Construction Project Start-up & Commissioning

Preparation and planning of a good and efficient commissioning and start-up starts at the project outset. P&IDs, flowsheets, electrical and control drawings and specifications must be gathered, organized, assimilated and incorporated into a C&SU that will grow and mature with the equipment procurement and installation. It must be approved and ready when the installations are complete.

Commissioning and start-up is the final step before production runs in a processing plant or opening a commercial project to the purpose intended. A company must be uniquely poised to perform commissioning and start-up (C&SU) and the accompanying trouble-shooting and problem-solving activities, whether as part of a design/build project or as a final step in any ongoing project. Essential tasks include:

Commissioning & start-up preparation
Understanding that each project/process is unique, the C&SU team should take the following approach:

  Meet with client to determine specific needs, concerns and goals
  Create a customized checklist based on the client's needs
  Assemble all information collected during the project's planning, design, & construction (if not already done)
  Sort project data from the Intelligent P&ID design database into the appropriate areas:
  Equipment (of all types)

Mechanical completion audits
The audit includes such activities as:

  Confirm correct equipment installed
  Check mounting and safety/protection/access
  Confirm correct installation procedure for each piece of equipment
  Check type & amount of lubrication
  Check rotation

Electrical & instrumentation calibration & check-out

  Check hardware, including wiring, to ensure that each motor starts from the correct motor control center (MCC)
  Check software addressing to ensure each motor & instrument responds from the correct icon on the display
  Start all pieces of equipment
  Check all lighting including safety lighting/signs
  Check power supply & functionality
  Check safety & software interlock sequences using written documentation and/or
  Client-written documentation must be reviewed and finalized
  Perform system trial runs with water or sacrificial product
  Tune process control loops, such as temperature, pressure, flow
  Train operators
  Perform turn-over

Equipment trouble-shooting & correction

  Bulk conveying
  Pneumatic conveying
  Heat exchangers
  Solvent extraction systems
  Wet processing systems
  Dry processing systems
  Kitchen equipment and service/utility areas
  HVAC & Life-Safety Systems

Customize your lists and procedures to your project. Use the above as a guide and idea jogger.

Types of Analyses

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James G. Zack, Jr.
Executive Director
Navigant Construction Forum,
Navigant Consulting, Inc.


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