Q&A with Lead Commissioning Technician Brent Koon
By Kristine Rohwer
Published March 2021
CommTech Global facilitates startup solutions within the energy sector, with commissioning being the backbone of our unmatched services. We asked our Lead Commissioning Technician, Brent Koon, about the importance of commissioning — especially hiring a third-party commissioning team versus in-house quality assurance/inspection and assembly — and a few other questions pertaining to commissioning practices at large-scale projects.
- In your experience as Lead Commissioning Technician, what is the best strategy at the beginning of a project to a set up for a successful completion of a large-scale project? Example, startup compressor station?
First thing I like to do is get to know our inspectors, contractors, and clients, to understand how they operate and communicate. I go through the documentation to make sure they are accurate or are sent in an RFI (request for information) to the engineer for clarification. The documentation and plans need to be accurate to allow the contractor to properly accomplish their job, which, in turn, makes the commissioning process go much quicker and smoother.
- What is a common late-stage issue that can arise without the proper Commissioning and Startup team?
Insufficient material or wrong equipment installed. It all starts with the beginning of the project, like any project. If there are issues, we try and iron those out prior to starting the project, versus discovering issues later on. Starting the problem-solving process backwards, from end-to-beginning is costly, pushes back deadlines, and creates a frustrated team.
- What is a misconception about third party commissioning a project?
Some clients believe that commissioning is simply turning power on and if the device starts up then it is commissioned and move to the next device. That is the furthest from the truth. To do commissioning right, we have to calibrate and/or test all devices as a complete unit, since they all work together for the good of the station.
A Common concerns is always cost, is it cost effective to hire another contractor to do commissioning?
From a client standpoint, depending on the size of the project, yes. If the project requires 60 labor hours a week for months at a time, that time and labor is hired out to a third party commissioning team to allow their fulltime employees the ability to continue with their jobs and their own projects. It also frees up the client station operators for their normal duties.
We build trust with the client, they know we are their eyes and ears in the filed – it gives them peace of mind.
- What makes CommTech Global stand apart from other commissioning competitors?
We provide turnkey services from inception to post-project safety training and operational instructions. That is what makes us stand out, but to be honest what really sets us from the rest is who we have in the field. Our field support team is dedicated to the client’s needs – and our clients lean heavy on us to point out flaws in programming, to get the job done in a timely matter.
We bring our years of experience (our lead commissioning team has around 90 years of combined experience) and we also work as a team amongst ourselves. No CommTech Global employee will feel alone, isolated on an island. We’re all connected and work together, we’re like a family as we want each other to succeed.
- What trends do you see on the horizon regarding commissioning and startup?
It depends on the client – with some of our clients they are wanting to be more hands-on and they are asking for prints months in advance, prior to the contract, to head off any issues before projects have started. It is imperative to get the commissioning service started prior to arriving on site.
Technology is constantly changing. In the energy sector we all must adhere to government guidelines, to keep everything up to speed. A lot of companies are relying on commissioning to achieve that. As to trends on the horizon, I would safely say to stay in line with the trends in energy technology and safety precautions.