A commissioning engineer supervises the completion of projects as systems are installed and tested. This can include new construction as well as renovations to existing buildings. Acting as a representative of the owner, the commissioning engineer makes sure the work is performed correctly, within specifications designed to set out the parameters of the project. Working in this field usually requires at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, with industry experience including familiarity with applicable regulations and standards.
Companies can bring a commissioning engineer onto a project at varying stages of construction. Engineers may prefer being integrated onto the team early so they can play a more active role in the completion process. This can include scheduling work crews, looking over the schematics for systems, and making any necessary changes before systems are installed and implemented. The commissioning engineer can also consult with other project leaders as the completion moves forward to keep the job on schedule and within specifications.
As systems are installed, the commissioning engineer can check them over. This can include making sure the right equipment is installed and checking for conformity with the blueprints and guidelines, along with testing equipment to confirm it works. Commissioning engineers can help develop documentation for the system, including details on installation that may be helpful for future maintenance needs. Independent oversight from an engineer provides assurance for an owner that a project will proceed as planned.
If problems arise as a new building is commissioned and put into operation, the engineer is available to assist. This can involve troubleshooting systems, replacing or repairing components, and determining who is responsible for a specific problem. The commissioning engineer may work with the construction firm to address issues like improperly installed systems that later malfunctioned. Investigations can also be used to prevent future problems of a similar nature, or to establish liability for legal purposes in advance of a court trial.
Depending on the type of project, a commissioning engineer may work for an independent agency as a contractor, or could be employed directly by the company commissioning the project. Independent agencies offer their services as needed to companies with a one-time need for a commissioning engineer. Large companies like utilities have an ongoing need for engineering services to monitor construction, remodeling, and repair of their facilities. They hire staff directly to ensure in-house engineering services will be available when they need them, from personnel familiar with the company’s standards and procedures.