The fundation for the Cx-proces - the Owner’s Project Requirements
The Cx process is built around the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR), which are verified in all phases of the project; therefore, the OPR must be developed already in the Pre-Design phase.
An efficient and value-adding Cx process depends on clear and measurable items in the OPR. The requirements must be formulated and structured in such a way that, when verified, no one may be in doubt as to whether the requirements are complied with.
The OPR also ensures that the Design Team and Contractor know what the Owner expects and wants. The Design Team will, therefore, be in a position to prepare detailed project material that meets the Owner’s wishes, and the Contractor will be better able to price the project, as there is no doubt about the outcome requirements.
Together, it ensures a reconciliation of expectations across the construction parties, while at the same time giving the Owner a true and fair view of the overall project economy.
What should an OPR include?
The OPR helps to define the scope of the Cx process. The number of requirements in the OPR and the content of the requirements define which areas the Cx process should cover and the amount of the Cx Team needs to perform.
There must be a direct link between the OPR and the specified scope of the Cx process. The requirements must be adapted to each project based on the Owner’s wishes and expectations for the project in conjunction with:
- a. Criticality
- b. Complexity
- c. Cost
Often the Owner specifies requirements that focus on areas which the Owner has experienced challenges with in the past. In addition to the requirements covering these areas, it is the responsibility of the Cx Team to the Owner to define project-specific requirements for interfaces that would not otherwise be covered.
How to specify verifiable requirements in the OPR
An item in the OPR must be verifiable; therefore, it must be formulated using measurable parameters.
Measurable parameters are fixed and their wording or outcome must not be open to interpretation. When defined with measurable parameters, the requirements will also indirectly help to ensure that the requirement can be read independently and thus constitute an expectation match.
The Cx requirements must therefore not contain words such as: "reasonable, sufficient, should be experienced, felt, easy". There may be situations where these words can be allowed, but it must then be ensured that they are only used in conjunction with a fixed measurable parameter.
Example A1 below indicates that "... the operating staff can easily access them." which does not contain a measurable parameter. Both the Design Team and the Contractor will be able to interpret what the outcome is, as the concept of "easy access" is a subjective assessment. Example A2 below shows how the requirement could be formulated in this case:
Example A1 (not approved OPR item):
All measuring outlets in the cooling unit must be located so that the operating staff can easily access them.
All measuring outlets in the cooling unit must be accessible without aids and have a maximum height above the floor of 1.8 meters.
How to develop and create the OPR document
The OPR must be drawn up in cooperation with the Owner, the Owner’s O&M staff and end users (for example, shop owners, students, etc.). It is the responsibility of the Cx Team to complete the process of preparing the OPR.
There are several methods that the Cx Team can use to develop the OPR, such as Nominal Group Technique, workshops and meetings.
The methodology chosen by the Cx Team must ensure that all stakeholders are involved and project-critical areas are identified. The Cx Team must have examined the participant’s specialist knowledge in advance in order to adapt the methodology to the individual users in the workshop.
There may be cases where participants do not have the technical knowledge to set measurable technical requirements. Here, the Cx Team must ensure that the participant’s requirements are reshaped and elaborated with the necessary technical specifications.
What to do, when you need a deviation/dispensation from an OPR item
There can be no deviation from the OPR without the Owner’s written approval.
The deviation from an OPR item may be caused for several reasons, but the Owner must still approve the deviation. In the event of a deviation, the reasons for the deviation, the expected consequences and the cost must be described.