PROJECT AT A GLANCE
Services Provided: Data Analytics
Facility: Hospital Facility
7 Minute Read
- Building Data Analytics provided a true north between the disgruntled design/construction team and the Owner’s Facilities Team.
- The Owner finally had peace of mind when the data showed the true story of the facility operation from building issues to equipment corrections.
- The building data analytics identified key areas of focus while confirming operation of the remaining equipment.
What is building data analytics and how can it serve to provide a true north between Construction, Design and Facility teams? A large hospital system in Michigan constructed a new outpatient clinic. A 3rd party Commissioning Agent (CxA) was hired to provide building commissioning services including ensuring a quality and tested building was turned over to the Owner. The CxA struggled to bring the project to the finish line. Without data analytics, there were so many problems with the new HVAC system in the building that the Facilities team did not want to take on the building because of its many issues. When the job was complete, the Contractors wanted to sign off because the system was installed per the construction documents. The engineer blamed the substandard performance of the system on poor installation practices. The frustrated Owner wanted to pinpoint the issues and resolve them quickly. A good CxA will be the Owner’s eyes and ears on a project. Owners and facility managers shouldn’t have to play referee between Engineers and construction teams. They needed data analytics to provide a true north.
Synergy was hired as a neutral party to review the project up to its current state and connect to the data. Synergy’s goal would be to identify issues and create a plan that would provide a true north and eliminate finger-pointing.
Owners and facility managers shouldn’t have to play referee between engineers and construction teams.
One of the many problems in the brand-new outpatient facility was it was unable to maintain zone temperature set points in certain areas. The HVAC equipment could not keep up with the heating demand. With data analytics in mind, Synergy’s plan was to (1) Perform a design review, (2) Conduct a submittal review, (3) Connect to the Data, (4) Evaluate the data, and (5) Provide recommendations. Synergy implemented the plan would eliminate finger-pointing. Data analytics would cut through the noise of engineers saying assets were installed wrong and the construction team saying they installed it correctly and believed the design was wrong.
With Synergy as the neutral party, this plan would eliminate the finger-pointing of the engineers saying the equipment was installed wrong and the construction team saying they installed it correctly and believed the design was wrong.
Performing a Design Review was the most logical place for Synergy to begin. This involved going through all the design documents and submittals to verify accuracy. The Construction team was concerned that the assets were not adequately designed for the facility so Synergy also reviewed the load calculations. After reviewing the equipment selections, Synergy verified they were within reason, but hovering on the edge of capacity. With no safety measures in place for the extra load, this was questionable in equipment selections from the design team. Synergy also noted that a traditional heating hot water system with reheat coils should have been designed for this project instead of electric resistance coils. While electric is cheaper at first cost, the maintenance, life cycle cost, and lack of options for additional capacity, make it less desirable.
The next step in the plan was the Submittal Review in order to confirm the equipment that was installed matched the design team’s selections. The submittal review was also performed by the CxA as part of their process. Synergy’s review confirmed that the contractor’s equipment selections matched the capacities of the Construction Documents.
After the design and submittal reviews, Synergy connected to the data through the Building Automation System (BAS). Synergy gathered building data for a few weeks through their own specially design Pelican Case (a mobile box that pulls the building data out of the BAS to the cloud analytical software through a mobile data connection). This data did not interfere with IT nor did it overrule any security issues and protocols. Synergy’s Facility Intelligence team put the data through rules via SkySpark to locate operational issues within the building. Once the issues were identified, Synergy had the contractors follow up and resolve each issue. A review of the BAS graphics and point data was also completed. Missing points on graphics, failed sensors, and trends not set up were a few of the items discovered.
From hiring Synergy for implementation to report, the Owner was able to experience results within 60 days in the clinic building.
From hiring Synergy for implementation to report, the Owner was able to experience results within 60 days in the clinic building. Data Analytics confirmed that some of the electric resistance coils were in fact undersized for the actual conditions. Synergy suggested replacing equipment that was undersized and recommended modifications be made to the equipment that was not operating at full capacity. Once the contractors changed the coils, the space temperatures in the identified areas were no longer cold, but meeting the set point. Analytics identified additional operating and energy conservation measures which was presented to the Owner. This was a lessons-learned opportunity by the Owner. Evaluating first cost compared to operating cost, long-term maintenance, and flexibility would be looked at in much more detail going forward.
Synergy wanted to continue validating the business success and left the Pelican Case on the facility data for an additional 12 months. This gave the owner confidence that all the earlier problems were resolved, and any new ones would be caught quickly before the building’s warranty phase expired. The Owner had peace of mind with the data showing the before and after differences throughout the building.
Data Analytics cleared up questions and paved the way for the construction team to turn over a functioning building to the facilities team.
Data tells an accurate story and solved the battle between the design team’s frustration and the construction team’s complaints. Putting the finger-pointing aside, data analytics cleared up questions and paved the way for the construction team to turn over a functioning building to the facilities team.