From reducing project costs and improving efficiencies to helping meet project deadlines, integration of internal commissioning and startup teams into a quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) program can deliver a wide variety of benefits. This integration allows internal commissioning and startup teams to enter into the early phases of projects. Incorporating knowledge of how a project will transition from mechanically complete to operational from the beginning helps set up projects for success. These early QA/QC efforts set realistic key performance indicators, project schedules and turnover requirements.

QA/QC involves the documentation of each piece of equipment to check that the components are installed as designed. Commissioning verifies that the equipment functions and operates per the engineering design. By setting the turnover requirements and establishing testing plans for the equipment during the project design phase, teams can begin testing earlier in the project life cycle. This effort may prevent costly rework and schedule delays at the end of the project. This also sets the expectation for the scheduler and subcontractors regarding the time required for system testing prior to turnover.

Inspection test reports (ITRs) or construction checklists (CC) are vital QA/QC activities. These reports are completed throughout a project life cycle. Each inspection provides quality documentation to record how equipment is being installed. If the information required in the ITRs or CCs is defined in the construction and quality plan, then all construction stakeholders know exactly which inspection and test reports are required. The field team can complete the construction checklists, therefore documenting the key inspections required by the project. Reporting the status of each ITR and CC helps the project team to know the most up-to-date project completion status.

Incorporating a QA/QC program reduces potential risks by identifying scheduling and startup risks in the early phases of a project. Additionally, involving a QA/QC team in the planning process can validate a project’s intended schedule by testing equipment before operations begin. Increasing the visibility of construction status can also help improve communication across the project among all stakeholders. Some of the most common installation problems that occur on-site at a project can be avoided with thorough communication by QA/QC services.

Integrating commissioning and startup with QA/QC services helps improve the reliability of equipment. If the process isn’t thorough or services are not implemented early, the schedule at the end of the project could be impacted. The earlier an issue is caught, the fewer challenges that appear later in the project life cycle that could lead to lengthy delays and costly solutions.


For complex facilities and large-scale construction projects, processes can be increasingly tricky to navigate. Integrating a focused QA/QC strategy can help ease the burden.


David Meyers is director of commissioning for Burns & McDonnell. He manages 140 commissioning professionals in 23 cities, providing services to healthcare, higher education, government, manufacturing, aviation, commercial, retail and corporate clients.