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TQM, ISO 9000, and Commissioning (Let's Be Practical)
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Diversity between building projects and construction methods is such that it is not possible to evoke a single phrase, commissioning, directly or conceptually and assume all building performance problems are solved. Commissioning has been defined as everything from a testing phase that concludes construction, to a quality management technique applied to a project from concept to turnover and beyond. Therefore, simply purchasing commissioning may not yield desired performance. A link is needed that ties managing performance to the process that verifies achievement of defined performance goals. That link may be certification. TQM (total quality management) was developed by W. Edwards Deming to assist in creating a management environment that would yield consistent performance. International Standards Organization (ISO) applies discipline to that concept requiring a structured well-documented management environment capable of withstanding an audit. One could quickly build a library in the study of management techniques devoted to achieving performance: Peter Drucker (Management by Objectives), Tom Peters (In Search of Excellence) and Stephen Covey (7 Habits) just to name a few. This may be the path to certification. This presentation is intended to provide an overview of the relationship between recognized quality management techniques and commissioning. Specifically it will deal with tying the quality certification process defined by ISO to commissioning as defined in ASHRAE GPC1- 1996. Questions that will be raised are: 1) Is it possible to certify a construction project to ISO standards? 2) Is it practical to certify a construction project to ISO standards? 3) Will a fully commissioned, ISO certified facility guarantee desired performance? It is the belief of this author that design-build projects are gaining momentum in the industry, battling only barriers of price versus performance. Imagine the power of an ISO certified Design-build Corporation that guaranteed not only price and schedule but also performance; specifically performance that exceeds traditional codes or standards.
Dunn, W.; Berner, W. (2002). TQM, ISO 9000, and Commissioning (Let's Be Practical). Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from