Our Pre-Commissioning Process
Keeping teams and processes aligned for a common purpose
It’s easy to take for granted sometimes, but a building is a sophisticated machine full of parts that have to function perfectly. How seamlessly the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and other systems work together is exactly what allows most people to take them for granted.
Nowhere is this as obvious as in healthcare construction. The demands placed on a building are often very strenuous, and the stakes of failure can be life or death. A hospital can’t afford to lose power or have its air quality disrupted when patients’ lives are on the line. At Jaynes, our healthcare division specializes in this type of work because we understand that its complexity demands specialized skills.
One of our largest recent projects, the Pres Tower expansion, posed significant challenges but also gave us an opportunity to grow. To manage the complexity of that project and meet its rigorous demands, we implemented new processes to improve our workflow and make sure every piece of the job comes together on time and is built to the highest standard.
It All Started with Commissioning
Commissioning, often abbreviated Cx, is a process that some buildings go through at the end of construction. A third-party commissioning agent goes through every system to complete an exhaustive checklist, ensuring everything works according to the contract and spec standards. This includes testing how backup systems work together as well as making sure everything is up to code.
Failing a commissioning check is expensive and time-consuming. Repairs at that stage often require substantial backtracking and duplicate work, and the agent’s time isn’t cheap either. Additionally, working with the agent’s schedule as an outside third party can be challenging on a large project if deadlines aren’t accurate.
Working closely with a commissioning agent, we developed a new project management system that helped mirror the Cx process during the planning phase. This brought our work more closely into alignment with those standards, and organized in a way that made it much easier to stay on schedule. Doing this sort of pre-commissioning work helps us be ready well in advance so we’re never surprised by the results of a commissioning report.
Key Plans and Team Alignment
Most general contractors work with pull plans, which are a living schedule of tasks that show where hand-offs happen between departments or subcontractors as a project moves through the stages of construction. We take the pull plan concept a step further with thorough key plans that provide a detailed visual accounting of the project, down to each piece of equipment and every system.
Key planning gives us a holistic view of the project while allowing us to keep an eye on the specifics, so we never lose track of how system components work together. That makes hand-offs smoother and prevents seemingly small tasks from slipping through the cracks.
We also hold weekly meetings to align all of the teams working on the project. Since multiple divisions, subcontractors, and industry partners may be involved throughout the life of a project, these regular check-ins help to facilitate communication and give us an early update on any potential problems or delays.
The sooner we know about issues, the sooner we can make adjustments to keep everything moving smoothly toward completion.
Finding and Fixing Problems Early
Beyond improving our project management process to account for greater detail, we’ve also adopted some commissioning processes into our own internal quality control. By testing systems ourselves as early in the build as possible, we can identify issues and fix them before they become more time-consuming and expensive to repair.
For example, Jaynes purchased a blower door that allows us to test room pressure and identify any leaks or faults that could prevent the HVAC system from maintaining the correct level of pressure. In a hospital setting, maintaining negative pressure allows certain rooms to have separate air space.
Isolation rooms, laboratories, and rooms housing certain equipment all require negative pressure. Maintaining separate air space has become vital to public safety after the pandemic, and it’s a standard that commissioning agents are testing now. By purchasing and using the diagnostic equipment ourselves, we are able to find and repair issues well before Cx begins.
Raising the Bar on Quality Means We Never Stop Learning
Not every building goes through commissioning, but we’re committed to applying these quality-improvement processes even when a contract doesn’t strictly require it. It’s just the right thing to do.
As a leading general contractor in the Southwest, Jaynes is committed to helping raise the standard for construction in our community. Our thoroughness makes buildings safer and ensures projects are done on time and within budget. Subcontractors choose to work with us time and again because what we do makes their job easier, and our processes give them a voice and place at the table.
We all work together to make every job run smoothly. We take every opportunity to find better solutions. And we always keep our eye on the horizon for the next thing that can make the work better for all of us.