What is Commissioning?

The Three Phases of Commissioning

Commissioning Logic

Key Commissioning Elements

The Commissioning System File

             "I strongly believe a logical, structured approach to correct commissioning practices will help transform any plant system, on any duty, into a production unit operating safety, effectively and fully delivering to its design intent within all time and cost constraints."

So what is commissioning?


In my experience commissioning is often viewed in different terms. My belief is that commissioning is best described when broken into three categories; all three composing the greater item, commissioning;

  1. Pre-commissioning, activities carried out, starting during the construction phase of a project that prepare and enable the unit to move to the main commissioning phase, the range of pre-commissioning activities include; installation of filters, packing of distillation columns, filling a reactor with catalyst, cleaning pipes and equipment, vendor and factory acceptance testing, punch listing and instrument, electrical and motor loop testing.

  2. Commissioning, here the various systems and items of equipment are first put into initial operation. Utility systems, Instrument Air, Cooling Water and General Purpose Water are made live and the core process systems are first made operational typically with safe chemicals, air or water. The unit is leak tested, started up, shut down, distillation columns and scrubbing columns put into use, all to gain the confidence that when process chemicals are introduced the plant will operate as designed and intended.

  3. Start-up, The plant is brought into actual operation.


With my view of commissioning having now been explained, I want to stress one vitally important and critical factor to the success of a project...


Commissioning is the use of a disciplined, systematic and professional methodology, to convert newly constructed process plant into a fully integrated and operational unit in the most safe, efficient, cost effective and timely of manners, to achieve start-up and production targets whilst, where at all possible conforming with the ideal of getting it "right first time".

Fundamentally commissioning is a series of checks and counter checks that confirm newly constructed chemical plant is fit for purpose and suitable for ongoing operation, these checks being made at all stages of a projects life, not just after construction is complete.

Follow this methodology and the steps explained within the handbook on all manner of projects, irrespective of size and the journey within commissioning should be made that much simpler...

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