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Post-Occupancy Testing

For a facility to effectively and reliably operate initially and over its lifespan, it is important to consider post-occupancy commissioning and testing.

A standard provision of enhanced commissioning activities under the LEED rating system is for the CxA to return to the facility after 10 months of operation. This allows for systems, particularly HVAC, to have operated throughout seasonal variations and to allow for owner-operator adjustments as needed. The CxA will verify that systems are still operating to the original BOD and owner’s requirements.

The most common post-occupancy testing for electrical systems is on emergency generator systems. It is important to understand the code differences between emergency classified systems (fire pumps, egress lighting), legally required standby generator loads, and optional standby.

Beyond NETA/NFPA start-up acceptance, emergency generators require weekly inspection and monthly testing. The monthly testing must be done for 30 minutes under partial load (30%) or to achieved rated minimum exhaust-gas temperatures. It can be difficult in some circumstances to provide 30% of the generator’s rated load every month. In this case, NFPA 110 allows for yearly testing at higher loads.

The question then becomes: Do you test the generator under actual loads monthly or yearly or provide a generator load bank to simulate facility loads? Often, a good solution is to provide a load-bank hookup box so that a portable load bank can be brought to the site as needed for testing.