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Commissioning a Marine Laboratory

William Dean, P.E., LEED AP®, Newcomb & Boyd Consultants and Engineers

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Environmental Health Research Laboratory emphasizes multi-discipline and multi-institutional research linking understanding of the health of coastal ecosystems to both fisheries and human health. Core research capabilities include a cryogenic specimen banking facility, analytical clean laboratories, environmentally controlled challenge laboratories, incubator and culture laboratories, bioassay culture laboratories, and mammalian laboratories. The facility also includes a 1,000 square foot, Class 100 cleanroom and a 3,000-square-foot Class 1,000 cleanroom, and is served by a central plant.

Commissioning the facility involved onsite presence during construction and later involved functional testing of the equipment and systems, including providing the operation of the building automation system. The scope also included documentation of the entire commissioning process and compilation of all the commissioning data. Numerous challenges arose during this project, including space planning in some areas and a lack of commissioning specifications in the original construction documents. Also, the facility was 70 percent constructed when the commissioning agent joined the team.


William W. Dean, P.E., LEED AP, is a partner with Newcomb & Boyd, an Atlanta-based consulting engineering firm. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree from Stanford University. Mr. Dean has been awarded membership in the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni from the Georgia Institute of Technology. While with Newcomb & Boyd, he has had mechanical engineering, project management, and partner-in-charge responsibilities on more than 800 projects. He is a past chairman of the ASHRAE Technical Committee on Industrial Ventilation, and is also a member of ASTM International.

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