Making Buildings Work Better

Thinking Outside the Box

As commissioning authorities we are asked to think outside of the box, ask questions such as: what if? and why? to get people thinking and to try to avoid unforeseen problems. It’s like the graphic below, which I love. Can you connect 9 dots in a 3 x 3 square using only four lines and only going though each dot once?

The other night I caught a plane after work so that I could be to a meeting the next morning on the other side of the country. When we landed it was about 11:3o pm cold, rainy and dark…the pilot made us sit in our seats for about 20 minutes until the ground crew was ready for us to get off the plane. It turns out that because of the storm, the electricity was out on our side of the airport.  They couldn’t maneuver the jetway up to the plane door so they had to use portable stairs to get us out of the plane onto the tarmack, then we had to climb back up another set of portable stairs to get into the jetway. TSA personnel were stationed about every 15 to 20 feet on the tarmack and inside the jetway with flashlights because it was pitch black.  The jetway was not connected to emergency power! Once we exited the jetway into the terminal there were emergency lights so we could find our way to baggage claim and out of the terminal.

As a commissioning authority my mind went crazy with questions. Did this get commissioned? What if someone would have asked the right questions such as: What if the power goes out? Will you be able to use the jetway? Will there be emergency lighting outside or inside the jetway?

It makes you wonder  how many more times are they going to go through this again before somebody decides to come up with the bucks to fix this, or will it be a code official that gets wind of it and tells them they have to fix it?

The rhetorical question that went through my head was, Would I have missed this if it had been my project? Who knows, but we can all avoid the mistake if we will learn from someone else’s mistake.

I’ve taken the experience and stored it in the back of my mind to remind me to ask more “what if” questions. Hopefully it will for you as well.

So did you figure out the puzzle before reading this post, or are you still thinking about it? Here’s the answer if you haven’t already figured it out or Googled it already.

Now, what is the fewest number of continuous arcs needed to pass through a 4 x 4 grid of points?

Category: TBC

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About TBC

As a leader in the building commissioning industry, Total Building Commissioning (TBC) is a facility consulting firm that specializes in the commissioning of mechanical, electrical, controls and all other major building systems as well as LEED™ certification consulting.

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Phone: 801-401-8401
Toll Free: 877-822-9462

324 South State Street, Suite 400
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111