LEVEL 5 – DATA CENTER COMMISSIONING | Integrated Testing

June 26, 2022 |

The Level 5 Integrated Testing for a Data Center aims to validate that all installed mechanical, electrical, fire, BMS, and controls systems, including equipment, operate as per the design requirements under normal and approved simulated failure scenarios. Data will be trended and obtained from the monitoring systems [BMS/Controls], including any temporary instruments installed to produce a full in-depth report, proving that all critical space ambient conditions are not affected.

Like with the Level 4 tasks and activities, the stage will be delivered and controlled by the Commissioning Agent, supported by the General/Main Contractor, their vendors, and sub-contractors

The Level 5 Works will cover the following items:

  • Issuing Integrated Testing Scripts
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Reporting
  • Organization of Permits
  • Load Bank Plans and Temporary Instruments/Equipment
  • Resource Schedules
  • Integrated Systems Testing
  • Document Filing
  • Final Level 5 Integrated Testing Report and Closeout Meeting

Below, we explain how to deliver and complete a data center Level 5 commissioning process, including defining the tasks, activities, and responsibilities.

Table of Contents

What is the difference between Level 4 and Level 5?

This is often a question that can be asked. The short answer is that Level 4 will focus on a particular system or piece of equipment, testing and evaluating its operation in a depth that would not be tested at Level 5.

Level 5 will focus on the installations as a whole and testing them as one [integrated], using simulated pre-approved failures and heat loads to force the new and existing systems to react and change state so that the environmental and ambient conditions of the critical spaces can be evaluated and logged to be later included in a detailed report.

| Step 1 – Write, Manage and Issue Integrated Testing Procedures/Scripts

The integrated testing scripts for Level 5 would usually be provided by the client commissioning agent, with the general/main contractor providing support and resources, instruments, and temporary equipment.

Once ready, the scripts will be issued to the client and site team for comments/approval.

The Client Team Review

The client team would usually consist of any internal engineering teams, facility teams, and designers needing to review the documentation; they would approve as well.

The Site Team Review

The site team [general/main contractor] would be involved with the review of these documents to ensure that they have an opportunity to raise any concerns about possible issues.

The general/main contractor should include all sub-contractors and vendors of the systems and equipment under test. These contractors and vendors should ensure that they read the documents and fully understand the expectations, raising any problems or potential issues to be discussed and resolved quickly.

Format and Information Contained in Procedures/Scripts

To ensure that the project fully understands the expectations and requirements of the Level 5 testing, the document should contain the following information, which is pretty much identical to the Level 4 testing script with the difference in the heat load stages:

  • Introduction and explanation of the testing,
  • Expected programme of testing, broken down to each test,
  • Pre-requisites needed to allow the testing to commence,
  • Types and specifications of the equipment and instruments required to complete the testing could also be included in the load bank plan as detailed in the following sections,
  • Locations of the equipment and instruments required to complete the testing could also be included in the load bank plan as detailed in the following sections, clearly detailed on marked-up drawings,
  • Documentation that should be available during the testing, drawings, specifications, material submissions,
  • Information on the expected setup for the space where the testing will be commanded from, including screens, projectors, desks, chairs, whiteboards, etc.,
  • Resources required for each discipline, system, and piece of equipment,
  • Design parameters, if testing for any environmental conditions,
  • BMS information such as expected trend logs and screenshots,
  • Details of the temporary loading requirements for the data halls under test, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%,
  • List of tolerances that should be adhered to for the different tests,
  • Control information, for example, Chiller Logic, CRAH/CRAC/Fan Wall Logic, Generator Logic,
  • If the new system is integrated into the existing one, include an operation checklist for the current system,
  • List of systems that should be isolated during the testing; an example would be fire systems/security systems,
  • A full explanation of any electrical testing broken into each piece of equipment/system with detailed steps, defining the tests and goals, including pass-fail criteria.
  • A full description of any mechanical testing, including proving the heat loading of the space, broken into each piece of equipment/system with detailed steps, defining the tests and goals, including pass-fail criteria.
  • A full description of any plumbing and drainage testing is broken into each piece of equipment/system with detailed steps, defining the tests and goals, including pass-fail criteria.
  • A full description of any BMS/Controls testing broken into each piece of equipment/system with detailed steps, defining the tests and goals, including pass-fail criteria.
  • A full description of any fire testing is split into each piece of equipment/system with detailed steps, defining the tests and goals, including pass-fail criteria.

The procedures would be written in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, then PDF if needed to issue to the teams.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX
Data Center Commissioning Checklist [MS Word] & [MS Excel]

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| Step 2 – Regular Meetings and Workshops

During Level 5, the CxA should ensure that all necessary regular meetings and workshops are held with the client and project teams.

Meetings

Before any works start on site, the documentation will be written, reviewed, and approved. During this time, meetings will be ongoing, probably on a weekly basis.

Once the works move onsite, where the integrated testing is being completed, the meeting would be moved to daily.

Workshops

Workshops will be used to discuss any specific issues relating to the Level 5 deliverables, with them usually being planned ad-hoc when needed.

These workshops would be attended by the commissioning agent, main/general contractor, sub-contractors, and vendors involved in any items that need to be discussed and resolved in detail.

Further Reading

We have written the following article for further information the information required:

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 3 – Reporting of Progress and Activities

As the integrated works are highly critical not just for the operation of the facility but the programme of the project, the progress should be well documented to ensure the client and project team understands where the stage is at and for documenting in case of any issues in the future. For this, a regular project report should be completed by the commissioning agent and then issued to the client and project team.

Similar to the meetings above, whilst the works are at the documentation stage, the reporting can be weekly; once the project has moved to the onsite testing, then reporting would be daily.

Further Reading

We have written the following article for further information:

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 4 – Write, Manage and Issue Work Permits

Carrying on from the Level 4 works, the commissioning agent, if responsible for completing the tasks and activities, will be required to complete and issue the permits for review and approval of the client and facilities teams.

The permits will center around the data halls, surrounding areas, and any new and existing systems/equipment that will need to be used to complete the project’s testing requirements.

A note should be made of the expected time taken to gain approval. In some instances, depending upon the risk and the permit required could take 2-3 months, so consider this when programming the project.

To ensure all permits are considered, the general/main contractor should ensure they are fully listed and detailed within the commissioning document register for the project so that their progress can be tracked.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 5 – Write, Manage and Issue Load Bank Plan

The load bank plan document should be written to explain clearly and provide directions to the project team and general/main contractor on the items needing to be in place to complete the Level 4 testing activities.

To make it a little more efficient, we would ensure that the Level 5 requirements are included within the Level 4 Load Bank Plan issued in the previous step.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 6 – Planning and Management of Temporary Instruments and Equipment

The following should generally be set up for the Level 4 testing to be completed, but if it is not…

To ensure that the integration testing is documented and all data collected, the main/general contractor should ensure that the following is planned and managed relating to any temporary equipment and instruments, as detailed in the functional testing scripts of the load bank plan:

  • Issuing the data sheets and information on the equipment/instruments to the client team and commissioning agent for approval,
  • Sourcing of the specified/approved equipment and instruments,
  • That the correct quantities are available,
  • The equipment/instruments have a full calibration certificate, in line with the project requirements,
  • The duration of operations of the equipment/instruments is understood; for example, the testing period may be a few days, but the equipment batteries may only last a few hours.

Equipment will usually cover:

  • Temporary load banks
  • Temporary data loggers
  • Temporary power quality analyzers [PQA]

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 7 – Setting up of Temporary Instruments and Equipment

Again the following should be set up from the Level 4 Functional Testing, but if not…

Once the equipment and instruments are on-site, and when required, the main/general contractor should ensure that they are installed correctly, per the load bank plan or functional testing scripts.

Once the installation has been completed, the general/main contractor should invite the commissioning agent to review physically onsite to ensure that they approve the installation.

Note: power systems may need to be managed and shut down during some installation works.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 8 – Planning, Management, and Completion of the Integrated Testing

Once the above has been completed and approved/signed off, including Level 4 works, the Level 5, Integrated Testing should commence.

At this stage, the commissioning agent [CxA] should manage and conduct the tasks and activities, with the general/main contractor providing support.

They will reference the Integrated Testing Procedure [IST] and Load Bank Plan to complete all pre-requisite checks and then move to the full onsite integrated testing requirements.

If needed, the main/general contractor could include the dates of this testing within their project 2-week look ahead programme to aid the planning and notification to the project team.

Further Reading

We have written the following article for further information:

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 9 – Management of Document Filing System

Carrying on from the Level 0, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 & Level 4 commissioning documentation filing system, the commissioning agent and general/main contractor should ensure that all documents related to the delivery of the Level 5 integrated work are complete and filed in line with the project requirements.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX
Data Center Level 1-5 [Level 5] Tag

| Step 10 – Application of White Tag

Once all the above Level 5 works have been completed and all issues and observations closed and reinspected, the commissioning agent [CxA] will apply the ‘WHITE TAG,’ which will confirm that the equipment has completed the Level 5 Data Center Commissioning Process and can move to Level 6.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 11 – Downloading of Data from Equipment & BMS

Upon confirmation that the Level 5 testing has been completed successfully, the Commissioning Provider should oversee and manage the downloading of all data that is required for the reports by the main contractor/vendors.

Equipment and items that would be downloaded should be detailed within the approved scripts for the works and cover:

  • Trends for mechanical equipment
  • Trends for electrical equipment
  • Temporary data loggers
  • Temporary power quality analyzers

The information should be in its native file format, and each labeled/named with its equipment ID number, allowing complete evaluation and analysis when needed.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 12 – Removal of Equipment and Instruments

Upon confirmation that the Level 5 testing has been completed successfully, the Commissioning Provider [CxA] should instruct the main/general contractor to remove all temporary equipment and instruments that were installed for the works, if not already done so.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 13 – Write, Manage and Issue Level 5 Initial High-Level Report

Once all testing has been completed, the commissioning agent [CxA] should, within 24 hours, write and issue to the client and project team a Level 5 initial high-level report.

This is provided to allow the project team to report to the client/end-user the overall progress and status of the testing completed.

The report would usually be provided in a table format and include items such as:

  • Reference number of each test,
  • Description of each test,
  • Date each test completed,
  • Time each test started,
  • Time each test finished,
  • Any observations/remedial works for each test,
  • Status of each test [pass/fail].

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 14 – Conduct Level 5 Closeout Meeting with Client/End-User

Once the report has been written and published, the commissioning agent [CxA] should review the Level 5 works with the client and project team.

This is done so that:

  • The high-level report is discussed, ensuring that all parties understand the contents,
  • Provide an overview of what was tested and completed,
  • Discuss and agree on any remedial works that may be needed before the Level 6 works start,
  • Discuss the next steps for Level 6.

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 15 – Write, Manage and Issue Level 5 Final Closeout Report

Once all testing has been completed, the commissioning agent [CxA] should write and issue to the client and project team a Level 5 final closeout report.

The report would include items such as:

  • Executive summary,
  • Any issues observed and the subsequent resolutions to correct them,
  • Overall set up of the testing equipment and instruments, including marked-up drawings, photos, and calibration certificates,
  • Explanation and status [pass/fail] of the testing that was completed with any BMS screenshots/trend data and any additional information where required,
  • Any downloads and reports relating to the temporary equipment that was installed for the testing,
  • Original Functional Testing Script attached,
  • Load Bank Plan attached,
  • Copy of minutes of meetings and workshops that were conducted,
  • Copy of daily/weekly reports that were written and issued,

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

| Step 16 – Issue Level 5 Closeout Certificate

Once all the above has been completed, the Data Center Commissioning Level 5 Certificate should be completed and issued to the project before moving on to the Data Center Commissioning Level 6 works.

The commissioning agent [CxA] should issue this to the client and project team for review and approval.

Further Reading:

To read more and download a set [Levels 0-7] of Sign-Off Certificates we have written the following:

Responsibility Matrix

RoleResponsibleAccountableConsultedInformed
ClientX
Project ManagerX
ArchitectX
Commissioning ProviderX
Green Building ConsultantX
MEP DesignerX
General/Main ContractorX
Sub ContractorX
VendorX
Building OperationsX

Level 6 Step by Step

Once the Level 5 works are complete, the Level 6 works can commence, click ‘Read More’ to go to the article detailing those steps.


Level 0 to Level 7 Data Center Commissioning Checklist Template [Open / PDF / Excel]

To help us expand the site and create more resources, we have created the below documentation in [Microsoft Word & Excel] for download.

Click the ‘Buy Here‘ button to purchase the fully editable copy of the document below, which can be used straight away.

You will direct to our shop page.

066-Data-Center-Commissioning-Checklist-R3-word

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