Successfully Commissioning and Starting up a Control System

Successfully Commissioning and Starting up a Control System

Commissioning is an important stage of a control system project, for both green field projects (new control system installations) and brown field projects (control system modernizations).

To be successful with commissioning, the following criteria must be fulfilled prior to the start of the commissioning process:

  1. Completion of a system design that follows the client’s specifications and project requirements.
  2. Testing of the new control system: Hardware and/or Software
  3. Successful construction and installation of the control system on site.
  4. Post-construction completion of QA/QC procedures and validation, which includes resolving all deficiencies before commissioning.
  5. Scheduling and resourcing review with the project stakeholders to ensure that the plan meets the shutdown window for commissioning and start up.
  6. Engagement of qualified resources to complete the commissioning activities as required.
  7. Successful completion of the pre-commissioning process.

Commissioning Tools

The commissioning tool used must be able to achieve the following:

  • Documentation of the commissioning results and turnover tasks.
  • Tracking commissioning activities on daily basis.
  • Delivering real-time information about commissioning progress to the project team and project stakeholders.
  • Tracking and documenting deficiencies and providing updates after resolving any deficiencies, until commissioning is completed.
  • Documentation of the final results of the commissioning, including the overall percentage of completion.

mCloud’s proprietary commissioning tool, CheckMate, was developed in house, and has been used to commission thousands of brownfield and greenfield projects. There are other similar tools available in the market, however it is important to ensure that any commissioning tool used meets the requirements previously mentioned.

Commissioning Success

How is success of the commissioning stage measured?

If the following objectives have been achieved, the commissioning stage has been completed successfully, and the final stage of starting up the facility can commence:

  • Commissioning was completed within the planned schedule, met the scheduled shutdown or turnaround window, and is ready for start up.
  • Commissioning was completed on budget and with the appropriate resources.
  • All critical deficiencies have been resolved. Any outstanding deficiencies are classified as non-critical, and will not affect the control system’s performance, or plant operation. (i.e. redline drawing updates or minor software settings that can be done later).
  • Final documents are accurate and up to date.


After commissioning is successfully completed and all critical deficiencies have been resolved, the final stage may commence; starting up the plant using the newly commissioned control system.

  1. Before starting up, the project stakeholders should have a GO/NO GO meeting with the plant operations staff to discuss any operational concerns. This will facilititate their ability to then work together to start up the plant as per the client’s procedures and best practices.
  2. Operators may require more time after commissioning to familiarize themselves with the new HMI and visualization. mCloud’s commissioning and start up team are available and ready to support operators if any questions or concerns arise. Support is provided until operators are comfortable and confident when using the new system tools and functions.
  3. The start up period is specific to the plant and the type of process in place. Start up may vary from a day to a week or more until the plant reaches stable operating conditions, and is able to deliver the final products as per the required specifications and expected quality.

When these steps conclude, the project is completed and successful. mCloud’s project team remains available to support the plant remotely as required.

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