements. Most of all, with complex control sequences – they will see how all the building systems are interconnected. Another bonus to this – should they have any questions, who better to ask than the people who are ensuring the system is operating as intended?

In the end, a better knowledge of the control system and control sequences will allow for operators to better understand what is happening in their building. And understanding what is happening allows them to better troubleshoot any problems, and this leads to what we all strive to deliver – occupant comfort.

Co-ordinating a proper training program is one of the many services we provide at CFMS. Please contact us with any questions.

Why Commissioning