Building Owner’s Manual About Commissioning

The main benefit of Building Commissioning is cost savings. In addition to offering a financial return on investment, Commissioning (Cx) also results in reduced energy costs, fewer change orders, fewer contractor claims and call backs, a reduction in project delays, improved scheduling and better communication among the project team.

Commissioning can be implemented using many systems across a range of projects and during any stage of a facility’s life cycle. Here are a few of the different types of commissioning processes commonly used.

  • New Construction Commissioning

  • Recommissioning

  • Retro-Commissioning

  • Monitoring-Based Commissioning

Commissioning is most effective when it begins in the predesign phase and recommend that a building owner assemble the commissioning team and begin to define the Owner Projects Requirement at this stage.

A commissioning team normally includes the owner, a commissioning authority, the design team, operations and maintenance (O&M) personnel, the construction team and a representative to speak on behalf of the occupants who will use the building once it’s complete.

The Owner Projects Requirement (OPR) communicate the owner’s expectations, goals and success criteria with measurable benchmarks to the rest of the team. These goals should be developed during the predesign phase with the input and guidance of the commissioning authority, O&M personnel and the building’s occupants. The commissioning authority defines the scope of commissioning for the project and helps incorporate this into the overall schedule and budget.

During the design phase, the commissioning authority verifies that the building design is consistent with the OPR. The purpose of the commissioning authority is to communicate their requirements to the project team members, perform an independent review of the design documentation and facilitate cooperation among the project team. The commissioning authority is responsible for the creation of a plan to document the commissioning process and for delivering this plan to the contractor. The plan includes the various roles and responsibilities of the individual team members, the systems commissioned, as well as the overall project schedule.

During the construction phase, the commissioning authority verifies that equipment and systems are properly installed and integrated per the design. This is achieved by carrying out site observations and witnessing system startups and third-party evaluations such as testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB).

As the building nears completion, the acceptance phase of commissioning begins. The authority works with the project team to complete functional performance testing, integrated systems testing and training in order to verify successful turnover. They then work alongside facility maintenance personnel to develop a commissioning manual for ongoing maintenance.

Finally, during the occupancy phase, the commissioning authority makes periodic trips to the project site to perform any deferred or seasonal testing. A review of the entire facility is conducted 10 months or a time frame mutually agreed by all parties into the warranty period and a final commissioning record is developed.

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