Touchstone performs electrical construction for commercial and institutional facilities, with
union labor.

Commissioning and Documentation

Complex and critical electrical and mechanical systems require commissioning beyond standard vendor and contractor field startup and turnover. A good commissioning team adds value from design start, validating major design directions, equipment sizing, etc. Whether during an informal or formal peer review, issues corrected early in the design process protects the budget and schedule.

Construction level commissioning done thoroughly validates that the design, equipment and installation performs as intended. Various subsystems are individually tested then operated as an integrated system, from very light loading up to design load, and in all bypass and failover modes. Without effective commissioning, latent problems sometimes surface years later, as loads increase or a failover mechanism or maintenance bypass circuit is depended on for the first time.

Short of a focused effort, valuable information is often lost from design, construction and commissioning to handoff to operations. Site-specific standard, emergency and transfer operating procedures should be developed during the design phase then validated during commissioning. Accurate as-built construction drawings need to be developed and turned over to the owner in native (CAD) format. Operating engineers, especially those new to the facility and more junior need training and a good understanding about how equipment normally operates, how it performs during events such as power failures, climate changes and in maintenance modes.

Touchstone Engineering’s data center and critical facility commissioning process is unique to the industry in the following key areas:

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A thorough effort is performed with attention to detail, from preparation through onsite leadership to punch list follow-up and final report development and presentation.

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Site-specific, step-by-step test procedures are uniquely developed and socialized for each project; Touchstone doesn’t show up on test day unfamiliar with the site and design details, or with generic, one-size-fits-all check-off forms.

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Touchstone takes the time to understand how complex equipment is intended to operate in all normal, failover and bypass modes and we test performance accordingly; many commissioning agents tend to ignore equipment they don’t understand, or leave it up to the equipment vendors (and hope they get it right).

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Touchstone has extensive experience with large, redundant UPS systems, ATSs, redundant generators and parallel switchgear, PLC-controlled switchgear, DCIM systems and interface to other trades (mechanical, fire/life-safety, BMS/BAS, etc.)

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Many commissioning agents perform onsite testing reasonably well but provide minimal, incomplete, generic or unorganized documentation. Touchstone’s commissioning deliverables include thorough, site-specific documentation, beginning with a plan written in plain English outlining the process at a high level along with team responsibilities and schedule. Step-by-step, time lined test procedures are customized to actual equipment with features installed and integrated test procedures to confirm compatibility and overall system performance.

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Our commissioning reports include concise executive summaries followed with all the detail, organized to tell the full story and provide benchmarking data for facility operation going forward. Details include what was tested, how it was tested, when it was tested, how it performed, test results and further recommendations.

Touchstone develops site-specific operations documentation along with commissioning data centers and critical facilities.

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Documenting the normal operation of critical equipment is very important for senior as well as for junior staff and for IT personnel. Whereas this is commonly documented for mechanical equipment in a sequence of operation (SoS), typical for a central HVAC plant, and also for fire protection equipment, formally documenting normal operating status and sequences for complex electrical equipment is sometimes overlooked. When providing multi-million-dollar generator and UPS systems, equipment vendors typically don’t provide much beyond boilerplate O&M manuals, hopefully with actual equipment and features highlighted. Touchtone develops a site-specific narrative, including annotated photos of actual installed equipment with actual status screens as they normally appear, with focus on interfaces between different equipment, especially from different manufacturers. Touchstone also documents how equipment functions during normal events, such as a power failure. This may include timing sequences for generator starts, ATS transfers and retransfers, UPS operation on battery and HVAC stops/starts.

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Equipment vendors typically provide boilerplate transfer procedures, such as isolating redundant components or transferring an ATS or UPS system to and back from maintenance bypass isolation. But critical circuit breakers and other interfacing equipment (by others) is only generically referenced, if at all. Touchstone develops site-specific checks and steps to include all related equipment, with focus on interface between components from different manufacturers.

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Touchstone develops consolidated, color-coded single line diagrams, stripping off construction detail and equipment minutia but including and organizing what’s important for facility operators. We get multi-page single lines down to one page, even for very for complex installations. Equipment is spatially oriented and arranged in a tabular, grid format, with as few doglegs and crisscrosses as possible, so that it is easy to follow power flow from primary and backup sources to loads, and how redundant components fail over.

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