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MSC Project: Real-Time Fixes Keep BAS Commissioning Proceeding Smoothly

Mechanical Service Corporation assisted the commissioning agent on a large R&D laboratory project recently and also worked closely with the building automation system (BAS) contractor to keep the commissioning process proceeding as smoothly as possible. The move-in date for incoming personnel was set in stone, as the facility they were vacating had been sold, so on-time completion was crucial.

As systems were brought online one by one shortly after startup, a number of common, not-unexpected issues such as VFD faults, breaker trips, high static pressure, and faulty instruments were swiftly addressed and corrected. Once these problems were resolved, however, a new set of more serious issues quickly became apparent.

These problems included:

  • Large chilled water and hot water control valves had the wrong spring ranges, making discharge and room temperatures difficult to maintain.

  • Airflow and water flow measuring stations and instruments were not placed properly and were reading in turbulent areas, causing sporadic and false readings.

  • Humidification control valves on air handlers and trim humidifiers were not set up correctly and valves were not seating properly, allowing humidification and steam to pass. This resulted in duct work filling with steam and condensate.

Time was of the essence to complete the repairs necessary to complete commissioning due to the looming move-in date, so MSC immediately ordered parts for next-day delivery as need was determined. Meanwhile, several MSC service technicians set to work making repairs that did not require replacement parts. Working with several instrumentation vendors, we were able to replace valve springs, flow elements, and faulty instrument hardware to bring more systems online successfully and into the commissioning process.

Our service technicians utilized thermal imaging cameras on cooling and heating coils to uncover problems with control valves and ultrasonic flow meters needed for proper flow. We performed vibration analyses to detect out-of-spec vibration conditions, and Fluke digital multimeters were used to reveal issues with VFDs and the motors they serve. We also incorporate the use of NIST-traceable data loggers to record temperature, humidity and pressure to confirm proper operation after the repairs.

Each area was retested as repairs were made to verify proper operation and resume commissioning. Ultimately, by managing and assigning the right technicians to the individual tasks and managing parts requests, orders and deliveries, the commissioning process was successfully completed on schedule.


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