Ideally this takes place in the form of a
formal document called the Owner’s Project
Requirements (OPR). This document is
generated by the owner to formalize the
operational requirements of the new facility.
The Commissioning Consultant is often
well-positioned to facilitate this process
and help the owner generate the document, however it is critical that the owner
fully understand and assume responsibility
for the information and engage the end
user experts in defining these criteria.
This document should include space use
requirement definitions including size,
intended space uses, occupancy schedules,
finishes, lighting requirements, sensitive
equipment requirements, and environmental conditions.
Once finalized, the owner provides the
OPR document to the design team for
review. The design team, including architects and engineers, creates a response
document called the Basis of Design
(BOD). The BOD acknowledges the criteria and information defined in the OPR,
and serves as a formal response to it, and
becomes the basis from which the project
design work is performed.
Both of these documents typically
include an executive summary, design
and performance information, lists of systems to serve the facility, types, quantities
and uses of spaces, and specific space
environmental performance criteria.
To ensure integrity of the project
requirements through testing and
turnover, the Commissioning Team
creates a Commissioning Performance
Verification Criteria (CxPVC) document. This is a tabular list of pass/fail
criteria, created on a space by space
basis, and includes environmental
condition set points and tolerances,
alarms, and notifications. This document is based on the OPR and BOD
documents, and shared with the owner
and design team to ensure complete
integrity of the process which will ultimately “pass or fail” the space based
on the owner’s original requirements.
In existing, operating facilities, it is
important to begin the process of estab-
lishing existing facility performance cri-
teria early—up to six months before the
actual verification work is scheduled to
occur. Similar to the CxPVC document
described above, criteria should be devel-
oped in an organized, tabular, and detail
oriented manner on a space by space
basis to ensure all spaces and criteria are
included in the definition process.
HOW TO START THE PROCESS
The first step in establishing effective
performance criteria is to engage the right
people. All vivarium facility stakeholders should be included. Typically, these
include representatives of the vivarium
operations management team, researchers, facilities operations, the maintenance
team, a building automation system
(BAS) technician, the commissioning
agent, and potentially architects or engineers if any recent space modifications
may impact the process.
DEFINING THE CRITERIA
With all stakeholders on board, and all
space requirements defined and documented, the performance criteria for each
space can be reviewed, defined, or redefined if needed. Space uses vary and the
following is a list of the most common
criteria required in vivarium facilities.
Room Temperature and Tolerances
Temperature set points and tolerances will
vary depending on space function and/or
the species that are housed. For example,
mouse and rat holding rooms are typically
defined to be 70°F, +/- 2°F. This allows
for the temperature in these spaces to
vary from 68-72°F. Rooms housing other
species may differ. Rabbit rooms, for
example, are typically maintained at cooler temperatures.
• Room temperature sensor/thermostat
accuracy will be verified with calibrat-
ed measuring equipment.
• Local room sensors/thermostats will be
verified to be reading correctly against
calibrated test equipment, and matching
BAS displayed values, and local displays.
• Individual room zone controls will be
tested and verified to ensure that they
will react to any needs for heating or
cooling to maintain these conditions.
Room Relative Humidity and Tolerances
Controlling space relative humidity to
meet the needs of research, equipment,
animals, and staff is more challenging
than controlling temperatures, however
the tolerances for variation are typically
more forgiving. These criteria should be
defined based on industry standards and
guidelines as well as previously established institutional requirements. Specific
consideration should be given to specialty
research requirements, sensitive equipment requirements, or species.
Additionally, some room gaseous
decontamination processes may have
additional relative humidity requirements.
Fifty percent RH is a fairly common set
point with tolerances being ±20%. During
winter time in colder climates, outside air
conditions make it challenging to maintain 30% RH. Zone level trim humidifiers
are typically required to accomplish this.
Verifying the performance of these trim
units is critical to ensuring accurate control
of relative humidity in colder and drier
climates. Trim units are often located in
places making regular maintenance and
cleaning difficult and increasing the
chances for problems.
• Supply air handling equipment will
be verified to be controlling relative
humidity in accordance with pro-
gramed control sequences, including
review of supply air RH trend data.
• Space RH will be verified to be reading
accurately with calibrated test equipment at local displays and BAS values.
• Trim humidification units will be verified to operate on calls for humidification, and close/shut off once RH set
points are satisfied.
Airflow and Air Changes per Hour
Criteria for airflow requirements are
typically established during the design
phase of facilities. These flow rates are
calculated based on a combination of
space requirements for heating and cooling as defined by the owner, and room air
change requirements as required to satisfy