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Did you remember to...? List of things it's best not to forget on a project

A great set of "Lessons Learned" on the Life Support Facility (Building M6-490) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Nadav Malin
September 21, 2012

I really appreciate this set of "Lessons Learned" on the Life Support Facility (Building M6-490) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Frank, revealing, sometimes obvious, but interesting nonetheless.

  • Firestopping and backerboard fire retardant paint did not meet LEED requirements.
  • Missing floor concrete sealer specification—should ensure that all specs are kept for LEED compliance.
  • Should allow for maintenance training on plumbing fixtures (i.e. waterless urinals, dual flush toilets, etc.).
  • Proper use of AHU and occupancy sensors is critical—found some sensors to be missing.
  • Easy to overlook required trending and specifications for the HVAC Controls.
  • Must have all proper controls interface cards for HVAC equipment.
  • Proper control sequencing for HVAC equipment was not always available during Occupied mode.
  • Contractor should pay for additional Commissioning Authority (CxA) time if controls & equipment are not ready when scheduled.
  • CxA should provide a formal briefing prior to equipment start-up to ensure everything is ready to operate.
  • Commissioning should be scheduled through NASA only after all controls and equipment have been installed.
  • A Measurement & Verification (M&V) Plan must be drafted prior to bid, so bidders can price the correct M&V option.
  • Make sure to acquire subpower meters for Measurement & Verification (M&V) of lights, HVAC and process loads.
  • Use of a control system designed with iLons may not be LEED friendly; limited fixed memory offered by iLons make necessary trending difficult and a more flexible design may be required.
  • Teamwork is crucial to project success.

The full case study is available on BuildingGreen.com.

Anyone else have a similar "lessons learned the hard way" list to share?

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September 24, 2012 - 12:17 pm

Good list Nadav - I especially like that last one!

One big Lesson Not-Yet-Learned for many is using your specifications effectively for managing sustainability on projects. As a Specifier focused on sustainability, I not only make every effort to incorporate achieveable sustainability requirements for products, but I also incorporate requirements into Division 01 for the construction adminstration phase that will facilitate the project team's ability to actually meet the Owner's sustainbaility goals.

Sadly, many teams do not enforce these requirements from the beginning of the project construction and then are disappointed at the end. If the project requires reports and submittals all thoughout the construction period, don't allow the contractor to slide. "We'll do that later" just does not work well as a strategy, and you'll lose leverage if you put it off.

This is especially problematic on public, low-bid projects, where the Contractor may not care and needs extra education and nudging to be a participant in the process rather than a hinderance. After all, they only need to be the low bid to get the project. Sometimes they'll get into it and want to actively work toward sustainability goals, but it is more typical for them to drag their feet.