AIC’s Alastair Rutherford has been working with Irrigation New Zealand to create a set of minimum standards for new irrigation commissioning to ensure that any irrigation installed from 2017 onward meets GMP standards.
Commissioning is a process by which agreement is reached that the installed irrigation system meets the design performance specifications. It verifies the system is complete to the required workmanship standards, is safe to operate and is ready to perform as per the designer’s and operator’s system performance expectations. The base line as-built Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are determined and can subsequently be used as a reference point for future condition and performance assessment of the irrigation system.
Commissioning occurs at the substantial completion of the installation contract and as the first transition into the operational period. The contract should be clear on when the ownership and responsibility changes from the installer to the owner, and whether any defect periods comes into force that requires the installer or designer to maintain control obligations. In most cases commissioning is the point in time when responsibility for the irrigation system is ‘handed over’ from the designer and installer to the owner / operator and may have implications for insurances, maintenance programmes and consent compliance.