SERVICES

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SERVICES

TECHNICAL WRITING

The VirtualCx documentation philosophy is simple: design so that someone else can do it.

Everyone tends to feel that their way of producing documentation is the best way. At first, we felt the same way. But because we've been doing business with many different firms and clients over many years, VirtualCx developed documentation that is thorough and comprehensive, while simultaneously easy to read and intuitive to use. We've found that this approach has satisfied our clients.

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COMMISSIONING DOCUMENTATION

Projects vary. Some projects require more or less documentation to be produced by the commissioning firm. For example, sometimes the subcontractor's own start-up reports/checklists are acceptable replacements for PFTs. And frequently, ISTs are not required for projects. VirtualCx adjusts to your needs.

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WHO USES VIRTUALCX?

Why do companies use us? 

It varies, but typically it's either because they are smaller firms with limited resources, larger firms with a sudden growth spurt or unexpected project load, or perhaps they are very experienced designers and not-so-experienced test writers. Of course, sometimes it's as simple as needing an independent third party. There are lots of reasons. 

This thing is, we enjoy what we do, and we encourage you to contact us.

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GETTING THE TERMINOLOGY IN ORDER 

VirtualCx collectively refers to the items listed below as "Commissioning Documentation Deliverables." Producing these deliverables for you constitutes a great deal of our work. 

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DOCUMENTATION DELIVERABLES

Commissioning Specifications
  1. Available upon request, for an additional fee.
Commissioning Plans
  1. Developed for owners, architects, construction managers, general contractors and utilities. Preparation includes initial draft, versioning and final version.
Pre-Functional Test (PFT) 
  1. The name indicates that these tests occur 'before' functional testing. 
  2. PFTs are less about being a test, and more about being an installation and start-up checks and balance.
  3. Checklists provide step-by-step guidance to assure that equipment and systems are installed properly, started and ready for testing/commissioning.
  4. Typically provided by the commissioning firm, the contractors sign and return
    PFTs prior to functional testing.
  5. At the commissioning firm's discretion, the contractor's own start-up reports/checklists can be acceptable alternatives to PFTs.
System Verification Checklists (SVCs) 
  1. SVC are sign-offs for complete systems, indicating readiness for testing/commissioning. These are often used in lieu of PFTs, to minimize paperwork.
  2. Generally, an SVC is a less comprehensive or less detailed checklist compared to PFTs.
Functional Test Procedures (FTPs)
  1. Sometimes referred to as Functional Performance Tests (FPTs). 
  2. Typically written for HVAC systems, BMS/controls, lighting controls and domestic hot water systems - including for LEED compliance.
  3. Many other FTPs are available, including main utility power, generators, fuel oil, irrigation, green roofs, building envelope, operating rooms, backup power, smoke control, access control, security, A/V, IT, communications/phone, emergency lighting, PA systems, fume hoods, lab control, fan walls, backup power, redundant control systems, UPSs, ATSs, and more.
Check out our Test Guidelines.

Integrated Systems Tests (ISTs)
  1. Sometimes inadvertently referred to as Pull-the-Plug tests. In data centers, ISTs are alternatively referred to as Level 5 scripts. Generally speaking, an IST is considered a Level 4 Cx test, and the Pull-the-Plug test is considered a Level 5 Cx test.
  2. These scripts (an alternative term for written test procedures) are typically highly comprehensive. They are primarily designed to test the interoperability of all systems, as they relate one to the other. For example, what happens to the HVAC systems when the Fire Alarm system goes off? ISTs are designed to provide a high level of assurance that failure will not occur, and if it DOES occur that it occurs in expected ways. t
  3. ISTs are typically performed after PFTs and FTPs have all been successfully completed and signed off.
Pull-the-Plug Test
  1. Pull-the-Plug tests are designed demonstrate what actions and events occur when utility power to the facility fails. Do the expected events occur? Does the generator come on and take over the load? How long does that take? Do Automatic Transfer Switches (ATSs) work correctly. Does egress or emergency lighting stay illuminated. It is a rigorous set of test protocols to scrutinize the continuation of power (transitions from utility to emergency and back) and to also verify what occurs when utility power is restored. Do systems stage back on, or do they all hit the line at once?
  2. Typically written for data centers or facilities which have a high degree of dependence on uninterruptible power.
Check out our Guide to Data Center Test Writing.

Commissioning Issues Log
  1. Typically an Excel document.
  2. Alternatively, cloud-based issues log management is available - this method tends to speed up the response process and improve the tracking granularity.
Commissioning Final Report
  1. Executive Summary, with an overview of the project conclusions/results
  2. Includes significant project commissioning records, e.g., meetings, site visit reports, commissioning reviews and other important documents.
  3. Executed commissioning test procedures
  4. Completed Issues Log
Systems Manual
A useful collection of information for the end user. Typically includes:
  1. Basis of Design (BOD) 
  2. Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) 
  3. Systems Overview, including tips, setpoint tables, and other relevant information
  4. Useful as-built information (BMS 1-lines, lighting zones, sequences of operation)
  5. Blank commissioning tests, for future use
  6. Training sign-offs
  7. Warranty dates
  8. Contact information

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