Vipsit has extensive experience with developing validation scopes and boundaries, and we reviews protocols and reports.

Vipsit provides reviews on commissioning protocols and strategies, and review commissioning reports. This phase is one of the earliest and best training opportunities for maintenance engineering team and should be utilized to its outmost potential for all relevant staff segments. This is where the staff can become familiar with the big and powerful utility systems. This 9th time the system is system down and restarted it within the same week, it becomes muscle memory, and only when this is achieved the production facility is ready to go into production.

Does it work according to expectations?

In the commissioning phase, verification should be given that systems and components were designed, installed and function as expected prior to facility turn over to the owner.


It is recommended that a third party verify what the construction crew, contractors and equipment suppliers provided. A few countries have third-party commissioning as a legal requirement, but most countries do not have any requirements at all. That does not change the fact that it is a very good idea to spend time and resources on a thorough commissioning phase, hiring in a competing A&E company. This will save the responsible parties from many surprises when the facility finally is turned over to the owner.

The commissioning testing is best done by a third party A&E company who has no internal desire or driver to cut corners and “pretend” that it works as expected. For true quality assurance it is not kosher to verify your own work. The optimal time to bring this entity on board is as early in the design phase as possible. Draft testing protocols can be a useful supplement to the URS and assist suppliers with interpreting the performance requirements as listed in these URS, when it is clear how these will be tested and what the acceptance criteria are.


When that is said, the company’s own technical staff should be invited and involved in the commissioning phase and final testing. It is an optimal opportunity for training and learning the systems inwards out, down to the last nitty gritty details. There is much more learning associated with working with the systems over a time, shutting down, starting up, calibrating and labeling compared to receive a 1 hr. demonstration by an equipment supplier who fast and furious pushes the buttons, demonstrates that it hums and blinks, and head for the airport the same afternoon. Using the commissioning phase as an opportunity for training and drafting the related operation and maintenance SOP’s requires somebody to plan this engagement, somebody with technical insight and enough bandwidth to prioritize this.

Does it work?
Can I use it?
What are the outer limits for my process?


Vips has for all her design and construction projects for her large scale production facilities been driving the parallel Operational Readiness (OR) process where focus is on ensuring that staff skillset and procedures are ready when the facility will be handed over.

Can you start the day after the handover?

OR is an aspect of the facility project that is often overlooked in the heat and chaotic environment of construction of the new facility. One day the facility is ready, tested by the A&E company and handed over to the users.

The question is whether the user is ready to take over? Have they been trained in the systems? Can they operate them with confidence? Have an adequate amount of SOP’s for procedures in the new environment been drafted?

If not the building will stand for months, mostly dark and with only minimal output. It would be optimal if the staff were able to hit the ground running the minute the contractors hand over the keys and responsibility to the owners. Often the project is delayed anyway, and market and end users are in dire need of the product.

Paralleling the construction of the facility, the staff needs to be prepared for the future reality of operating the facility. Training and SOP writing takes time and should be initiated in the late design phase – AT THE LATEST. The problem is to find the extra resources to drive this process in parallel with the construction phase.

Most often, this OR preparation is a low priority. Even hiring the extra resources that might be needed from an operation and maintenance perspective is often postponed until the last minute. That is a shame, as there are unique opportunities to train the engineering focused staff during the commissioning phase and the following IQ, OQ, PQ and SAT tests. Most often, these phases involve starting up and shutting down the same systems over and over again. It is an optimal opportunity for future users to practice and learn from the experts. However, it is rarely prioritized, as the budget for additional positions is typically paced in such a way that this staff doesn’t join before the final handover.


The maintenance strategy must be defined in the late design phase, and the maintenance system built in parallel during the construction phase. Whether a reactive (deferred/emergency) or preventive (time/failure/risk/condition based, or predictive) strategy is selected (or a mix) and whether the institution will depend on in-house skills or service contracts depends on the complexity of the individual production facility and staff skill set. The bottom line is that the minute the commissioning phase ends, maintenance begins.