The successful commissioning of a data center hinges on the execution of a test script, performed by properly prepared field engineers. The planning put forth in developing a functional test procedure starts weeks or even months before site commissioning takes place.

While test scripts come in many shapes and sizes, effective test procedures have common key elements that distinguish themselves and help ensure the equipment or integrated systems are thoroughly inspected and tested before being placed into operation.

To understand the key elements of a commissioning test script, it is essential to understand the purpose of the document. ASHRAE Guidelines for Commissioning states that:

Test Procedures define the means and methods to carry out the tests that are accomplished during the Construction Phase.

Furthermore, it’s important to understand that a test script serves as a historical document and the foundation for an end-user’s preventive maintenance program, providing trending and equipment baseline performance over the life of a facility.

So what makes up a well written test script?

  1. Personnel performing and assisting the commissioning procedure are listed by name to identify who is involved, their role in the execution of the script, and contact information for future reference.
  2. Safety requirements to ensure personnel and equipment are free of unnecessary risk, and proper precautions are taken to prevent injury to others not involved with the procedure.
  3. Prerequisites for the commissioning to begin, only after thoughtful and deliberate conditions exist. Identifying the prerequisites ensures the equipment is ready for commissioning and provides a reference starting point for future testing or recommissioning.
  4. List of equipment used during the execution of the test script is documented to ensure all necessary tools, metering devices and other equipment is staged before execution of the procedure. This also provides reference information for future efforts to obtain data that can easily be trended and compared.
  5. “As Found” and “As Left” setpoints are documented to ensure equipment can be returned to the manufacturer’s delivered conditions if needed, and provide the operations team with the final configuration details should the equipment or system be modified or replaced during the operations phase.
  6. A sequential step-by-step procedure, with each step listing the expected and actual test results, with the person performing the step and a date / time stamp for reference included. The procedure should validate the equipment or system meets the Basis of Design and Owner’s Project Requirements.
  7. A Back-out and / or contingency procedural plan should be included with the test script to account for changing conditions to place the equipment or system in a stable state that is safe and reliable until further review can be completed.
  8. Identified issues should be clearly documented within the procedure to ensure they are resolved and retested as necessary before placing the equipment or system into operation.

These key elements to a test script will help ensure the equipment is thoroughly commissioned and the end-user can have confidence the facility is ready for sustained, reliable operations.

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