Bryan Welsh has always believed in advancing the field of building commissioning. We touched base with Bryan, the founder of Welsh Commissioning Group (WCG). Now retired, Bryan asked his associate and protégé, Matt White, to help us write the story of WCG as an early corporate member of the BCxA.
Founded in 2005 in Auburn, Washington, WCG is one of the largest third-party full-time commissioning providers in the Pacific Northwest. Acquired in January 2021 as a Division of Performance Validation, Inc., WCG is a 100% employee-owned “S corporation employee stock ownership plan” (S ESOP) corporation, now able to provide commissioning services not only in the Northwest, but also in the Midwest and beyond. WCG commissions facilities for K-12 school districts, healthcare development companies, military sites, and many more.
According to Matt White, “we currently have projects that are pursuing some of the most aggressive sustainability goals seen in our region, including several projects with the goal of net-zero energy operation. In the last year alone, our team commissioned more than 100 projects, the majority of which pursued some level of green building certification.”
WCG has always provided commissioning that centers around the owner and the facility rather than just checking boxes.
Matt says, “We believe that the commissioning process – when focused on the client and the facility – can be a value-added process that helps deliver buildings on time, on budget, and operating at peak efficiency. We have grown to be one of the largest firms in the country that provides solely building commissioning services, but still keep in mind our commitment to a quality process and to putting the client’s needs first.”
Professional Philosophy and Development
WCG believes in encouraging professional growth of our employees. We facilitate ongoing education for all of our staff. Our team of experts, led by six CCPs – continues to push the envelope of what building commissioning can be. By learning new technologies and new design strategies that optimize building performance, we continue to provide exceptional service that adds value to any project. We believe it is important for our industry to demonstrate that commissioning is about providing real value by helping clients save time, money, and headaches once a project is complete. As a 100% employee-owned company, we promote employee-development and motivate our staff to push the bar higher every day.
Bryan Welsh helped the BCxA develop the Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) program aligned with ISO/IEC 17024:2012, and became officially the first CCP in the United States. Tim O’Neill, a Principal Commissioning Project Manager at WCG, participated on the Building Commissioning Certification Board for several years during the more recent ANSI accreditation process for the CCP program.
“Having a CCP on a project ensures a competent, capable, qualified team member is leading the charge,” says Matt. “Having that individual backed by a Certified Commissioning Firm shows commitment to quality and consistency in the delivery of the commissioning process.”
The Pandemic Effect
Covid-19 affected our workload the same as many other industries with unpredictable shutdowns and target dates for milestones that became uncertain or unobtainable. We had to work with our clients to try and help keep the commissioned systems on these projects moving along in line with timelines that continued to change. One positive change that came out of Covid was that it forced many building owners and operators to evaluate the condition and performance of their systems. As ASHRAE and the various health departments issued guidance on air change rates and filtration requirements, we were able to work with our clients to help them better understand their equipment and controls.
The Value of Thorough Commissioning
As the commissioning industry continues to develop, more and more owners are realizing the innate value of a thorough commissioning process. In the Pacific Northwest, our local energy codes increase commissioning scope in each subsequent revision. Academic studies on the return-on-investment of building commissioning show that it is one of the most effective ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. The future looks bright for the commissioning industry.
Recommendations to individuals new to the commissioning scene:
- Build your process and goals from the client outward. Your client has needs that they require someone in their corner to help them meet. Understanding your clients’ needs fosters a relationship that makes the commissioning process more impactful.
- Do not cut corners. Run every test and verify every start-up form. A rigorous and thorough process helps boost the integrity of the entire commissioning profession.
- Define your success by value-added, not boxes checked.
- Get your CCP. The path to becoming a Certified Commissioning Professional teaches you all of the skills you need to be an effective Commissioning Provider.
Bryan Welsh, WCG Founder
Matt White, WCG Marketing Engineer