The Commissioning Handbook


A practical guide to plant system and equipment installation and commissioning

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Why write the book and its contents?


Generally speaking this book is written with the intent to pass on to those who will follow in the field of Process Plant Commissioning the pearls of wisdom and advice I have received in my 30 plus years of working within the discipline. The book is founded on the experiences of working on varied processes, with many applications, in many countries worldwide and having had the fortune of working with some very talented colleagues.

Commissioning has been brandished with the label of being something of a "black-art". This for many projects over the years may have been a fair assessment, however I am of the opinion that "what you get out of something, is directly proportional to the effort you put in" and if your preparation to the commissioning of a new asset is sloppy, without research, unprepared and unplanned, the resultant start-up will be fairly much the same. I have personally witnessed much "re-inventing of the wheel" where new commissioning teams have scrambled for the paperwork from some dim and distant project from the past to base their commissioning documentation on, this handbook sets out to dispel this myth.

It had been my quest for a number of years now, to pull together documents that fulfil the flow of paperwork and activities required to systematically and in an orderly fashion manage the commissioning process. The findings from this work are available to you within the pages of the handbook in a manner that can truly assist you through your commissioning quest.

The mechanics behind commissioning is an interesting one. There are few, if any formal qualifications specific to the discipline. It's managers and engineers come from all manner of different backgrounds, process engineers, chemists, mechanical engineers and craftsmen, piping engineers, electrical engineers and technicians and in my personal case plant operations. The bringing together of this melting pot of disciplines and backgrounds is key to effective commissioning; the handbook provides successful strategies in the management of this process.

In the UK where there has been an unprecedented demise of the chemical industry, there has been a significant loss of excellent commissioning personnel, I cannot believe this to be sustainable, there will be a need to build new process plant in the future and it is my hope this handbook both in the UK and also throughout the world, will help and enable those who will need to rise to the forthcoming commissioning challenges, to be successful.

Within all of the commissioning phases explained within this handbook, there are bulleted lists which have been developed to assist in the explanation and therefore delivery of the stage being discussed, the lists are not intended to be totally inclusive and indeed as commissioning is a dynamic discipline, these bullet points should be revised constantly as new lessons are learnt in the workplace. Therefore the bullet point lists are meant to be informative guides for consideration in the execution of any commissioning activity.

Worked examples of actual commissioning procedures and check sheets to provide evidence and guidance to the paperwork system required to successfully manage the commissioning process are provided within each step. The procedures and check sheets are based on real documents utilized on many projects, but obviously for confidentially reasons all possible reference to the actual projects used has been removed.

This handbook in addition offers a full package of blank forms that can be utilized in the formation of commissioning manuals required for any application, they can be found in the blank commissioning documents section. Where applicable and relevant, sections within this handbook also address brief relevant "things that can go wrong" and key chapter points to further give clarity for the section discussed and importantly share lessons learned between commissioning practitioners.

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