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Engineers performing part of a functional test

When your building was initially conceived, you had a clear vision for its purpose. The spaces and systems were designed and installed to fulfill that plan. But now, as your building progresses through its lifespan, it’s likely to encounter a natural entropy – changes in how it is used and normal wear-and-tear as well as more difficult challenges such as humidity issues, ‘hot spots’, or unexpected increases in utility usage.

Functional testing is an aspect of all commissioning processes. It can be particularly beneficial for existing buildings as a part of ongoing commissioning to preserve the life and success of your buildings’ operations.

At Paladin, we’re experts in functional testing for new construction and existing buildings as a part of our comprehensive commissioning process. Our knowledgeable team has combined everything you need to know about the basics of functional testing for your existing building, so you can enhance your opportunity for a building that operates at peak performance.

Contact Paladin to learn more about the complete commissioning process for your building.

What is Functional Testing?

Functional testing is an active step in the building commissioning process. It is a planned simulation of the normal operations of the building to pinpoint errors, faults, and inefficiencies. Functional testing occurs during the Investigation Phase following the Initial Assessment.

During the Initial Assessment, Paladin performs an in-depth discovery to learn about your buildings’ unique systems through existing documentation, any available controls and trend data, and utility meter history. Our team compiles the Current Facility Requirements, or performance criteria, for the building at this stage so we know what should happen when your building is running well. The discovery phase narrows the issue down to the specific equipment and systems that need further investigation.

Functional testing is the right diagnostic tool because we break the problem system down into the steps of a checklist. The response of the equipment and systems is evaluated to see if the components are operating to the performance criteria. A careful review of the results is required to identify the underlying causes of system issues and develop potential solutions. The problem you or your building’s occupants have been experiencing is validated and a recommendation is provided to lead you toward a solution.

Functional testing is also a verification tool that can help confirm improvements and changes to your building have the desired impact. After any updates, improvements, or changes are made to your system, we will then retest and repeat the process to ensure all issues have been properly addressed.

Types of Functional Testing

There are several types of functional testing, each with its own strategies and procedures depending on the building aspect being tested. Common functional testing types Paladin conducts include:

  • Unit Testing: Unit testing, or component testing, tests an individual unit or piece of equipment.
  • System Testing: A system test observes the functions of a group of units and how they interact as a system.
  • Integration Testing: When a building has one or more systems working together to complete a specific function or operation, integration testing can confirm the systems are interacting properly.

When Should You Conduct Functional Testing on an Existing Building?

Functional testing and other retro-commissioning activities can be implemented for your building and its systems at any point in the building’s lifespan. It’s often requested when an existing building experiences frequent and repetitive problems within its operational systems. This can range from water infiltration and condensation leaks to comfort complaints or excessive energy bills.

To help reduce system-wide issues and detrimental operational hazards, schedule regular functional testing as a part of your ongoing commissioning process. Function testing is a safe and effective way to identify the root cause of operational challenges and develop efficient and manageable solutions.

Benefits of Functional Testing

Your building is made up of a complex group of systems and units that keep your occupants comfortable and your building operational. Even the smallest of problems with a tiny valve or sensor can alter or hinder the function of an entire system. Functional testing and issue resolution can lead to corrections and improvements to your building’s performance.

Contact Paladin for Trustworthy Functional Testing

Functional Testing for existing buildings can help ensure that your desired operational goals for your building are met year after year. When you choose to work with our commissioning team at Paladin, you’ll receive personable guidance and quality testing for all of your units and systems. Contact Paladin to start the commissioning process for your existing building today.