‘PICKING UP THE TAB’ – THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMISSIONING IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Buildings are designed to meet the needs of the people who live and work in them by creating a comfortable, productive and sustainable environment. So, why do construction contracts focus heavily on the construction process, with little or no emphasis on the future operation of the building?

The commissioning process in the UK, also known in the US as TAB (Testing, Adjusting and Balancing) can validate a building’s usability, functionality, environmental comfort and performance criteria. Some may say that commissioning validates the future needs of the building. If this is the case, why do most standard form contracts fail to describe commissioning as an activity that defines completion?

Completion is an important contract mechanism that can directly trigger actions, obligations and often terminates commercial liability. The upfront cost of commissioning may have little significance on the final account, but it does serve the greater purpose of ensuring that:

  • the building is operationally ready;
  • the building performs to suit its required function;
  • the MEP systems performance is a high standard for a longer term.

PROFILE

Robert Eadie is an Associate Technical Director in HKA, a Chartered Engineer, member of Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and member of the Commissioning Specialist Association. As part of HKA Engineering – Buildings sector, Robert provides expert advice in dispute and claims services relating to building services engineering and commissioning services. In the Buildings sector HKA provide experts in all disciplines associated with the construction and operation of buildings.


This publication presents the views, thoughts or opinions of the author and not necessarily those of HKA. Whilst we take every care to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the content is not intended to deal with all aspects of the subject referred to, should not be relied upon and does not constitute advice of any kind. This publication is protected by copyright © 2019 HKA Global Ltd.

Some may say that commissioning validates the future needs of the building. If this is the case, why do most standard form contracts fail to describe commissioning as an activity that defines completion?”
Robert Eadie, Associate Technical Director, HKA
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