What Is Building Commissioning Software?
June 17, 2021
Building commissioning software turns the process of testing and optimizing equipment and building systems into a digital-based one. Taking the place of paper- and computer spreadsheet-based methods, it’s designed to streamline workflows and introduce efficiencies lacking in these traditional methods.
Part of that traditional approach involves starting the commissioning process when the project is near completion. But actually, the ideal time is at the beginning of the project, becoming a parallel process alongside quality assurance. And building commissioning software makes this possible. Where this can have the most impact is in large-scale, complex structures and their sustainability and energy-efficiency requirements — which this software is uniquely capable of handling. So what does this software do that ends up playing such a vital role in these kinds of projects?
Centralizes all commissioning documentation
Think of all the systems that go into one of your capital projects, each one requiring installation verification and functionality testing for accuracy, quality and efficiency. Cloud-based commissioning software centralizes and organizes in a single repository all the associated commissioning documentation for each of them: tests, photographs, videos, inspection checklists, collaboration notes, compliance verification, etc. Some solutions may offer online form builders — as well as built-in checklists and templates for inspection, testing and quality control for systems ranging from electrical to HVAC to structural. Locating everything in what is essentially one virtual file cabinet ensures everyone from architects to contractors to craftspeople to post-build operations teams knows where to go for the documents they need, even months and years later.
Captures and tracks issue detection and resolution progress in real time
Something no one wants at the end of a project is to realize a defect that could have been addressed earlier wasn’t taken care of. Building commissioning software with mobile capabilities enables you to track and address it in real time. Through an app on your internet-connected mobile device, any quality, safety or functionality issues can be logged, photographed and detailed as they’re found. From there, the contractor can assign each one to the appropriate subcontractor for immediate repair or resolution. After work is finished, the subcontractor can then use the app to mark it as complete and provide photographic and testing evidence. There’s a long-term benefit that goes beyond this real-time resolution: you wind up with a running log of these issues and their repairs that can be leveraged for troubleshooting any problems down the road, even after handoff.
Cuts the data entry error rate and increases accuracy
Accessing commissioning software via a mobile app means you can input data directly from the job site. The result? More accurate, timely data. Form fields within the software help you capture the required information using only the allowable data entry values and ensuring no skipped field. This completely bypasses the issues and errors often experienced using traditional methods — indecipherable details scribbled in haste, values transferred incorrectly from paper to spreadsheet, overlooked information that doesn’t get entered at all, or data that’s entered late.
Streamlines collaboration and the commissioning workflow
It might sound odd that software designed to make documentation easier also makes collaboration possible. But issue resolution depends on regular communication about status and progress to keep defects from worsening and reduce the potential for preventable delays. That’s a factor to consider in complex or long-term builds in which multiple workflows can be a challenge to accurately manage. Where this can be a more fragmented experience with traditional methods, software allows tracking of overlapping commissioning workflows, so deficiencies are recorded, tracked and resolved more efficiently and quickly.
Trims the punch list item resolution timeline
Punch list items have a way of rolling downhill, right? One critical item to repair can impact other work or trigger delays. However, that real-time issue tracking and resolution that makes building commissioning software so valuable helps shorten not just the punch list, but the time it takes to create it and remedy the problems.
Reduces the amount of rework before handover and the number of callbacks afterward
One of the goals of building commissioning software is to reduce the potential for rework. The benefits of limited or no rework can trickle down to contractors and subcontractors: less chance of being hit with a liquidated damages claim for missing the completion deadline, and accelerated contract retention payments. With software making the commissioning process more accurate and efficient, there’s also less likelihood for callbacks after handover (a sure ding in the net ROI). And when it comes time to hand over the project to the owner, a few clicks within the software can prepare a highly organized turnover package with installation, testing and operational data.
Increases confidence in commissioning
These capabilities can inspire a higher degree of confidence in your commissioning process. It’s a confidence that comes from having taken a proactive approach to it right from the beginning, being certain that all deficiencies have been identified and resolved, and that everything has been tested and quality-checked along the way.
Ultimately, building commissioning software is meant to shorten the commissioning time and streamline the process of outfitting and testing internal systems and equipment so they function optimally throughout a structure’s life cycle — with fewer repairs, more energy savings, and more proactive maintenance. What can that mean for construction companies? A happier client and more potential for future projects.
InEight’s safety, quality and commissioning software is one solution that can deliver these benefits to you. Find out how it can help you meet your future capital project requirements by scheduling an InEight demo.