First things first: don’t anguish over it…

Setting up your very first commissioning project in XForms Cx will take a little bit of effort, mostly because you will need to assemble your device and systems lists, think about how to structure your device types hierarchy, and get your commissioning checklist form templates built out or customized from our library of available templates.

The good news is that once you have your first project in the system all set up the way you want, you can clone it for your next project and tweak as needed, making it super easy after your first one.  The ability to clone objects in XForms Cx is available in many places….from cloning a single row in a table of a form template, to cloning an entire project, and everything in between.  So, in reality, the very beginning setup is the most challenging, and then it’s all downhill from there.

Help is also just a phone call or text away…we will help you get your ducks in a row.  So…don’t fret too much. You got this.

Step 1 – Get your lists from your GC

Get your lists together.  This is something external from the software, and generally provided by the general contractor (GC).  The two lists you need are:

  • Systems.  Systems are also known as Engineering Areas.  At its most basic definition, system identification codes (System IDs) are groupings of devices, or equipment.  These IDs are generally defined by the GC and provided to the commissioning team.
  • Devices. Devices are also known as equipment.  This is your list of equipment, or devices, that your commissioning team will be checking and testing.  There’s a parent to child relationship between Systems and Devices, wherein one System can have many Devices in it, and one Device belongs to a System.  Like the Systems list, the Devices list is generally provided by the GC.

Prepare your lists for import

Once you have your lists, you need to “normalize” them.  That is, get prepare them for import into the XForms software.  This means checking for duplicate values, keeping nomenclature consistent, and checking the import file for issues like extra spaces after a device ID, errant commas, etc.

Once you’ve gotten your System list ready, you can copy/paste it right into a System import template that’s available for download right from the Manage > Systems screen.  Click the link to download it and open it in Excel.

When you open the import file, it will look like the screenshot below.  The System ID and Description are required fields, while all the other fields (Baseline Walkdown, Actual Walkdown, Baseline Turnover, and Actual Turnover) are optional date fields.  So all you really need to do is copy System ID and System Description values from your source spreadsheet, and paste them into the import template.

Import your Systems list

When your file is ready to go, click on the Green “Import CSV” button on the top right of the Manage > Systems screen, navigate to the file, and import it.

The screen will refresh and display an import preview screen.

*** Make sure you look at the details closely***  If something looks wrong, its best to cancel the import, fix it in Excel, and try again.  Also, make sure your file is a .csv file, not .xls

Note that there is a “Skip Duplicates” checkbox that defaults to checked in the preview pane. This is something that will come in handy when your GC sends you an updated list and you’d rather import the whole thing again instead of figuring out which item is new and just import that.

 Import your Devices list

The process for importing your Devices (aka equipment) list is the same as the import process for the Systems file:

  • Click on the tiny “CSV Template” link on the top center of the Manage > Devices screen to download the template
  • Paste your device information into the template
  • Check the data for issues (duplicates, leading or straying blank spaces, extra commas, etc)
  • Import the file
  • Check the preview pane before clicking on the Import button

Step 2 – Set up your “Device Type” hierarchy


Some folks struggle with this, so lets try to explain this a bit.  In a construction project, many different types of devices (or equipment) make up the project.  For example, valves, motors, instruments, pumps, fans, etc.  Each of these is a category, or type of device.  And each category, or type of device requires different commissioning checks.

For example, a solenoid valve needs to be checked differently than a motor control center or a pump.  This means that each device type has different checklist forms that need to be completed.

So in XForms Cx, instead of assigning different form templates to each device, you do this in 2 steps: assign the form templates to a device type, and THEN assign that device type to a series of devices.

Create the hierarchy

When creating your device type hierarchy, give some thought as to how you want to track things, as whatever you set up here has reporting implications.  For example, some folks like using a flat structure, where there’s only one level of device types.  And some prefer to use a nested approach, where device types are first categorized as electrical devices and mechanical devices, then below mechanical devices they add another layer for “rotating mechanical devices” and for “non-rotating mechanical devices”.

The possibilities are endless.  One recommendation: stick to something simple and don’t be an engineer overcomplicating things here.  And once you set up a hierarchy, try to be consistent across all your projects.  The more consistent, the easier things will be for everyone.

The main controls on the the Device Types screen are illustrated below.

Zoomed out, your screen will look like the example below.  In this example, the device type hierarchy is of a nested nature, where the main device ttpes are mechanical, piping, electrical, and instrumentation.  Drilling down into the mechanical devices, you can see that there’s rotating and non-rotating device type categories.  Drilling down even further, you can see that in rotating, there are pumps, converyors, overhead cranes, and fans/blowers.

 Assign form templates to the “end nodes” of your herarchy

What is an “end node” you might ask.  It’s the lowest level in your hierarchy.  In the example above, Pump, Pump 1, Conveyor, Overhead Crane, and Fan/Blower are all end nodes because they are the very bottom of the hierarchy Mechanical >  Rotating.  That is, these are all rotating mechanical devices, but some are pumps, some are conveyors, etc.

When you hover over an end node in your device type hierarchy, you will see that there is a paper clip icon to the far right (this paper clip icon is only displayed on end nodes).  Click on the paper clip, and you will see an “Assign Form Templates” popup window like the one illustrated below.

Here you can add one or more form templates to your device type end node by clicking on the “Add Form” button on the bottom left of the popup window.  If a particular device type requires multiple forms, you can add more by just clicking on the “Add Form” button again and again.

Assign % weights to each form template

This really only applies to device types where you have added more than one form template.  In the case of a single form template, just set that value to 100%. Note that the % weight needs to total up to 100% before you can save the form assignment screen.

If a device type has been set up to display more than one form template, you can determine the weight you want to give to each.  As an example, lets say you have a device type named “Motor”, and you assign a Motor Megger test form and an inspection form to it.  Motor meggers are a lot more complicated and time-consuming to complete, so you could give the Motor Megger test form a weight of 80% and the inspection form a weight of 20%.  This means that when the field tech complates the inspection form (but hasn’t started the motor megger test), that device gets assigned a 20% completion value.  This is how the system can assign partial credit to your devices, something that no other Cx tool out there can do, at least not easily.  Click the link above for an explanation how the system calculates this stuff.

Step 3 – Assign systems and device types to your devices

Final step.  Now that you have imported your lists, created your device type hierarchy, and assigned form templates to the different device types, its time to go to the Manage > Devices screen and assign systems and device types to your list of devices.  On this screen, you will notice an “Action” button as illustrated below.

The action button is what you would use to assign a system or device type to a specific device or group of devices.  You can use the type ahead filter on the top left to do a search for devices that have a common description, and you can use the “Select All” checkbox on the top left of the grid to select all the items in your search.

After narrowing your search down to the ones you want, click on the “Actions” button in the middle top of the screen and then on “Assign System” or “Assign Type”, depending on what you are wanting to do.

Here’s an animated gif illustrating how this screen works.

That’s it!  It seems like a lot, and when you first do this, it’s a lot to learn, but like most things in life, once you do it once, you’ve mostly got it.  And we are just a phone call away to help.

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