It is not uncommon, or unexpected, for contractors to see a Commissioning Authority as the “enemy.” After all, CxAs are responsible for assessing the contractor’s construction quality and installation practices, which may mean more work than they are used to. However, commissioning can be much more difficult when you come across a project where neither the project manager nor the owner is familiar with the commissioning process and its benefits. When this is the case, I find they usually chose to commission their project only because of LEED or some another regulation.
It doesn’t matter that the reasons for commissioning are explained to the team in the Commissioning Scoping meeting. At that point, it can seem, commissioning is just extra paper work and yet another hurdle to delay the project’s completion. Some may wonder – “Why pay for commissioning when there are inspections and punch list walkthroughs that seemingly cover all of the same things as commissioning?” Commissioning meetings can be brushed over quickly without engaging in discussions about the project status and upcoming commissioning activities. Unfortunately, until the benefits of commissioning for that particular project are realized, it seems like commissioning will be seen by the owner and project manager as more of a chore than necessary for the successful delivery of their building.
The reason I bring this up is because commissioning is something that works best when there is total buy-in from the entire team (designer, project manager, owner, contractors, and CxA). That doesn’t mean that it is a waste of time to have commissioning when no one on the team is familiar with it. The building will still be commissioned, and work as designed. But, when an entire team is working together with a common goal in mind (a high performance building), a considerable amount of heartburn and strife can be avoided, and commissioning will be substantially more effective.
CxGBS® Partners with Richard Wittschiebe Hand to Meet Georgia Peach Guidelines for Science Building at Georgia Gwinnett College
Apr 20, 2011 Press Release
Duluth, Georgia, (April 19, 2011) — Commissioning & Green Building Solutions, Inc. (CxGBS®) announced today that they have been contracted by Architects from Richard Wittschiebe Hand to commission the new Laboratory Classroom Facility at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Commissioning of the building is required under standards outlined in the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating Systems, a guideline provided by the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Construction Act of 2008 for all newly constructed or renovated state-funded buildings in excess of 10,000 square feet.
The 24,000 square foot building is comprised of eight laboratory classrooms custom designed to allow the school to offer instruction of courses not available in the current academic year. Specially ventilated laboratory support space is also included in the construction. Low VOC materials are being used throughout the building to further enhance the occupant experience.
“It’s an honor to have been selected by Richard Wittschiebe Hand to help them meet the goals of one of the earliest buildings constructed under the Georgia Peach Green Building guidelines,” explained H. Jay Enck, CxAP, HBDP, CPMP, and Principal of CxGBS. “Further we’re pleased that Georgia has joined other states in recognizing the importance of sustainable construction standards.”
In addition to commissioning, the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Construction Standards for State Buildings’ Georgia Peach Green Building ratings system requires buildings be modeled to achieve a 15% reduction in water use (when compared to the Energy Policy Act of 1992) and constructed with not less than 10% of building materials harvested, extracted or manufactured in the State of Georgia (when such products are available).
“After years of living with water shortages and restrictions, Georgia Peach shows how far the state of Georgia has come in recognizing the importance of sustainable construction for our future,” states Tanya Richard, AIA, LEED AP and Associate of Richard Wittschiebe Hand. “We are very pleased to help Georgia Gwinnett College construct a building that will allow them to meet the guidelines and enjoy years of productive occupancy in a building with lower maintenance costs.”
Construction of the science building began in March 2011 and is scheduled to be complete by July in order to meet requirements of the school for setup and move-in prior to the start of the fall semester.
Richard Wittschiebe Hand (RWH) has been providing sustainable planning, architectural and interior design services in the southeast region since 1973. Our work is in the public, private and service oriented sectors. Our firm philosophy is to produce a sustainable design of integrity, appropriate to the budget and location, but also designed to last, standing the test of time. We focus on design simplicity, innovation, and quality to instill a sense of timelessness. The practice is a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE). For more information: www.rwhdesign.com.
Commissioning & Green Building Solutions, Inc. (CxGBS®) is a nationally recognized green building consulting firm that helps clients build environmentally friendly, top performing buildings. The firm’s professionals work with project teams to reduce risk and apply sustainable development principles that lower the total cost of ownership and create healthy conditions for occupants. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with a satellite office in Jackson, Mississippi, CxGBS® offers a comprehensive suite of services to provide high value solutions for better performing buildings including Sustainable Design Consulting, Holistic Commissioning®, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Certification and Forensic Investigation.
Feb 21, 2011 Press Release
H.Jay Enck, Stephen R. Wiggins and John K. McFarland will present Why Commissioning is Here to Stay to the ASHRAE Atlanta Chapter on April 12. Registration and more information at www.ASHRAEAtlanta.org.