Cal State Fresno contracted P2S to provide commissioning for the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, irrigation and telecom systems for the new addition and renovation of its Madden Library building.
The library project consisted of upgrading the existing 85,000 square-foot four-story library and the addition of an adjoining four-story 160,000 square-foot building and basement. The new and renovated buildings house the file storage, book stacks, offices, reading rooms, seminar rooms, classrooms, and conference rooms.
At first glance, commissioning of the library systems should have been straightforward and simple. And for the electrical, domestic hot water, telecom, and irrigation systems this was true. However, for the HVAC systems, the task was more difficult on two counts. First, the systems were very large where small glitches in operation or controls programming could cause large headaches. Second, progress on the controls portion of the project lagged considerably behind the rest of the trades.
Plus, the new and existing buildings were open to each other on the first floor, so the operation of the old building systems air handling systems affected the pressurization in the new building and vice versa.
P2S commenced commissioning on the buildings in November of 2009. Even though the contractor insisted the work was complete and ready for testing, it soon became clear that programming for nearly all the controls was either incomplete or required modification to match the requirements specified in the construction documents. The P2S commissioning agent led the team through repeated functional testing which regularly identified deficiencies and provided correctional measures. The agent continuously monitored building operations, providing screen shots to the contractor from the controls web interface and worked directly with the contractor during sequences programming—section-by-section—until the work was completed. In July 2010, after nine months of commissioning, the project was finally complete and turned over to the owner.
This project is a perfect example of how critical commissioning is and how it significantly affects a construction project. While a reasonably well operating system was turned over to the campus, it’s difficult to identify just how much would have been missing from proper system performance without a competent commission agent. If P2S had not persisted with the testing, helped resolve issues and followed through on all open issues, the campus would have been burdened with extensive controls work to complete on its own. Since its staff already had a large workload, much of the programming rework required for optimum performance may not have been addressed for years after the project was turned over.