This post was submitted by Liz Fischer, a 20-year veteran of the National Conference on Building Commissioning
Just over 20 years ago I was asked to help organize PECI’s first National Conference on Building Commissioning. It seems like yesterday in some respects, but when I see the growth and advancement in the commissioning industry over these past two decades I realize how far we’ve come. In preparing for NCBC in this milestone year, I thought you’d like a glimpse into how NCBC was born.
In the early 1990’s, conversations at PECI were about how to make the commissioning process “business as usual.” At that time I had only worked in the industry, and for PECI, for two years. I thought this was a great opportunity to meet the industry leaders. Partnering with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), we determined one of the best ways to provide education on the commissioning process and move the industry forward was to bring the key stakeholders from architecture, engineering, building owners, industry associations and research organizations together and have a dialog about making commissioning “business as usual”.
During that first conference a summary report was developed that identified a list of key issues discussed at the conference.
- The need for a whole building commissioning guidelines and standards.
- Understanding the owners’ role and responsibility in the commissioning process.
- Understanding the roles of the lenders, appraisers, and insurers.
- Understanding who does the commissioning, who do they report to, and who pays them.
- Understanding the interface between commissioning and design professionals.
As I reread this summary report and some of the papers from that first conference, I was impressed with what we have accomplished. Still, there is always work to do and we as an industry still have a few more items to address. In many aspects, we’ve succeeded in making commissioning “business as usual.” But now is the time to move beyond that, to move forward and embrace the next level of efforts needed to create greater efficiency across the built environment. Some of the upcoming challenges I have been hearing about include developing more commissioning authorities and moving from HVAC commissioning to a whole building approach, including the building envelope.
At the lunch on May 16th, I will be looking back more closely at what we have accomplished at NCBC over these past 20 years. Then, my colleague and friend Craig Hawkins will take a look back at the history of the Building Commissioning Association (BCA). Craig is a founding member of the association and an advocate for industry education and training. Finally, we will hear about the current state of the commissioning industry and future plans for the NCBC and the BCA.
I am proud of the advancements we have made in this industry and honored to have played a part in NCBC for the past 20 years. Watching commissioning evolve and hearing conversations get elevated every year is exciting, I won’t lie. And at the conclusion of NCBC each year, I leave with confidence that we continue to make strides and the hope that all industry players continue the necessary conversations to create the framework for success.
I invite you to join us in the conversation as well and be a part of the next 20 years. See you in Nashville!