A quick google of Commissioning and DLP informs, ‘to bring (something newly produced) into working condition’ and ‘the period in which warranties are valid and liability remains with the builder developer to rectify and identify defects’.
Typically, these two lifecycle phases are tied together and are equally important. In office assets the DLP period often represents a 12-month period and the commissioning process- the last couple of months of construction and the first few months post-construction of a new development. However, in most cases development warranties extend beyond 12 months from the practical completion milestone.
Commissioning is significant as it’s the first opportunity to get the property operationally in sync with the owner’s, manager’s and occupier’s needs before construction is completed and while the building is being onboarded. For larger builds, Real Estate Management engagement could be as much as 6 months prior to practical completion and is a critical period in starting the transition from construction to a living and fully functional building.
Engaging property and facilities management experts early can help substantially reduce down time for new tenants coming in to the building and avoid potential costly re-engineering for owners.
The process of defect identification, management and tracking further adds to the complexity of the occupied space. A dedicated property and facilities management team facilitates early detection of defects, within the Defects Liability Period, and enables the defects to be resolved without additional cost to the landlord.
Case study one: re-alignment of power supply – during defects liability period
During the design phase, the property cogeneration specified was also to be integrated into the building’s back up power generation system. The cogeneration was part of the property’s green design targets.
Through complex switching and staging the cogenerator was designed to be reducing the supply authority feed to the building. However, in the event of an emergency or power failure the backup generation system would take over, shutting down the cogeneration system.
Each system was installed by a different contractor. During commissioning each system performed its designed function and was duly signed off by an independent commission agent.
The property was handed to the REM team to manage after commissioning. It operated satisfactorily until a major power failure called the system into operation which did not run as intended, leaving the property without power for a number of hours until the issue could be found.
Post incident review found that the switching had not been tested as a complete system and was missing a critical interface between the co-gen and backup generation systems despite being specified in construction.
The oversight was then raised within the DLP period and the REM team assisted in enabling the system defects to be resolved and full interface testing competed. Saving the landlord a potential $500,000 thanks to the defects being picked up within the DLP.
Case study two: waste stream design changes - during commissioning
Through a number of lease variations and a need for tenant storage space, a room adjacent to the loading dock had been re-assigned. In doing so the bin room was changed to a tenant storage space. No consideration was made for the re-allocation of space to manage waste and accordingly the waste streams were pushed to the loading dock.
At the point of engagement for REM, the commissioning team looked at Waste Management and Traffic Management Plans and discovered the change and omission of an appropriate waste management space.
Identified challenges to be overcome:
1. Restricted access for garbage trucks to the dock,
2. No space to sort and administer waste streams,
3. No storage points
Our REM strategy was devised to manage the reduction of allocated space and change the equipment specification so that all waste streams could be managed in the building.
In this instance we implemented a waste management strategy through on floor organic, co-mingled and recycling waste streams, managed to three streams in the loading dock. Following a change in specification of the compaction system, we were able to additionally allocate for co-mingled compaction along with defined areas for organic and recycling waste streams.
This allowed for the garbage collection to still occur (on a more frequent basis) with enough room to manage compaction and sorting onsite. It was implemented before tenant occupation and avoided costly changes post equipment purchase under the old specification.
Early engagement of property and facilities management
To ease the transition of a building coming online for all stakeholders, be it tenants, owners or landlords, early engagement of property and facilities management experts is vital. Proactive and strategic plans can be put in place to avoid costly and reactive fixes to address problems identified during commissioning and also within the defect liability period.
For more information regarding the above topic please contact:
Brad Harding, Director, Facilities Management, Melbourne | Real Estate Management
Mobile: +61 3 9612 8849