Story of a Building Seminar - May 2019

Story of a Building Seminar, May 2019 (Auburn, MA)
Operation Matters: Understanding Your New Buildings Equipment and Systems
Auburn Middle School

Presented by:

  • The Office of the Inspector General MCPPO Program
  • The Massachusetts School Building Authority
  • The Auburn Superintendent, Director of Facilities and Maintenance, Business Manager and Middle School Principal
Story of a Building - May 2018

Auburn Building Team
Download the Story of a Building Auburn Middle School - May 2019 Factsheet

On May 1, 2019, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector Generals' Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) program joined the school building Team from Auburn to offer a special Story of a Building program, entitled, Operation Matters: Understanding Your New Building's Equipment and Systems Operation. Please find the Agenda here.

Auburn's new middle school was completed in the early Fall of 2015. When the weather turned colder and the they called for the heat, the heat would not stay activated to fully warm the school building. A school building project that falters after the design and construction team has gone home and the students have moved into the new school is an uncommon occurrence. However, from the MSBA’s post occupancy pilot, we learned that sophisticated operating systems cause consternation for district’s facilities managers more often than expected. What accounts for these unwanted outcomes? We explored this question with the Auburn School Building Team and can share many lessons learned.

In the first session, Landing on Your Feet After A Systems Free Fall (What it took to find the problems and solutions), Auburn shared their experience. A significant aspect of the problem was the compatibility of the installed HVAC units with the building management system (BMS) system and associated software.

The MSBA coordinated experts  to present the next session: Building Controls and Automation: Being Prepared for Complex Building Systems. In this interactive segment, attendees heard from experts who explained that in almost all cases, an energy-efficient, high-performance building will have a level of complexity greater than the legacy building the School District is replacing. They shared that it is vital to have access to controls technicians who understand the technical issues sophisticated, high-performance buildings present. Auburn’s systems problems were ultimately solved by a consultant with controls and software expertise. Access to this type of expertise can be achieved in many fashions: a controls technician can be hired to work directly for a school district; for the district and the city or town; or potentially across two or more municipal entities. The expertise of a controls technician can also be acquired through a service contractor, as a consultant. The expertise of a controls technician is similar to a school district's IT Director. This newer position became imperative as educational technology in schools increased. Your new school’s sophisticated BMS and operating systems also demand a new level of expertise. Please find PowerPoint here.

Auburn's School Business Manager presented a segment on building operating costs, entitled: A New Building! Now What? This informative session included Auburn’s increased budget numbers to account for the additional building square footage (and new air-conditioned spaces), an increase in custodial staff to accommodate after hours and weekend usage and the need for service contracts when warranties expire.  Auburn recommended considering the following service contracts: Controls; Mechanical; Boiler: Lighting; Building Security and Fire Alarm.  Please find PowerPoint here.

The Town of Hopkinton recently built a new Elementary School. It's Building Team presented their approach to a thoughtful commissioning and close-out process. The Panel discussion on "Project Commissioning and Close Out," focused on the need for proper planning to ensure enough time to schedule each system’s commissioning. Intentional scheduling of system commissioning better ensures that the proper facilities people can attend. Hopkinton’s process also included a practical element to best ensure that operations information would not be lost during a staff transition. Specifically, videography was utilized. And, the videos of the commissioning process for every system were all produced in the same format. Attention was given to identifying key Team leaders from the District i.e. Principal, Facilities Director certain Faculty members etc. to participate in the commissioning process. Lastly, the OPM created an efficient "Commissioning Corrective Action" form to log items that needed further observation. The form included a due date for the relevant subcontractor to correct the issue noted and a sign-off section for completion when the item received attention and was ready for final OPM review. Please find PowerPoint here.

MSBA Capital Planning staff presented the last segment of the day on the topic of navigating the MSBA's website. They provided an overview of helpful information available to various stakeholders such as the event calendar, MSBA Board of Directors meeting schedule, and descriptions of roundtable meetings held for Owner's Project Managers, Designers, Contractors and Commissioning Consultants. They also highlighted information specifically intended to assist school districts and their consultants currently in the MSBA's grant program including project cost data, template documents and guidelines and resources such as sample educational programs and the MSBA's recently updated Science Laboratory and STEM Learning Spaces Guidelines.

The day also included a tour of the middle school and a delicious continental breakfast and lunch offered by Auburn's Director of Food Services and served in the cafetorium. From the evaluation forms received, we can say with certainty that the attendees were satisfied with the content of the Program and were grateful for panel presentations and the shared lessons learned.

Story of a Building - May 2019

Story of a Building - May 2019 Auburn Audience

Please direct any questions regarding "Story of A Building" to Barbara Hansberry, Director of Strategic Planning.