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Certified Commissioning Firm – What it Means to McKinstry Co.


McKinstry’s New Certified Commissioning Firm Certification

What kind of organizations elect to become Certified Commissioning Firms (CCF)? Here’s a look at one CCF from the inside out. McKinstry Co. has been a sponsor and supporter of the BCxA since the Association’s very beginnings. Craig Hawkins, Commissioning Project Director, is a BCxA Founder and a Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP).  McKinstry is the story of family, personal relationships, integrity, and loyalty to colleagues, customers and employees. Its dedication to excellence represents why the CCF is a meaningful certification.

McKinstry was founded in 1934 by George Allen and Merrill McKinstry after their employer, William Beggs of W.E. Beggs Co. passed away suddenly. Allen and McKinstry eventually renamed the firm, re-establishing the company in 1960 as McKinstry Co. with six plumbers for commercial and residential jobs. Within a decade McKinstry’s services expanded to design and construction of mechanical systems. Additional expansion over the years has positioned McKinstry as “a full-service design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM) firm with over 1,800 employees and approximately $500 million in annual revenue.” George Allen’s son, Dean, remains at the helm as CEO and Chairman for McKinstry Co., LLC and McKinstry Essention, LLC.

What do insiders say about McKinstry’s focus on commissioning certification for better performing buildings?

Craig Hawkins, CxA, CCP, McKinstry, Commissioning Project Director: To me, working for a Certified Commissioning Firm means I have the full support of my firm in my commitment to provide the highest quality of commissioning service to our clients. Being a proud CCP working for a CCF sends a message to my clients, both existing and potential, that not only have I made a personal commitment to quality commissioning per the BCxA’s Essential Attributes, but that my firm has also committed to the delivery of high quality commissioning. It displays the fact that McKinstry has dedicated itself to the highest level of quality commissioning for the client. CCP and CCF certifications are symbols of our dedication to clients’ best interests —we hold those certifications but they are the beneficiaries of that commitment. I am a CCP for their benefit, and McKinstry is a CCF for their benefit.

Although we always strive to provide “best of class” commissioning services to each and every client, there is always the potential of unreached expectations. Being a CCF tells our clients that we provide our services to meet or exceed the BCxA’s Essential Attributes. If the client has any issue with our professional services, being a CCP or CCF means that they can go to our certification body, the Building Commissioning Certification Board, and have our delivery reviewed. Being a CCF means they, the client, have an avenue of quality review if necessary.

Scott Henderson, PE, McKinstry, Senior Commissioning Engineer: We get RFPs that include the requirement for “CCP or equivalent.” We also see requirements for the CCF. From the Owner’s perspective, there is a correlation between Owner’s Cx knowledge and their Cx expectations. For example, the most knowledgeable Owners understand and appreciate what it means to have a CCF that provides a CCP because we follow best practices, and we are accountable to the BCCB and our fellow professionals. Some Owners may not necessarily understand these things specifically, but they recognize the quality we bring to their projects as a CCF providing CCPs. Finally, there are Owners who know they need us to meet Washington State code or LEED requirements, and therefore they include CCP or CCF in project requirements but don’t really understand what that means. But they benefit, too —perhaps they benefit most, and in ways they don’t expect. When McKinstry delivers a job as a CCF in that situation, I’ve heard things like, “that went so much better than last time.” When this happens, as it often does, Owners who start off having less familiarity with the process evolve into strong advocates of Cx.

Owners who know McKinstry expect we will resolve issues and not walk away. They also know we are going to be engaged in the project from design to construction to operation. They know we uncover issues early and timely and will work them with the owner, contractor, and subs. They also know we are not just there to find problems, but are their advocate and partner in obtaining the best possible outcome for the building and operation after construction.

Noah Welshans, McKinstry, Technical Services: To me McKinstry’s commitment to the CCF is an assurance that we are here for the long haul for our customers, following new and improved ways to apply commissioning. We do not shy away from being challenged. The CCF is that ‘third party to the third party’ commissioning firm leading the industry. Owners spend considerable time and money on new and existing buildings and want them to last. They need to know how to choose partners that are committed to excellence. The CCF is that seal of excellence every commissioning firm should strive for if they really want to do what is best for their customers.

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