Commissioning Teamwork

May 29, 2018 10:38 am || || Categorized in:

How to best develop good teamwork across the General Contractor, subconsultants, CxA, and Operations during a project.


The Commissioning process is the Owner’s quality-oriented process for achieving, evaluating, and documenting that the performance of buildings, systems, and assemblies meets defined objectives and criteria, BSR/ASHRAE/IES Standard 202P (2012). The Commissioning Process assumes that owners, programmers, designers, contractors, and operations and maintenance entities are fully accountable for the quality of their work. The Commissioning team uses methods and tools to evaluate that the project is achieving the Owner’s Project Requirements throughout the delivery of the project.


Every project has inherent conflict and commissioning projects are no exception. However, conflict does not always signify a negative outcome, rather it is healthy by-product of projects moving through their lifecycle. Effective teamwork does not happen by chance, it is enabled though common approaches and strategies. Key components of all commissioning projects include clarity of the following: roles and responsibilities, scope, commissioning plan, OPR & BOD requirements, commissioning specifications, QA/QC checklists, functional performance tests and integrated systems tests. All parties engaged in the project need to understand how they fit into, and support, the above ensuring that all hand-offs are known and acknowledged.


Commissioning teamwork is frustrated when there is a lack of definition and clarity on a project. In those situations, ambiguity reigns, and many project parties will default to commercial discussions rather than working together to deliver the project. When clarity exists, all parties know and understand how they are to operate within the boundaries of the project and this enables significant increases in team work as engagements are less likely to be derailed by commercial conversations.


On a recent client project, CAI was engaged early in the commissioning lifecycle, and we were able to leverage our experiences with the client and with continuity of many project parties. This enabled a period where full transparency was possible. CAI communicated, many months in advance, the full commissioning plan including all vendor supports, vendor training, commissioning network requirements, loadbank deployment, power quality meter, and datalogger placements. With this early planning, all impacted parties had an opportunity to review and buy-into the proposed plan, and any commercial impacts were raised earlier in the process, rather than at a point in the future where it becomes more challenging.  This resulted in more open communication and a coordinated effort for successful project outcome rather than a primary focus of protecting one’s commercial interest. Teamwork and conflict are not mutually-exclusive but open communication and early engagement helps ensure that positive conflict is more prevalent on construction commissioning projects. 


About the Author:

Niall Killeen, Director of Operations, Northern Europe, is a project management professional and commissioning manager with over 15 years’ industry experience in technological, financial, and regulated environments. Niall is currently the Client Manager and Senior Project Manager for all European data center commissioning, actively managing multiple hyper-scale (five-nines) engagements in various countries.

 Want to chat with Niall? Email him at 


BSR/ASHRAE/IES Standard 202P (2012), Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems, Second Public Review (November 2012).