Building Science and Commissioning

Building Science and Commissioning

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On 14 April 2014, we attended a Sustainable Building Envelope Design and Construction presentation by Scott Armstrong, MMM Group, in Halifax. Well attended, Scott covered a number of key issues, including thermal bridging, thermal modelling (discrepancies between actual versus design values), window wall versus curtain wall systems, and the necessity for quality control oversight and testing to confirm adequacy of installations, especially for continuity of air barriers and vapour retarders. The controversial topic of whole building commissioning through a commissioning agent and the integrated design process was introduced. Everyone agreed it was important to review and monitor installations in real time, but questions about discipline responsibility arose. Should it be the Prime Consultant’s responsibility or a third-party specialist hired directly by the owner? In the end, all agreed it needed to be done, and collaborative efforts to ensure performance of installations negotiated between the parties. Certain aspects of quality control testing need specialist involvement. Integrated design, as a collaborative ideal, can be managed through the Prime Consultant, reducing expertise burdens on owners who may not wish or have the capacity to manage multiple professional contracts for a single project. This lively discussion will no doubt continue.

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