‘If you ask me, in the world of quality commissioning, two unmistakable characteristic values are central: unambiguity and automation.’ These are the words of Kees-Jan Wijn, cooperation partner of D-TACS and founder of commissioning software TALT. In this article he talks about the core values of quality commissioning.

Analyze and improve

In 2019, the collaboration between Kees-Jan and D-TACS began. Kees-Jan explains, “I developed TALT during my involvement with a shipbuilder that builds dredgers and pipe-layers, among other things. They had recently started insourcing the electrical installation. Although sufficient technical expertise was available, the administrative commissioning process was not yet running smoothly. My job was to support, analyze and improve the process where necessary.’

Huge project

Soon Kees-Jan realized that there were shortcomings in the commissioning process, especially since it was still being documented on paper at the company in question. ‘On a small scale this may still be manageable, but with a project the size of a ship it quickly becomes a huge project. In particular, controlling residual points. Capturing and thus demonstrating that everything meets legal requirements while meeting the client’s criteria is a challenge. A ship may have as many as eighty thousand components on board that make up a system. Each of these components must be tested, and residual issues resolved, both individually and in context, from micro to macro.’

Version control

‘Because the entire commissioning process was recorded on paper, significant version control challenges arose. Several stakeholders were involved: the client, the Notified Bodies and in-house engineers. This sometimes led to different versions of a commissioning document, which could lead to confusion. In addition, the recording of residual items was ambiguous. I soon realized that this was not only an issue at this shipbuilder I worked for, but also at many other organizations. This inspired me to develop an online commissioning software: TALT.’

Automated and unambiguous

‘Commissioning should be done according to an automated process,’ Kees-Jan says. ‘No more thick paper files, but an online, integrated system that all parties involved (client, legal authorities and engineers) can access. Each with its own defined role and responsibility. While on paper some questions may be skipped, a system can be set up so that all fields are required. It is also essential that during the commissioning process an unambiguous record be made of what is actually being tested. This can be achieved by asking only closed, specific questions related to the specified residual items. Open-ended questions should be avoided because they risk different stakeholders giving different answers. So the questioning methodology is also critical to a foolproof system.’

Independence and customization

By using an automated system with separate roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders, you can also guarantee that commissioning is safeguarded as an independent process. In addition, commissioning is always customized. Kees-Jan: “For example, a company may produce six different types of ships with the same engine. In that case, the choice may be made to use the same engine commissioning document for those six vessels. But then situations may arise where certain questions are relevant to one ship’s engines but not to another ship’s. Therefore, each testing process must be specifically adapted to each vessel. There is no one-size-fits-all.’

From shipping to windmills

Kees-Jan concludes, “Whether it’s the delivery of a wind turbine or the renovation of a building: by creating a customized test script for each project, in which all those involved have the same version and in which they all process their remaining points using unambiguous and closed questions, you guarantee the best result. That’s the only way you can prove that the tests were done thoroughly and that the system meets the predetermined specifications.

D-TACS and TALT can look back on a series of successful collaborations, including projects with wind turbines in Calais and Lichtenvoorde, as well as several assignments for ABN AMRO. In addition, TALT and D-TACS jointly organized several master classes on commissioning. Learn more about commissioning? Get in touch !