SMMA Commissioning Celebrates 10 Years

SMMA Commissioning Celebrates 10 Years

SMMA’s Commissioning Group, a team of dedicated professionals who ensure that today’s complex building systems are working as intended, celebrates its 10 year anniversary this spring. The group’s conception came in 2009 under the leadership of (then) HVAC and Mechanical Engineer Christopher Davis and Chief Mechanical Engineer Mark O’Brien.

“When I first joined SMMA in 1999, I teamed up with Mark on projects to see them through,” explains Davis. “He always instilled in me the need to check the work of the contractors - Before handing off the keys to the car, you need to test drive it! We went to project sites and ran the systems through a quality control check; it was commissioning before SMMA offered commissioning to clients.”

As project LEED certifications became increasingly more popular during the early 2000s (with commissioning as a prerequisite), Davis saw the unique opportunity for SMMA to expand its services. “By that time, I had been working outside of the firm for three years and didn’t want to continue as a design engineer. I knew that if I was going to return, it would be to start an official Commissioning Group. Mark and I had done the work before, but we wanted to do it again in a better way.”

It was a perfect marriage: Davis knew SMMA and he knew that the market needed commissioners. In 2009, he returned to the firm and co-launched the service. During the first few years, the group earned most of its commissioning work through existing clients and obtained the appropriate certifications to solidify its expertise. By 2011, SMMA’s Commissioning Group was chosen as one of a select group of firms to provide commissioning services to the Massachusetts School Building Authority - This listing proved monumental and paved the way for future commissioning opportunities.

Other significant commissioning projects for the firm included a 911 Call Center in Middlesex County and Boston’s revered Millennium Hotel. “I was in the right place at the right time,” Davis remembers. “SMMA had already completed the design for the Call Center and was a third-party consultant on the Millennium, so it was a smooth transition when offering the clients our additional in-house services. They were both pinnacle moments and invaluable experiences since they taught us so much about fire protection, alarm systems, smoke control systems, and safety.”

Today, SMMA’s Commissioning Group has extended its core services to include the building envelope, tel-data, security, and mission critical systems. The growing team - comprised of Mark O’Brien, Christopher Davis, Alex Masi, Michael Bouchard, Kevin Stevenson, and Anthony Jimenez - continues to succeed due to its vast professional experience, its focus on values and excellence, and the relationships built along the way.

“We are communicators, we will always be there for the owners and the workers. Growing up taught me to invest in teams, and as a Commissioning Agent I feel like you can only be successful if you keep the team intact and in-sync. Everyone is and should be treated like professionals,"  says Davis.

Upcoming SMMA Commissioning projects include:

  • Serving as the Government’s Commissioning Agent (CxG) for CSL-MIF, an MIT Lincoln Laboratory research and development center
  • Four Smoke Control Systems at the University of Rhode Island
  • A Cooling Tower Replacement for the Carothers Library at the University of Rhode Island
  • Future projects on the UMass campuses for the University of Massachusetts Building Authority (UMBA) which include systems, retro, audits, and envelope commissioning services