What is the CSA?
The CSA is an association for the commissioning industry within the construction world.
Its membership comprises commissioning industry companies, individual commissioning engineers and associated companies (such as equipment manufacturers, instrument suppliers, etc.), who have a vested interest in ensuring that the commissioning function in today's complex buildings is carried out to a uniformly high standard.
The Association was formed in 1990 by a number of the country's leading commissioning companies. Their prime objective was - and still is - to offer anyone who utilises the services of commissioning companies and engineers the guarantee of a professional service, based on trained, qualified and experienced field personnel, backed up by a quality of service underpinned by adherence to the CSA's aims, objectives and code of practice.
In addition, the CSA acts as both the voice and ears of the commissioning world, putting forward the views of it's Members in many spheres and also keeping its membership informed of developments in equipment, instrumentation and legislation which affect the way in which they operate.
The building services commissioning function has developed over the past 20 years, combining elements of design review, integration of electrical, mechanical & controls systems and trouble shooting, along with the traditional air & water balancing exercises.
This organic development, however, has not been matched by parallel development in engineering standards, training systems and information dissemination, despite valiant efforts by such august bodies as CIBSE and BSRIA. The result is that the commissioning function has become discredited by a combination of lack of knowledge, poorly structured training and varying approaches to the ideas of business ethics and best commissioning practice.
The Commissioning Specialists Association thus came into being to redress this situation. It is the only body in the UK aimed specifically at developing and improving the commissioning function to provide building users, consultant engineers main contractors and installation companies with a professional, quality service carried out by trained and experienced staff.
The CSA is based around four different types of membership:
Corporate membership is aimed at organisations whose main or only business is the commissioning of building services systems.
Associate Membership is aimed at organisations that are connected with the industry, but whose main business may be outside the pure commissioning activity, e.g. installation companies, equipment suppliers, instrumentation suppliers, consultant engineers, etc.
Individual Membership is aimed at those field engineers who are actively involved in the commissioning process. These may be from the mechanical, electrical or controls fields.
Individual Associate Membership was formed in 2003 to accommodate individuals who are not doing commissioning in the UK but are affiliated to commissioning through other trades, i.e. electrical, mechanical engineers etc. This membership will not be graded, but a Certificate of Membership will be issued and the Association's benefits afforded as with other categories.
The Association is run by a Main Committee, which delegates powers for the day to day affairs to a Management sub-committee and the Secretary. The members of the Main Committee are drawn from all four grades of membership to ensure that all parties have a voice in the running of The Association. There are sub committees for Training, Technical matters and Marketing.
The Training sub-committee deals with many areas including Job Descriptions, Training Courses, Distance Learning Courses and examinations, i.e. field staff grading and development.
The Technical sub-committee works towards the development of technical publications - The Commissioning Engineers Compendium, Technical Memoranda and technical articles for the CSA newsletters (Index) and other journals. It has also provided much input into the recent revision of CIBSE Code A.
The Marketing sub-committee is charged with getting the CSA name known throughout the building services industry and beyond as the first contact for all commissioning related areas. It also develops ways in which the CSA can offer its members better services and greater benefits, e.g. a discounted rates on Public Liability insurance.
The CSA office is run by the Secretary, who operates on a full time basis administering all aspects of the Association.
It provides a range of services and products, informs its members of product development (e.g. new commissioning valves, new VAV boxes), keeps its members abreast of other developments, both within commissioning and in the construction industry as a whole while disseminating the views of its members to other interested parties. The CSA also provides assistance to other bodies whose actions may affect the commissioning industry, such as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA). It also provides technical help and assistance to all members. A full training and career development framework is available, with detailed job descriptions, training courses and examinations designed to progress field engineers from first entry level through to Commissioning Manager. These activities are all in pursuit of the objectives of the CSA as enshrined in the Consititution. They assist the Corporate Members by helping them to attain the highest levels of quality service with properly trained staff, thus assuring clients the benefit of employing CSA Member companies again and again.