This service has been developed over our years of being engaged to resolve operational issues with existing buildings, weather newly built, just out of the Defects period or buildings with longer standing operational issues. We are often referred to as the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ for many buildings.
Our combined expertise in Diagnostics has been developed over years of being engaged to resolve operational issues with existing buildings, whether newly built, just out of the Defects period or buildings which have longer standing operational issues. We are often referred to as the ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’.
Our Diagnostics service provides invaluable information and insight from initial document discovery to Functional Performance Testing and determining actual performance of the installed systems. This vital part of Diagnostics often uncovers latent defects from the initial construction phase, poor or complete lack of commissioning and or inappropriate maintenance practices which can be well-intentioned, misdirected service ‘fixes’.
Whether from persistent occupant complaints, excessive energy use or high ongoing maintenance costs, our diagnostics program will find the root cause. We can then provide the data and guidance to resolve it once and for all. Diagnostics does not have to be applied building wide, it can be targeted for each client’s specific areas/systems of concern.
Some of the diagnostic processes we employ include:
- Document discovery to locate (and sometimes recover) original construction drawing sets, specifications, O&M manuals and commissioning reports. We would then convert these to electronic formats for ongoing storage and reference.
- Building fabric air tightness testing
- Internal video surveys of ducting risers and main branch ducts
- Visualisation and analysis of diffusers throw patterns through full performance envelope ie: heating, cooling, dead band, differing flow rates.
- BMS interrogation with subsequent targeted Functional Performance Testing
- Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing and analysis
- Metallurgical analysis of swarf samples from refrigerant circuits
- Data logging and analysis of various parameters ie: Temperature, RH, pressure, CO, CO2 and NO2
- Internal Biological sampling of Air Handling Units and associated ducting
- Prolonged site observation and recording of ‘normal’ plant operation
- Independent performance testing of equipment. We build a test rig for the application/test item (fan, kitchen hood etc) and carry out a detailed test programme to determine its actual performance characteristics. Confirming if this matches the manufacturers published data.
Over time and with experience we have tailored and employed our processes to fully establish and resolve issues such as Heat Pump operational instability, refrigerant compressor failures, acoustic issues, draft issues, excessive energy consumption, poor control (BMS) function and many more.
To give an example of this, we undertook diagnostics on a 6-level office building and found there was no effective heating of these floors in winter. It had multiple latent defects from the initial construction phase and poor maintenance practices which lead to greatly reduced functionality. Once these issues had been fully defined, we were able to put into place a program of works to resolve these issues, establishing heating and addressing numerous defects. This has not only resulted in a building that now works and provides its occupants comfort but has also seen a reported 37% reduction in energy use.