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How to structure your commissioning tests?

• Written by Thomas T. Jarløv

Tests is one of the most important part in the commissioning process. If you don't have a good structure and overview, then your commissioning process will fail.

  1. What is the a test structure
  2. Commissioning test order and flow
  3. The superior overview of testing
  4. Presentation and video guide

What is the a test structure?

During the commissioning process, various tests are conducted to ensure quality assurance. These tests include QA (Quality Assurance), FAT (Factory Acceptance Test), SAT (Site Acceptance Test), SIT (System Integration Test), and more. Each test serves a different purpose and involves different individuals.

Although the specific names may vary, the testing procedures are often similar across different industries such as construction, data centers, and offshore oil/gas. In data centers, for example, tests may be categorized as "Level 1-5" and may also be labeled with colors like "Green tag" or "Red tag," depending on the industry's naming conventions.

Commissioning test order and flow

The commissioning test order and flow typically follow a specific sequence. It is important to adhere to this order to ensure the smooth execution of the testing process. Here is a suggested flow:

  • QA (Quality Assurance):
    The Quality Assurance phase involves basic testing and checks, usually focused on the installation itself. It ensures that the installation meets the required standards and specifications. This phase can in some situations also be referred to as "Mechanical Complete."
  • FAT (Factory Acceptance Test):
    The Factory Acceptance Test is conducted at the vendor's facility and involves testing a singular system or component. For example, if you have a cooling plant, the vendor should perform a FAT to ensure that the cooling plant functions correctly before it is shipped to the site.
  • SAT (Site Acceptance Test):
    Once the cooling plant or system has been installed at the site, the Site Acceptance Test is performed. This test ensures that the cooling plant operates as intended in its actual environment. It is similar to the FAT but is specifically carried out at the site.
  • SIT (System Integration Test):
    The System Integration Test is the final comprehensive test that verifies the integration and functionality of all components within the system. In the case of a cooling plant, this would involve testing the cooling, electrical, and Building Management System (BMS) components together.

By following this sequence, starting from QA and progressing through FAT, SAT, and SIT, you can systematically ensure that each phase is successfully completed before moving on to the next.

The superior overview of testing

Throughout my experience in various commissioning projects, I have encountered scenarios where the Cx-team had to test only a few installations, while in others, we had to manage and test thousands of installations.

To efficiently handle such projects, I employed a valuable tool called the "Test Overview." This tool has been integrated into CxPlanner providing an superior overview - an Excel spreadsheet on steriods with superpowers!

Presentation and video guide

I have created a concise presentation where I explain the fundamentals of a well-structured test overview. This resource, along with additional information, is available in our Commissioning 101 center).

Written by Thomas T. Jarløv