This phase differs from the others in the project in that some of its processes overlap the earlier predesign, design and documentation, and construction phases. It also differs in that it continues after the project is completed and some of the previous participants are no longer required. This section will discuss the operations that constitute the postconstruction phase of a project, indicate when those take place during the building project, and describe those that continue long after the project is completed.

Building Commissioning

Building commissioning is often thought of as a postconstruction program, because in this phase the building is inspected to ensure that it was built as planned and will operate as planned. However, building commissioning is really a process that provides the client with assurance that the building has been programmed, designed, constructed, and put into service according to the client's expectations. There are several different aspects of building commissioning; they include opportunities for operations and management input into final design decisions, system verification, the provision of operations and maintenance manuals, and the production of "as-builts."

During the design phase, the building commissioning process provides the group that will operate the building systems—usually the operations and management department—and the facilities management department, an opportunity to recommend the systems they will maintain. The recommended process is a formal review of the facility designs, prior to final design, by the client' s organization that will operate and maintain the facility. This ensures a seamless operation from the completion of the building project, through the start-up and testing of systems, to the users moving in and operating the building.

During construction, inspectors representing the client and officials representing the community (code inspectors) will monitor the construction process. Some system—such as water and gas, HVAC (both supply and exhaust), control, and others—will be tested upon partial or entire completion. In some cases the code inspectors will certify the systems before they can be put into operation; in other cases the contractor certifies that the systems operate as designed. Occupancy of a new laboratory facility should not occur until the engineering systems designed to safeguard occupants against harm have been tested and verified to he operating properly. Such systems include fire communication, alarm, and suppression systems; laboratory chemical hood ventilation systems; eyewash fountains and emergency showers; and ventilation systems supporting controlled access areas. Validation of these systems should be performed as part of a formal commissioning program that begins prior to or immediately following completion of the construction phase of the project. The EH&S professional assigned to the client team should oversee validation procedures that involve health and safety engineering systems. The project team should also consider

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