Here are reasons why businesses and/or building managers should have a second opinion, or third party review:
Some projects have a commissioning component, which essentially confirms for the owner that the design produced by the design team (architects/engineers) is installed and operating per the design intent. The commissioning agent performs functional tests to ensure that the design (namely HVAC) and install are the same. If the system is not performing as designed, tests are performed to discover why and what needs to be fixed and/or changed. Enhanced commissioning takes this a step further and reviews the plans during design to make sure that there is proper access to vital pieces of equipment (motors, valves, etc.). While we feel that commissioning is generally a good idea, it is also not always required unless it is a LEED certified project – provided that the design is thorough and complete, the mechanical contractors produce high-quality work, and the test and balance (TAB) contractor is methodical and comprehensive. Commissioning can also be expensive, and again, if all of the above is true, it can be expensive.
WHAT IS 2ND OPINION?
This is a service that we offer, wherein we review the schematic design and construction documents (plans and specifications) for the owner prior to bid and/or construction, and look for the following:
- Is the proposed system the most energy efficient?
- Is the proposed system easily maintained? Too often architects and engineers neglect to see the building’s lifetime maintenance costs associated with various different systems. Maintenance costs can easily erase any energy costs.
- Does the proposed system fit within the project budget?
- Can the proposed system be constructed within the owner’s time constraints?
- Is the design complete enough to avoid costly change orders and time delays?
- Is the proposed system code compliant?
Neglecting or overseeing any one of the above can result in lawsuits, excessive costs (both first and operational), loss of business, and time. The cost of just one change order can be several times the cost of a 2nd Opinion – is it worth the risk?