Get It Right the First Time A Case Study on Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx) for Lab Construction/Renovation

Samuel Deptula, B2Q Associates
Chris Schmidt, B2Q Associates

Comprehensive and effective commissioning in new laboratory facilities is vital to achieve safe, efficient, and reliable operation that persists over time. The start-up, acceptance, and warranty phases in new construction or major renovation provide the opportunity for the commissioning team to review, test, and verify that all building systems achieve the Owner's project requirements and comply with the design and specifications. However, it is possible for issues to go unidentified or unresolved until they are found long after the period has ended, necessitating a 're-commissioning' of the nearly brand-new building within only a few years.

This breakdown in the commissioning process can have many causes: vague or incomplete commissioning specifications, budget and/or scope limitations that do not permit appropriate levels of testing and seasonal trend log reviews, or ineffective communication and leadership to resolve issues raised by the commissioning team. The integration of Monitoring-Based Commissioning Software (MBCx) into the new construction commissioning process provides an opportunity to build a program that is more efficient, transparent, cost-effective, interactive, comprehensive, and most of all successful in delivering high-performance buildings that will provide many years of efficient and safe service.

This presentation explores the benefits and results of using Monitoring-Based Commissioning Software (MBCx) and data analytics in new construction laboratory facilities during the Start-up and Acceptance periods as well as throughout the warranty period. A case study at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the new Physical Sciences Building will discuss how MBCx software was utilized to dramatically improve the results of the New Construction commissioning process for all stakeholders including the Design and Construction Team, Facilities Maintenance, Environmental Health and Safety, and the LEED Measurement & Verification Team. These teams leveraged MBCx software to identify and resolve numerous unknown or unresolved issues with lab ventilation and fume hood controls and air- and water-side HVAC equipment in the building affecting energy consumption, comfort, component longevity, and laboratory safety, all within the building's warranty period.

Additionally, the case study will illustrate how MBCx software enabled an effective handover of the building from the Design and Construction Team to the Physical Plant. Finally, the presentation will discuss process changes the University may implement to take better advantage of MBCx and further improve the building design, construction, and commissioning process in the future.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the limitations and risks that may exist with 'conventional' new construction building commissioning;
  • Understand the capabilities of modern Monitoring-Based Commissioning software and how it can be leveraged for new construction laboratory commissioning;
  • Explain the benefits and impacts of adding MBCx software to a new construction commissioning program and how they are unique to different stakeholders and project team members; and
  • Understand how the handover of new laboratory buildings to facilities maintenance can be improved using MBCx software.


Sam is a Senior Project Manager with B2Q Associates and is a mechanical engineer with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He has over 9 years of experience working in energy efficiency, controls systems, monitoring-based commissioning, and project management.

Chris is a Vice President with B2Q Associates and is a mechanical engineer with a Masters of Science in Engineering from the University of Dayton, with a focus in commercial and industrial building energy efficiency. He has over 16 years experience working in building efficiency, HVAC mechanical and controls systems optimization, re-commissioning, and project management and he co-teaches the Association of Energy Engineers Existing Buildings Commissioning course.


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