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Existing Building Commissioning Consulting Services

Paladin’s Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx) services support building and project owners on their path to carbon reduction, energy performance, occupant health and safety, operational stability, risk reduction, and operating cost containment. EBCx is a process of verifying and documenting the way existing building systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, maintained, and commissioned to meet the owner’s operational needs.

Paladin works diligently to identify and correct deficiencies in existing buildings that may be impacting the efficiency, reliability, and safety of the building operations. We verify HVAC, lighting, power distribution, plumbing, and building enclosures to ensure they are operating as intended. Read on to learn more about our Existing Building Commissioning services and the benefits of this service area.

Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx)

Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx) is a systematic process for improving, optimizing, and verifying the performance of building systems and assemblies. Paladin adds value to this process by diving deep into the details with a 365-degree approach examining the interplay of the building with the operators, owners, and occupants. Our approach is holistic and focuses on root cause analysis to positively impact overall building performance.

Benefits of EBCx

Existing Building Commissioning has a place across the spectrum of building types and system complexities from the commercial retail space to the modern research laboratory. EBCx is a process to ensure that the combination of systems and people results in a safe, comfortable, and performing environment. As the system complexity increases and as equipment or building materials begin to age, the conditions requiring a robust EBCx process grow. The goal is to utilize the existing building and systems to meet the goals and objectives of the present day – when a difference between reality and expectation exist, then there is an opportunity for the process of EBCx to support reconciliation. In our experience, the EBCx effort uniformly results in financial and emotional capital savings. 

Here are some other benefits to consider:

-Confirming Facility Requirements: Over time, and especially with the pandemic, occupancy of a building changes. The EBCx process is an opportunity to revisit the original design intent and confirm that the building satisfies current needs. Then, modifications can be updated so that everyone is clear about present-day usage and operating parameters.

-Capital and Maintenance Planning: Through the EBCx process, an equipment inventory assessing the age, condition, and capacity of the systems is completed. Those results can assist in forming a basis for capital and maintenance planning for future years, eliminating unbudgeted surprises and providing tools to ensure the equipment replacement plan stays on track.

-Preventative Maintenance Audit: A review of the quality of regular maintenance activities gives insight into equipment lifecycle and life expectancy. These results can help circumvent premature failures and emergency situations.

-Occupant Comfort: Operator and occupant complaints from system performance drain time, budgets, and goodwill. By reviewing systems and confirming that airflows, settings, temperature, and humidity settings, among other measures, are appropriately meeting the needs of the spaces, EBCx can increase occupant comfort.

Energy and Emissions Reductions: When systems operate correctly, they are optimized for energy and emissions reductions. Through the EBCx effort, small adjustments not requiring equipment replacements can yield surprisingly positive results.

Existing Building Commissioning Process

In our experience, the impetus of an EBCx project is usually driven by a maintenance concern.  Whether the call for EBCx is catalyzed by maintenance issues, occupant issues, or financial issues, or whether EBCx is part of the healthy preventative maintenance culture, Paladin’s approach is targeted and thorough. Paladin frames our commissioning process on the Building Commissioning Association’s Existing Building Commissioning Best Practices. To help illustrate, here’s a very simplified example of what you might expect from our commissioning providers:


1. Planning Phase

The first step of the existing building commissioning process is to gather and analyze data and documentation about the existing building systems, operations, and energy use. We review project documentation including drawings, operations and maintenance record keeping, and utility bills. During this time, questions about facility operations, challenges, and successes are discussed to frame the story of the building and the symptoms that are driving performance questions. The outcome of this stage is documentation of the facility requirements – operating parameters and characteristics necessary for the building to function the way it needs to today.


2. Initial Assessment

The system walk-through is an on-site, hands-on review of the equipment and systems. During this time, we are completing a number of tasks:

  • Full inventory of the equipment including its age and condition
  • Investigation of areas in question identified by interviews and design reviews
  • General observation of building operation
  • The initial formulation of solutions

The review can be focused on a system or span the breadth of the built environment – mechanical, electrical, plumbing, automation, building enclosure, fire alarm, security, and similar systems. Our experience has taught us to first look for visually obvious problems like big puddles on the floor, wires or cables that are not labeled correctly, and concentrating on spaces that are difficult to access.


3. Investigation

The next step in the process is to run through a series of functional and integrated systems tests. This testing process is across the board for MEP systems, but very targeted for building enclosure systems. The outcomes of tests are to observe system operation, control, and response but also to vet out suspicions or questions identified in the system walk-through. 

The outcome of this phase is the formulation of potential upgrades, adjustments, programs, and/or plans to realize the goals and facility requirements of the building.


4. Hand-off

The final step of the existing building commissioning process is the preparation of documentation tools and legacy systems to keep the building optimized over the course of years. This includes training programs, updated sequences of operation, updated setpoints, preventative maintenance recommendations, and schedules, among other valuable tools. A well-done existing building commissioning effort does not just result in a problem solved; it results in a building operation and maintenance team equipped with the tools to sustain performance, comfort, and improvements over the long term.