Making Commissioning clear

Commissioning Authority Services for New Building Owners

What is it?


Building commissioning is a method of risk reduction for new construction and major renovation projects to ensure that building systems meet their design intent, operate and interact optimally and provide the owner what he or she expects. This systematic process typically includes building HVAC, controls, lighting, hot water, security, fire, life and safety systems.

Total building commissioning often includes additional essential buildings systems such as the building's exterior wall, plumbing, acoustical and roofing systems. Commissioning these additional systems can reduce moisture penetration, infiltration and noise problems, and contribute to the building's energy and resource efficiency and occupant productivity.

Successful Cx results in optimal energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, reduced change orders during construction, extended systems life and reduced operation and maintenance costs, often paying for itself before construction is completed. To be most effective, building commissioning begins in the planning phase and continues through design, construction, startup, acceptance, training and the warranty period, and continues throughout a building's life cycle.


Focus Commissioning Services provides the following commissioning services and documents confirming that new building systems function according to criteria set forth in the project documents to satisfy any and all requirements, such as LEEDS, and owner operational needs.




All forms of building commissioning share the same goals: to produce a building that meets the unique needs of its owner and occupants, operates as efficiently
as possible, provides a safe, comfortable work environment, and is operated and maintained by a well-trained staff or service contractor. The commissioning process is a team effort, usually led by a commissioning lead, who verifies that the building meets the owner's expectations at each stage of the design and construction process. Since each building project is unique, the commissioning lead will adapt the process to meet the project's specific goals. Focus Commissioning Services outlines a comprehensive process for reaching those goals. The scope of the individual projects may differ, depending on size, complexity, and budget.




Pre-Design Phase

Commissioning ideally begins in the pre-design phase.
The Pre-Design Phase lays the groundwork for the project and defines the plan for commissioning. During this phase the commissioning team, as led by Focus Commissioning Services, assembles the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) and the building program are developed. All decisions made in ensuing phases should be made with reference to the OPR.

• Select a commissioning lead
• Pre-Design Phase commissioning meeting
• Ensure that the owner's expectations are adequately documented in the Owner's Project Requirements, Basis of Design, and Design Narrative
• Develop initial Commissioning Plan outline listing design phase activities


Design Phase

During the design phase, the commissioning process, as led by Focus Commissioning Services, confirms that design documentation (plans, specifications, Basis of Design (BOD), etc.) are consistent with each other, include commissioning requirements and meet the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR).

• Design Phase commissioning meeting (If Pre-Design meeting didn't occur)
• Perform commissioning-focused design review
• Update Commissioning Plan, listing Construction Phase activities
• Develop commissioning specifications for inclusion in the bid document
• Begin planning for verification checklists, functional tests, Systems Manual, and training requirements


Construction Phase

The construction phase commissioning. as led by Focus Commissioning Services, is a well coordinated quality assurance process that encompasses installation, start-up, functional testing and training. During the construction phase the commissioning team works to ensure that equipment, systems and assemblies are properly installed, integrated, and operating in a manner that meets the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR). Functional testing and documentation provide valuable performance benchmarks, acceptance criteria and a baseline for the future operation and ongoing commissioning of the facility.

• Update the Commissioning Plan with the construction schedule

• Organize and lead commissioning meetings

• Organize and lead the commissioning team

• Develop and maintain an Issues Log
• Review submittals, monitor development of Shop and Coordination Drawings
• Review O&M Manuals
• Perform ongoing construction observation
• Perform verification checks
• Perform diagnostic monitoring
• Perform functional testing
• Prepare and submit the final Commissioning Report
• Develop Recommissioning Plan
• Verify and review training of owner's staff


Occupancy and Operations Phase

The Occupancy and Operation Phase, as led by Focus Commissioning Services, begins at Substantial Completion. This last phase of the New Construction Commissioning focuses on finalizing all uncompleted functional testing, training and project documentation while fine tuning building performance prior to project completion.

• Resolve outstanding commissioning issues
• Perform seasonal /deferred testing
• Perform near warranty-end review

• Conduct periodic site visits during first year of occupancy, conduct any deferred testing, and serve as a resource to building staff.


Getting Started


So how does an owner or building manager get started with new building commissioning?


There are a few key steps that will help get a new commissioning project off to a strong start:


• Become an advocate for retrocommissioning in your organization

If you are in a position of authority, others in your organization will take the lead from you. If you are fully committed to the commissioning process, communicate
your expectations and become an active and interested participant in the process. You will achieve maximum benefits and others will recognize the value of
commissioning as well.


• Identify in-house commissioning resources
Designate a member of the owner's project team to represent the owner during the commissioning process, and make it an early priority to identify members of the
building's O&M staff who will be involved from start to finish.


• Start early! Identify an upcoming project that could benefit from commissioning – preferably one not yet in design.
Begin thinking about the special needs of the project and the commissioning scope that will be required to meet them. Consider holding a "lessons learned"
workshop on a recently completed project to identify issues that commissioning could have addressed. If a full commissioning process cannot be implemented, think about how to employ selected commissioning strategies.


• Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to help you get informed about new building commissioning.
Explore the resources listed in this web site, explore online resources, and begin talking to others about their experiences, including designers and contractors.


• Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to give a presentation to explain commissioning benefits to staff and decision makers.

Identify any decision-makers in your organization who may need convincing and be sure they are present.


• Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to help you determine what local, utility and government resources are available
Utility representatives and government agencies offer incentives for commissioning and other energy efficiency products and services


• Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to help you Include commissioning requirements in the specifications
It is absolutely essential to include commissioning requirements in the specifications. Without them, contractors will not be required to participate in the commissioning process and may issue change orders if asked to complete commissioning tasks.