Making Commissioning clear

Existing Building Commissioning

What is it?


The Existing Building Commissioning process assists in making the building systems perform interactively to meet the Current Facility Requirements. Existing Building Commissioning is intended to be a comprehensive term and process that encompasses the more narrowly focused process variations that are commonly used in the industry. This includes the following:


  • Retro-Commissioning is the application of the commissioning process to an existing building that has not previously undergone the commissioning process. Retro-Commissioning typically focuses on energy-using equipment such as mechanical equipment, lighting and related controls and usually optimizes existing system performance,rather than relying on major equipment replacement, typically resulting in improved indoor air quality, comfort, controls, energy and resource efficiency.
  • Recommissioning is another type of commissioning that occurs when a building that has already been commissioned undergoes another commissioning process. Recommissioning is similar to retrocommissioning, although it is less expensive since some of the difficult data collection and documentation tasks were accomplished during the original project and need only to be revalidated. Recommissioning typically begins with a review of the Owner's Operating Requirements to determine if there have been any changes.
  • Continuous Commissioning, also referred to as "retro-commissioning follow-up," is continual retro-commissioning focusing on the persistence of completed improvements. Ongoing commissioning involves regularly scheduled sessions with the building occupants along with operation and maintenance personnel. This process incorporates monitoring and analysis of building performance data provided by permanently installed metering equipment to verify building performance, the satisfaction of the facilities management and staff,and the extent of actual savings.




    The majority of existing buildings have not undergone any type of commissioning or quality assurance process. Additionally, over time the facility requirements change and the operational efficiencies of buildings tend to degrade. Because of these factors many buildings are performing well below their potential, use more energy than necessary and cost more to operate than they should. EBCx responds to an Owner's desire to improve building performance, solve comfort and operational problems and reduce operating costs.




    The following are several common building systems which Focus Commissioing Services includes in the Existing Building Commissioning Plan (as applicable). However, this list is not all encompassing and each facility ise evaluated to determine what other specialized systems or system integrations should be included.
    • HVAC&R Systems
    • Building Assembly (Envelope, Interior, Paths of Egress, etc.)
    • Conveying Systems (Elevators and Escalators)
    • Protective Systems (Fire Suppression, Lighting Protection, etc.)
    • Plumbing Systems (Water Distribution, Sanitary/Storm Water, etc.)
    • Electrical Systems (Power Distribution, Lighting, etc.)
    • Communication Systems (Telecom, Sound, Video, etc.)
    • Alarm Systems (Fault Detection, Security, Leak Detection, etc.)


    Getting Started


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


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


    • Determine what budget is available.
    Understanding how your organization allocates funds for maintenance expenditures and capital improvements may reveal sources of funding for existing building commissioning that would have gone unused or been spent on other projects.


    • 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 existing building commissioning process, communicate your expectations and become an active participant. You will achieve maximum benefits and others will recognize the value of existing building commissioning as well.

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


    • 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 determine if your building is a good candidate for existing building commissioning.
    While most buildings can benefit in some way from existing building commissioning, some buildings are better candidates than others. There are several indicators that may predict a project's success and increase its cost effectiveness. If you have a portfolio of buildings, consider starting with one or two buildings to demonstrate the benefits.


    • Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to determine what local, utility, and government resources are available.
    More and more frequently, utilities are offering programs for existing buildings that target O&M measures.

    • Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to help develop a plan for commissioning your portfolio of buildings.
    For owners or managers of multiple properties, a multi-year, organization-wide strategy may be useful when implementing existing building commissioning. Developing a strategy helps to prioritize projects and develop a plan that will address as many buildings as possible. An owner may choose to select the most cost-effective projects first, providing funding and justification for implementing the additional projects in subsequent funding-cycles. Or, owners may "bundle" multiple buildings into one project—including both highly cost-effective and less cost-effective buildings into one reasonably cost-effective package. This will ensure that existing building commissioning can occur in as many buildings as possible while meeting the organization's overall cost-effectiveness requirements. Obtain buy-in from members of the organization.

    • Contact Focus Commissioning Services Ltd. to help you build an existing building commissioning team.
    The team should at minimum include an in-house "champion" who is enthusiastic about the potential benefits of the process, as well as a high-level stakeholder who can communicate the organization's strong commitment to the existing building commissioning process. There are several advantages to hiring Focus Commissioning Services to lead or participate in the existing building commissioning process. The owner or manager may not have the time or staff resources to participate in the process, or the in-house analytical skills to perform the in-depth assessment and analysis that a robust existing building commissioning process requires. Focus Commissioning Services specializing in commissioning and O&M services has vast experience to draw upon, enabling us to quickly troubleshoot problems, uncover operational issues, and help pinpoint root causes. Also, Focus Commissioning Services would have no preconceived notions about how a building should perform, and has no vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Focus Commissioning Services is "tooled" for performing the work since weregularly use data loggers, power monitors, flow hoods, anemometers, combustion analyzers etc. We also have proven assessment and testing protocols and procedures that can be customized to fit almost any building. Engineering analysis is the specialty of Focus Commissioning Services, who have the analytical skills and resources needed to diagnose hidden problems and determine the cost-effectiveness of selected improvements.Existing building commissioning requires a "forensic" personality and a curiosity about how things work. Focus Commissioning Services have these traits.