by Robyn L. Bartlett, PhD ABD
New to the commissioning industry, I have been on a major learning curve with Total Systems Commissioning (TSCx) for the past several weeks. The entire TSCx Team is committed to making a quality addition to the process of building design, construction and operation. They have commissioned a wide range of projects from laboratories to educational facilities, in both public and private sectors, and the process has enhanced the quality of construction and the operating systems’ performance. This efficiency of building performance results in lower operating costs for the owners and easier maintenance for the building engineering staff. Quite impressive.
However, what has impressed me the most is the attitude and ethics of the owner, Dick Dutro, who demonstrates integrity and core values while bringing exceptional experience and knowledge to the TSCx Team. I’ve watched him as he talks with the TSCx team members, clients and construction project team on site inspections. He is patient and diplomatic, but never lenient on commissioning details. Either a project is completed right, or the project is stopped until it is right. Period.
Dick’s uncompromising attention to quality work is followed by each team member, too. Since I have been new to the team, Dick encouraged me to get to know everyone on an individual basis over lunch. I can’t begin to describe how each and every one echoed the same integrity and dedication to quality work as Dick. As an I-O psychologist, I note whenever an individual’s energy rises and falls almost unconsciously, and each Project Manager and Technician experienced a rise in energy when they explained their work and what it is like to work for Dick.
I also have attended construction site inspections to obtain some pics of them in action. Like Dick, they thoroughly enjoy trouble-shooting and problem-solving, and also explaining it to the nth degree! They have pointed out numerous times how a small error may not cause an immediate breakdown, but over time that one small error can end up costing the owner much more grief than the initial expense and trouble to correct it in the beginning.
For example, a fire damper access panel did not open wide enough for adequate maintenance and periodic testing. TSCx Project Manager Mar Goldstone explained to me that what will happen is that when the maintenance personnel perform their yearly testing procedures, s/he will battle with the door to get it to open sufficiently and that will bend the metal door just a little. This “just a little” is enough that the fire damper access door will then experience leakage of air, and if there is a fire, the damper may not operate effectively and possibly fail to keep the fire contained.
Just after explaining the situation to me, Mar asked one of the sheet metal installers to take a look at it. The guy did exactly as Mar had described and bent the damper access door!