Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 272).
Should the commissioning manager be involved in elevator (lift) and escalator systems commissioning?
The short answer is NO! There are valid reasons for this, such as:
- Deep domain expertise is required.
- Elevators and escalators are serious items and can impact occupant safety when they fail.
- Third party involvement impacts warranties, insurance cover and assignment of liabilities.
Commissioning is the advancement of a system from a state of static completion to full dynamic operation in accordance with specified requirements. A one time event relating to new construction or new installation, so this fits with transportation systems. However, CIBSE Guide D: 2010 notes that commissioning transportation systems consists of:
- On and off site inspections
- On-site testing
- Preventative maintenance
Despite the serious nature of items 1 thru 3 and the deep domain knowledge required for items A thru D, commissioning managers and engineers, particularly those from the UK, do get involved in commissioning building transportation systems. Remember in many jurisdictions, if you witness and sign a test sheet related to elevator and escalator commissioning, you and your firm assume liability. Are you insured for this?
It is however, completely legitimate for commissioning managers and engineers to lead Integrated Systems Testing (IST) and verify system and inter-system functional performance of all the building systems that interface with the building transportation systems.
There are various international codes and regulations for building transportation systems and IST that contradict each other, have pro’s & con’s and are sometimes ignored. What we think of them does not matter, they have to be followed.
Generally, this is my take (do your own research) on good practice for testing interfaces with building transportation systems.
- Schedule all building systems that connect with the building transportation systems. Depending on building use and complexity, this can include:
- Fire alarm (sensors, horns and strobes in elevator machine rooms and maintenance pits)
- Public Address
- Sprinkler system (elevator machine rooms)
- HVAC equipment (elevator machine room ventilation, heating and cooling)
- Elevator pit sump pumps
- Smoke control systems (elevators can be part of the evacuation strategy or have to return to ground and stop)
- BMS system (transmission and retransmission of alarms plus instructions to shutoff or run HVAC equipment)
- Emergency power system
- Schedule all building systems interfaces with the building transportation systems.
- Split the list into “software” and “hard wired” interfaces.
- Write a cause a effects matrix that incorporates all “software” and “hard wired” interfaces in all modes of building operation.
- Write test scripts to functionally test the systems in:
- Normal operation
- Failure to operate (break down) scenario
- Power failure scenario
- Fire alarm scenario
- Execute test scripts and record test results.
- Demonstrate to AHJ as required.
Yes, trust your instincts, this is a lot of work with multiple players. However, it has to be done to ensure full building functionality and safety for occupants. Also, AHJ assume someone has done all this and the engineers of record have signed it all off.
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