Assessment of Different Commissioning Service Methods and their Ability to Achieve the Performance KPIs in Educational Buildings in Abu Dhabi-UAE

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The vibrant growth of Abu Dhabi’s real estate, tourism and aviation sectors demand sustainable construction in the emirate, to minimise dynamic environmental impacts and to improve comfort levels in the built environment. The construction and operation of buildings contribute greatly towards climate change, global warming, energy crises and water crises, especially in hot-humid climatic zones, such as Abu Dhabi. The pearl rating system of the Abu Dhabi government is a dramatic move towards compulsory sustainable construction, which gives primary importance to water and energy savings. At the same time, building commissioning is a mandatory requirement of the pearl rating system and is the best cost-effective solution for reducing energy and water consumption. Studies show that Abu Dhabi’s building commissioning is still in the infancy stage. Notable researches in this field are yet to be published and this paper is one of the very first researches investigating the analysis of commissioning of educational buildings in Abu Dhabi. Worldwide, the construction industry follows various commissioning service methods, including third party directed commissioning, owner directed commissioning, engineer directed commissioning and designer directed commissioning. However, the selection of the commissioning service method is made typically on an advantage-disadvantage basis. The aim of this research is to go well beyond that, and to find the optimum commissioning service method by performing a thorough analysis of key performance indicators of building construction. Five educational buildings representing different commissioning service methods are selected for this research. Educational buildings have prime importance in the Abu Dhabi government’s sustainability plans. At the same time, the performance of educational buildings will have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of coming generations. Performance analysis of these buildings will reveal the effects of different commissioning service methods on environmental, economic and service level performances of such buildings. This research is classified into five phases. Quantitative analysis of buildings is the first phase, where the performance of four educational buildings are analysed against measurable key performance indicators. In Phase II of the research, qualitative analysis of expert opinions are conducted to analyse the non-measurable key performance indicators of the commissioning process. Phase III is designed to V select the optimum commissioning service method, based on the results obtained in Phase I and Phase II. The research then progresses towards the validation of the Phase III results, through real-life project application and its analysis, this marks Phase IV. The fifth phase of the research is to further fine-tune findings of Phase IV. This research follows literature review, quantitative analysis of building performances and qualitative analysis of expert opinions. The literature review methodology helped to define the key performance indicators. On the other hand, quantitative processing of building trend logs as a preliminary step, supported by field measurements, aided in the analysis of building performances. This analysis revealed considerable differences in the performance of buildings. Buildings commissioned by third party consultants ranked highest in performance, followed by buildings based on owner directed commissioning. Concurrently, qualitative analysis of expert opinions was conducted through a three-stage Delphi study, to analyse those performance indicators that cannot be measured or quantitatively analysed. The results of the Delphi study show that owner directed commissioning is the best in communication and collaboration, while third party directed commissioning is the best in verification and documentation. Designer directed and engineer directed commissioning service methods could not perform well in this analysis, as communication, collaboration and documentation were very poor in these cases, based on the Delphi study results. The results support a third party-owner combined commissioning to share the best practices from each service method. The third party will lead the commissioning service, but the communication and collaboration will be channelled through the owner of the project. The selected commissioning service method is further refined to improve the communication indicator, for advanced optimization. The results of this research can be used to establish key performance indicators for educational buildings in Abu Dhabi. At the same time, this study will help developers to understand various commissioning service methods, to assess their abilities to achieve building key performance indicators (KPIs) and to select the optimum method for constructing educational buildings in Abu Dhabi.
performance KPIs, educational buildings, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), sustainable construction, environmental impacts, built environment, pearl rating system, commissioning service methods