The three phases of commissioning
Chemical plant commissioning has developed significantly and at some pace over the last 25 years, as the constraints of primarily cost and schedule, bore heavily on project management teams. A methodology had to be developed that no longer had the luxury of distinct and separate construction, commissioning and handover to the operations group phases. The Chemical and Process Plant Commissioning Handbook explains the guidelines, based on current known best practice, of how the commissioning function can be best integrated within the greater project, to fulfill the aim of always achieving an "on-time" successful plant startup.
Having described above what commissioning is, my methodology and therefore the handbook approaches the topic of delivering of the actual commissioning process in three distinct stages.
Although the stages are depicted in a continuous flow path, many of the subtle steps within each section overlap and potentially run in parallel to each other.
The basic composition of these phases is:
- Activities to be undertaken to set commissioning up, gather information, select the team, develop the schedule and create documentation.
- This phase traditionally perceived as "commissioning", examines the facets that address the installation, checking out and start-up of the new equipment.
- The final stage of the commissioning process and the one most neglected, ensuring that all paperwork systems and trials are complete, the plant or equipment has met its acceptance criteria enabling the plant to be handed to the ongoing operations group
Each stage within my commissioning approach and indeed the handbook has been well used and tested. All the steps within each stage should be considered for any project, of any size, to ensure all of the commissioning activities required are included in the management system, thus generating the best opportunity of a timely and successful plant start up.
Commissioning of chemical plant is fun and where-ever possible should be treated as such. It is busy, bordering on hectic and at certain times is an all-consuming activity; however there are few other project disciplines that give its personnel the self satisfaction and reward commissioning offers. Witnessing and more importantly being part of a successful commissioning and start-up team is, to me, the most rewarding of occupations.
Please refer to the Commissioning Logic
section of this site for further information on the overall commissioning process.