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Commissioning of facilities

This guideline provides information on the general processes, which are to be followed for the commissioning of facilities where capital works have been carried out.

The commissioning process can be undertaken by a consultant / contractor or agency / health service representative but should include representatives of the agency and be overseen by the project control group (PCG) or steering committee. The superintendent of the contract, generally the project manager or principal consultant, is responsible for ensuring that commissioning is effectively completed as programmed.

The main objectives of appropriately commissioning a facility are to:

  • ensure new facilities and equipment are ready for occupancy and use, i.e. fit for purpose
  • ensure that the new equipment meets all Government legislative requirements such as the Essential Services Management Act and prescribed energy levels under the Victorian Greenhouse Strategy
  • train staff in the operation of new equipment and safety procedures
  • identify any minor defects which require rectification by the contractor
  • receive all warranties and procedure manuals.

Each project is individual and will have some issues unique to its own specific circumstances.

There are two types of commissioning:

  • building commissioning – refers to the physical facility completion for occupation by the contractor. The activities include the successful running of all plant and equipment
  • operational commissioning – refers to activities undertaken leading up to handover of the building to the users. Typical activities include familiarisation of staff with safety, security and communications systems.

The participants are the:

  • contractual parties including the superintendent, the principal and the builder
  • commissioning team including staff, consultants and contractors.

The superintendent is responsible to ensure coordination and that the process is undertaken in close liaison with the executive of the agency / service provider.

Commissioning requires that all parties agree the facilities are fit for purpose. The formal recognition of reaching this milestone is the practical completion certificate and the certificate of occupancy (or its equivalent), the release of 50% of the bank guarantee / retention fund for the project and the handing over of full responsibility to the principal for occupation.

Building commissioning

Building commissioning refers to activities undertaken by representatives of the contracting parties, ie the project team leading up to the practical completion and prior to the handover of the building to the principal for occupation.

Building commissioning process
Building commissioning process

Operational commissioning

Operational commissioning refers to activities undertaken by the principal leading up to and after handover to ensure staff are familiar with operating the facility before client services commence.

These include formalisation of new procedures, operational briefings, new equipment, relocation of staff and new appointments, furniture and equipment purchases, establishing asset registers and maintenance programs.

Operational commissioning process
Operational commissioning process

Maintenance during defects liability period

The defects liability period is generally 12 months. During the defects liability period the maintenance procedure should be established to include:

  • Maintenance monitoring through maintenance records incorporating all comments, rectification works and any new defects. Staff nomination of the officer responsible for action or engagement of suitable resources, so the maintenance monitoring records are transferred to the officer accordingly.
  • Each quarter the superintendent is to provide a report to the principal indicating:
    • maintenance is required
    • maintenance has been undertaken
    • defects have been completed / rectified
    • new faults have been discovered
    • any recommendations, suggestions, comments or any other relevant issues needing attention or action.
  • The contractor and consultants are to verify the maintenance report as being accurate.
  • The contractor shall action any new recommendation from the report.
  • The reports are to be incorporated into the maintenance manuals as part of the quality assurance, recording and tracking of asset conditions.

Final certificate

Prior to the end of the defects liability period, the superintendent shall in conjunction with the principal’s representative and the principal consultant / subconsultants ensure that all final defects have been addressed.

The milestones for the end of the defects period are the issue of the final certificate, the release of the remaining 50% of the bank guarantee / retention fund for the project and the handing over of the management of any future defects and maintenance items of the facility to the principal.