list of security systems

Commissioning: Last But Not Least

Derek Ommert, PSP Security System Testing and Commissioning


list of security systemsWhen investing in an electronic security system, the process is generally the same. Systems are evaluated, designed, installed, programmed, and then turned over to the end user customer. Sound about right? In some instances, owners often overlook the final step – system commissioning.

What is commissioning?

The basic definition of commissioning is reviewing and testing the systems to verify they are operating and functioning as intended and designed. Typically, a third-party agent not involved with the system installation performs the commissioning. This offers an independent and unbiased view of the systems to readily identify any issues or items of concern. There are many approaches to system commissioning, but remembering the four “E’s” may offer a minimum guide to the process.

Evaluate the final system installation.

Test each component within the system including the point-to-point wiring. Confirm that the terminations of locking devices, request to exit devices, status monitoring devices, and other components meet Code. They should also match the initial system design and the manufacturers’ specifications. Confirm the position of cameras to provide ideal fields of view. Camera settings should meet the specifications of the end user’s recording requirements. Verify all intrusion detection devices report as intended. Confirm the address of all devices in the system.

Ensure all components are properly labeled and all findings are documented.

Draft a deficiency report or punch list and provide it to the installation contractor. Make sure that the contractor addresses these issues before turning the system over to the end user. After that, conduct a post-fix commissioning to verify the correction of any deficiencies.

Enhance the functional operation of the system and its corresponding subsystems.

Commissioning may drastically minimize post-installation return calls and optimizes the functionality of the system. This process doesn’t have to stop after the initial installations. Re-commissioning is a best practice to ensure the system and its components are still operating as intended. A re-commissioning of the system near the end of the warranty would provide time to make any corrections or adjustments. Even further into the lifespan of a building or a system, it’s important to re-commission.  Multiple vendors may have been involved with system additions or servicing over the years. This might include repairing failed devices, programming changes, re-wiring, different installation methodologies or any number of occurrences. Re-commissioning is not a replacement for preventative maintenance. However, it is a beneficial process to make sure all systems continue to operate in good working order.

Excellent documentation.

Okay, that’s stretch on the “E” theme, but it’s very important. Deliverables such as O&M manuals, training plans, as-built drawings, and warranty information should be provided to the end user during or upon completion of the commissioning process. You can use these documents in the future for reference or troubleshooting. You could even use them as a baseline for additional expansion of the system.

Complete the process.

In conclusion, the entire process of selecting reliable equipment manufacturers, contracting with reputable security integrators, and engaging a professional commissioning agent will offer the end user an efficient, optimized, and successful security system.