Vital Roles: MSI

Altura Associates / Kaiser Permanente

January 1, 2020
January 1, 2025
sq. ft.

Project Overview

Altura is leading the project as the Master SystemsIntegrator (MSI) for upgrading the building automation systems (BAS) at KaiserPermanente Baldwin Park Medical Center and Office buildings. The existing BAS,which relied on a Johnson Controls product line, had reached the end of its operational life and was nearing obsolescence by 2024. The goal was to implement a new BAS solution that would ensure uninterrupted support while delivering an open, non-proprietary, multi-vendor BAS solution in accordance with Kaiser's National Standards and Guidelines.

In Altura’s capacity as the MSI, they assumed various responsibilities, including early identification of scope gaps, collaborating with the Engineer On Record in a design-assist role, and coordinating efforts between Kaiser's Facilities and IT teams, mechanical and controls contractors, and Commissioning teams. Altura enhanced the conventional commissioning process, led by others, with realtime data analytics throughout the migration process to mitigate risks associated with transitioning existing equipment without any disruption to critical operating room spaces.

Project Scope

MSI Submittals and As-built Documentation

- Review the current design and shop drawings, ensuring alignment with Kaiser Permanente (KP) standards and guidelines.
- Create the MSI Submittal document, outlining the implementation of the MSI scope and system execution requirements.
- Provide an MSI As-built document capturing modifications, additions, and changes made during construction, along with system configurations.

Virtual Server and Network Configuration

- Collaborate with KP IT to leverage the enterprise Niagara BAS architecture, focusing on cyber security and high-performance data management. - Configure virtual servers and associated networking requirements to ensure secure and efficient BAS programs, alarms, and graphics.
- Utilize Tridium Niagara 4 software on KP virtual servers, minimizing the need for additional supervisory hardware in the field.

BAS Integration and Optimization

- Integrate BACnet points from the specified equipment into the Tridium N4 OptimizationSupervisors.
- Programand deploy zone and AHU optimizations, including setpoint resets, occupancy-based temperature and airflow setback, scheduling, and after-hours temperature setback

Standardized BAS Graphics and Alarms

- Integrate Niagara Optimization server data into the KP central Tridium Niagara 4 Graphics and Alarms server.
- Develop standardized graphics.
- Collaborate with KP to determine necessary alarms, focusing on critical equipment failure, communication failures, and space temperature deviations.

Enhanced Commissioning

- Data-driven monitoring and analytics tools were utilized to verify system performance by binding to control points and creating trends for     continuous monitoring.
- The utilization of data-driven fault detection and analytics capabilities provided the Project teams with a proactive approach to  identify issues across multiple systems through a unified and  comprehensive platform. This single-pane-of-glass platform enabled efficient monitoring and analysis, allowing for early detection and  resolution of potential problems, ultimately ensuring optimal system  performance and reliability immediately at turnover.
- The data-driven approach, in conjunction with the client-identified acceptance criteria, fostered a collaborative environment where diverse     project teams were aligned and in agreement regarding the final acceptance  criteria. This alignment ensured a shared understanding of the project objectives and performance expectations, enabling effective collaboration and streamlined decision-making throughout the project lifecycle.

Training and Handoff

- Provide training sessions for KP operating staff, incorporating their feedback for future updates and enhancements.

Why It's Important

1. Legacy System Replacement: The project involves upgrading an existing BAS system that has reached the end of its  life and is becoming obsolete. The innovative aspect lies in the implementation of hardware-agnostic, IT-centric and data-driven processes and workflows that not only support but enhance the deployment and commissioning of upgraded systems that serve critical spaces with no downtime.

2. MSI Approach: The project highlights the importance of the MSI role in driving the upgrade process with the Project team. By decoupling the device layer from the supervisory software, a  non-proprietary solution that enables a multi-vendor approach can be achieved. In fact, the MSI approach enabled the project team to switch hardware (controls) vendors during the project due to lack of capacity and poor performance. Additionally, the MSI acts as a central coordinating entity, bridging various stakeholders, including the design team, facilities and IT teams, mechanical and controls contractors, and commissioning teams. This comprehensive approach greatly improved execution efficiency, minimized post-cutover deficiencies, and successfully re-certifying critical spaces serving patients 24/7 hours a day 365 days a year.

3. Design-Assist Collaboration: The MSI actively engages with the Engineer On Record in a design-assist role to deliver a non-proprietary solution. This collaboration enhances the integration and coordination of systems, addressing any scope gaps or design challenges early in the project which shifted Project’s effort from deficiencies (reactiveness) after the cutovers to preparedness (proactiveness) prior to each cutover.

4. Enhanced Project Delivery: The project incorporates the use of real-time data in the commissioning process to mitigate risks associated with transitioning existing equipment without downtime in critical spaces. This innovative approach enhances the traditional commissioning process, showcasing the MSI's ability to leverage technology for improved efficiency and reliability.

5. Optimization and Standardization: The open MSI approach moves the key optimization strategies from the field hardware to the client’s server. This ensure standardization of optimization at scale, and enhances the on-going maintenance of the optimization strategies as they are centralized and standardized. Innovative optimization strategies include dynamic, occupancy-based ventilation controls and advanced temperature and pressure resets. These measures aim to optimize energy efficiency, system performance, and occupant comfort that are aligned throughout entire Kaiser’s Enterprise portfolio of medical facilities.

6. EnhancedCommissioning: The use of data-driven tools for continuous monitoring and fault detection enhances the commissioning process, providing real-time insights into system performance and identifying potential issues early in the construction process before they become project deficiencies.

The Future

The future of MSI deployment holds immense potential for technical advancements and innovations. Here are some key aspects that willshape the future of MSI deployment:

Enhanced Integration Capabilities: MSI will continue to evolve as a critical component of building automation systems, enabling seamless integration of diverse and hardware-agnostic subsystems and technologies. As more and more systems are integrated (such as advanced IAQ systems, security, AV, etc), energy efficiency and operational capabilities will grow exponentially.

Advanced Analytics and AI-driven Insights: MSI will leverage advanced analytics techniques, machine learning algorithms, and artificial intelligence to unlock valuable insights from the vast amounts of data generated by interconnected systems. This will enable predictive maintenance, anomaly detection, energy optimization, and intelligent decision-making, leading to improved system performance and operational efficiency. 

Robust Cybersecurity Measures: With the increasing connectivity of building systems, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures will be a top priority for MSI. This will involve implementing secure communication protocols, strong access controls, encryption mechanisms, and intrusion detection systems to protect against cyber threats and safeguard critical infrastructure. 

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Focus: MSI will continue to contribute to energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives. Through advanced energy management systems, intelligent algorithms, and integration with renewable energy sources, MSI will optimize energy consumption, enable grid interactive and responsive buidings, monitor environmental impact, and support sustainable building practices. 

These technological advancements will drive the development of smarter, more efficient, and secure buildings, supporting a wide range of applications and contributing to the transformation of the building technology landscape. The MSI role will be at the center of this transformation and unlocking of technology potential.

Learn more about Altura.

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