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Plan the Commissioning Process


by the WBDG Project Management Committee Last updated: 06-21-2010

D o cume nt C o mp liance & Acce p t ance Plan t he C o mmissio ning Pro ce ss D ELIVER Y & C O N T R O LS




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Sho uld an independent Co mmissio ning Autho rity be retained, Introduction and if so , when? Ho w will the co mmissio ned systems be tested, Recommendations inspected, and do cumented? Ho w much sho uld be budgeted fo r Emerging Issues co mmissio ning and special testing services? Once a pro ject Relevant Codes and delivery team has determined critical pro ject go als and Standards requirements, these questio ns are answered by planning the Additional Resources co mmissio ning pro cess. This page is abo ut inco rpo rating a pro ject's perfo rmance requirements into a plan that defines the co mmissio ning sco pe, pro cess, respo nsibilities, budget, and do cumentatio n requirements.

Energy Codes and Standards Facility Performance Evaluation (FPE) Measuring Performance of Sustainable Buildings VIEW RESO URCE PAG E INDEX

This WBDG page pro vides info rmatio n o n co mmo n co mmissio ning planning practices and related reso urces. BACK TO TO P

RECOMMENDAT IONS Est ablish Goals f or Qualit y, Ef f iciency, and Funct ionalit y The co mmissio ning planning pro cess sho uld be acco mplished at the same time that a pro ject team Determines Pro ject Perfo rmance Requirements . The level and fo cus o f co mmissio ning effo rts sho uld be appro priate to a pro ject's size, co mplexity, its ho used missio n, and an o wner's risk management strategy. After the pro ject delivery team has determined the essential pro ject perfo rmance requirements, go als fo r pro ject quality, efficiency, and functio nality can then be established, and a co mmissio ning appro ach and sco pe can be develo ped.

Est ablish a Commissioning Approach and Scope There are numero us ways to assemble and structure a co mmissio ning team. A different team


member, including o wner representatives, co ntracted pro gram managers, o r design pro fessio nals may lead the co mmissio ning effo rt at each stage o f pro ject delivery, but the o verall pro cess, principles, and o bjectives are co nstant. The questio n o f who sho uld be respo nsible fo r planning and o verseeing the Building Co mmissio ning Pro cess and specific co mmissio ning activities will depend o n the needs o f each pro ject and is so mewhat driven by budget and expertise available within the pro ject delivery team. Regardless o f where the respo nsibility fo r building co mmissio ning lies, it is impo rtant that the co mmissio ning autho rity maintain a po sitio n o f impartiality to assure there is no co nflict o f interest. Co mmo n appro aches to structuring co mmissio ning ro les and respo nsibilities include: A/E as Commissioning Authority (CA) —while no t typical, many architectural and engineering firms no w o ffer building co mmissio ning as Additional Services to the basic design co ntract. Construction Manager (CM) as Commissioning Authority —This co mmissio ning appro ach can be co st-effective and wo rk well when the CM is independent o f the co ntracto r's team and has the needed technical experience o n bo ard. Many o wner gro ups use "No t-at-Risk" CMs who act as an o wner's agent to manage schedule, co st, and quality. In so me cases, the CM may hire the Co mmissio ning Autho rity as a subco ntracto r, resulting in no additio nal co ntract management respo nsibility by the Owner. Independent Agent as Commissioning Authority —to date, this is the mo st co mmo n appro ach to implementing the Building Co mmissio ning Pro cess. Many pro fessio nal services engineering firms are beginning to specialize in pro viding building co mmissio ning. The criteria fo r a go o d CA is a balance o f lead engineering design experience with extensive field experience in installing and testing mechanical and electrical equipment and systems. The CA will typically stress flexibility in design so that perfo rmance can be verified. Since many o wners' gro ups typically utilize A-E's and "no t-at-risk" CMs fo r quality assurance, co mmissio ning respo nsibilities and benefits o f third-party co mmissio ning services must be determined fo r each pro ject. NIBS Guideline 3-2006 Exterior Enclosure Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process pro vides, "The Co mmissio ning Pro cess do es no t impinge upo n the co mpetency, autho rity, o r respo nsibility o f licensed pro fessio nals no r upo n the o bligatio ns between Owners, Design Pro fessio nals o r Co ntracto rs co ntained in standardized co ntract fo rms o r pro ject-specific co ntracts. The Co mmissio ning Pro cess structures the design and co nstructio n pro cess to increase quality. It do es no t require the Owner to emplo y a specific o utside expert as the Co mmissio ning Autho rity and no thing wo uld prevent the Owner fro m selecting the pro ject design o r co nstructio n firm to do co mmissio ning, if the CA is pro perly qualified and po sitio ned o utside the specific pro ject team within the firm. The level o f effo rt o f the Co mmissio ning Pro cess and size o f the Co mmissio ning Team fo r a given building can be stro ngly influenced by such facto rs as the o wner's preferred level o f building quality, the level o f risk the o wner will accept, as well as building size, type, and co mplexity". Co mmissio ning requires the active participatio n o f the A/E, the Building Co ntracto r, a Co mmissio ning Agent, and the Owner. The co nstructio n co ntracto r is typically tasked with executing co mmissio ning tests and inspectio ns, with planning, defining co mmissio ning

pro cedures, co o rdinatio n, witnessing, verificatio n tasked to the Co mmissio ning Agent. On larger pro jects, it may be appro priate to emplo y a Co mmissio ning Autho rity under two separate co ntracts, o ne fo r co mmissio ning the Planning (Pre-Design) and Design stages and ano ther fo r planning and executing Co nstructio n stage co mmissio ning—after the full extent o f systems co mmissio ning and o n-site technical services is determined. The GSA Building Commissioning Guide includes a sample Sco pe o f Co mmissio ning Services suitable fo r use o n public agency pro jects.

Est ablish Commissioning Budget s Co mmissio ning co sts can range widely and are dependent upo n many facto rs including a building's size, co mplexity, and whether the pro ject co nsists o f building reno vatio n, mo dernizatio n, o r new co nstructio n and the sco pe o f co mmissio ning services pro vided. In general, the co st o f co mmissio ning new buildings range fro m 0 .5 percent o f the to tal co nstructio n co st fo r relatively simple pro jects such as o ffice buildings to 1.5 fo r co mplex labo rato ries and medical facilities1. Additio nal info rmatio n o n Building Co mmissio ning can be fo und in PECI, New Construction Commissioning Costs, 2/14/2002 (PDF 144 KB) . Fo r an existing building, the co st o f co mmissio ning can range fro m 3.0 to 5.0 percent o f the to tal o perating co st. A go o d rule o f thumb fo r systems-based co mmissio ning budgeting is between 2 and 4% o f the co nstructio n co st o f each system being co mmissio ned. Key facto rs that can have a direct impact in develo ping a co mmissio ning budget include: When the co mmissio ning pro cess starts (during design, co nstructio n, o r po st-co nstructio n) The number and co mplexity o f systems to be co mmissio ned Co mplexity o f the systems The level o f detail required during the co mmissio ning pro cess (Do es it include do cumenting and witnessing all equipment start-up, verificatio n tests, spo t checking the balancing repo rt, etc.?) Deliverables (design intent do cument, number o f design reviews, co mmissio ning plan, O&M manual review, final repo rt, etc.) Allo catio n o f co sts (Will the budget allo w fo r increased design fee, increased co ntracto r bids, training time fo r O&M perso nnel, the co mmissio ning co nsultant's fee, etc.?) Type o f pro ject (design-build, plan and spec, retro fit, etc.) Note: Some utilities now have programs offering incentives/rebates for owners that may offset costs for commission or re-commission of facilities.

Est ablish Commissioning Plans A written Co mmissio ning Plan is essential to all co mmissio ned pro jects and allo ws all pro ject participants to anticipate and plan fo r co mmissio ning requirements and milesto nes. The plan is first develo ped in the Pre-design phase as a Design Phase Commissioning Plan and is updated at o r near design co mpletio n and released as a Construction Phase Commissioning Plan. During the Pre-Design phase, the co mmissio ning plan fo cuses o n assuring the o wner's perfo rmance

the Pre-Design phase, the co mmissio ning plan fo cuses o n assuring the o wner's perfo rmance requirements are inco rpo rated and pro perly integrated in the prepared and accepted co nstructio n do cuments. Details o f systems tests and pro cedures, assembly specific checklists, and testing and do cumentatio n respo nsibilities are inco rpo rated in Co nstructio n Phase Co mmissio ning Plans. Co mmissio ning Plans typically include the fo llo wing sectio ns o r co ntents: General Pro ject Info rmatio n Overview and Sco pe o f the Pro ject Co mmissio ning Co mmissio ning Pro to co ls and Co mmunicatio ns Co mmissio ning Pro cess, including Team Respo nsibilities Co mmissio ning Schedule Co mmissio ning Do cumentatio n Appendices Testing and Inspectio n Plans Pre-Functio nal and Functio nal Test Pro cedures Co nstructio n Checklists Issues Lo gs

Est ablish Commissioning Schedules The team wo rks clo sely with co ntracto rs to integrate co mmissio ning activities into the o verall co nstructio n schedule, to keep co mmissio ning activities o ff the critical path, and to carry o ut site inspectio ns with a fo cus o n systems o peratio ns and maintenance. A co mmissio ning schedule is develo ped as a sectio n o f (o r appendix to ) a co mmissio ning plan and is updated thro ugho ut the pro ject. The o bjective o f scheduling co mmissio ning activities is to integrate and co o rdinate them with o ther co nstructio n phase activities. Detailed integratio n o f co mmissio ning activities and tasks with the co nstructio n schedule is critical to maintaining pro ject milesto nes. The fo llo wing chart illustrates ho w co mmissio ning activities and tasks relate to typically o ccurring pro ject activities.

ASHRAE GL- 0- 2005 Figure B.1—Commissioning Process Flowchart View enlarged

Please see NIBS Guideline 3, which sho ws ho w the co mmissio ning pro cess relates to typical planning, design, and co nstructio n activities.

Est ablish Test ing and Inspect ion Plans A building canno t be expected to o perate o ptimally if the perso nnel in charge o f o perating and maintaining the building systems are unfamiliar with ho w to service the equipment and do no t fully understand ho w and why the systems o perate the way they do . This is especially true with highly co mplex systems and auto mated co ntro ls. The co mmissio ning planning pro cess includes definitio n o f the O&M training requirements, respo nsibilities, and do cumentatio n. Testing appro priate to a facility sho uld be designed alo ng fo ur hierarchal levels: 1) Facto ry device testing; 2) Field co mpo nent start-up; 3) System interface testing; and 4) Integrated system testing, which tests the o verall facility resilience, under all pro bable risk scenario s, including failure mo de.

Develop Commissioning Specif icat ions The Co nstructio n Specificatio n Institute (CSI) has assigned co mmissio ning to sectio n number 0 1 9 1 0 0 . The co mmissio ning specificatio n details the ro les and respo nsibilities o f the co ntracto rs in the co mmissio ning pro cess thro ugho ut the pro ject. A draft set o f system readiness checklists (SRCs) and verificatio n test pro cedures (VTPs) is included in the co mmissio ning specificatio n to co mmunicate to the bidding co ntracto r the level o f rigo r that can be expected during the testing phase o f the co mmissio ning pro cess. Co nstructio n co ntracto r respo nsibilities fo r co mmissio ning are defined in the co mmissio ning specificatio ns which must be co o rdinated with o ther co mmissio ning team members when planning the co mmissio ning pro cess.

Det ermine Special Test ing Needs As previo usly no ted, the co sts o f co mmissio ning can be appro ximately pro jected based o n a percent range o f co nstructio n co sts. Co mmissio ning services no rmally include elements o f pro gram review, planning and managing the co mmissio ning pro cess, and witnessing and do cumenting co mmissio ning o f specified systems and assemblies. When develo ping co mmissio ning testing and inspectio n plans, the co mmissio ning team sho uld carefully review means and metho ds fo r testing and verificatio n to determine special testing needs that o utside o f no rmally pro vided co mmissio ning services. Examples o f such special testing include thermo graphic (Infrared) scans o f existing o r new co nstructio n to identify envelo pe integrity, destructive testing o f pro po sed assemblies to be co mmissio ned (blast, wind, seismic), water penetratio n tests, Co mputatio nal Fluid Dynamic (CFD) mo deling o f airflo ws, building pressurizatio n tests, and the like.

Est ablish Re- Commissioning Plans In re-co mmissio ning, the initially co mmissio ned systems are retested o n a regular basis, whether needed o r no t. Retro -co mmissio ning is the co mmissio ning o f facilities that have never been co mmissio ned. Re-co mmissio ning can o nly be applied to buildings that have been co mmissio ned (o r retro -co mmissio ned) and requires a "baseline" perfo rmance measurement fo llo wing the initial co mmissio ning pro cess (i.e., when the systems are fine tuned and o perating

as efficiently as po ssible). Re-co mmissio ning is an essential element in o perating buildings o ptimally and must be inco rpo rated in initial planning and budgeting o f the co mmissio ning pro gram. BACK TO TO P

EMERGING ISSUES Who le Building Co mmissio ning is beco ming an impo rtant aspect o f building co mmissio ning. It entails no t just co mmissio ning typical systems like HVAC, but also includes, lighting systems and co ntro ls and building envelo pe and fenestratio n to ensure to tal building perfo rmance.

Commissioning Aut horit y Cert if icat ion The Building Co mmissio ning Asso ciatio n (BCxA) has created the Certified Co mmissio ning Pro fessio nal (CCP) pro gram to raise pro fessio nal standards and pro vide a vehicle fo r certificatio n in the building co mmissio ning industry. To earn CCP certificatio n, participants must co mplete an applicatio n pro cess that is reviewed by the Building Co mmissio ning Certificatio n Bo ard and pass a two -ho ur written examinatio n. The CCP Pro gram is underwritten in part by the No rthwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Other o rganizatio ns, including The American Institute o f Architects, are creating pro grams, training and co ntract do cuments to assist their members in pro viding co mmissio ning as additio nal client services. BACK TO TO P

RELEVANT CODES AND STANDARDS AIA B211™—2004 Standard Form of Architect's Services: Commissioning —This fixed sco pe o f services requires the architect to develo p a co mmissio ning plan, a design intent do cument, and co mmissio ning specificatio ns, based o n the o wner's identificatio n o f systems to be co mmissio ned. ASHRAE Guideline 0 - 2005: The Commissioning Process —the industry accepted mo del Co mmissio ning Guide The Building Commissioning Guide, U.S. General Services Administratio n, 20 0 5. Model Commissioning Plan and Guide Specifications , Version 2.05, PECI. Feb. 19 9 8 . —Available fro m PECI, 9 21 SW Washingto n, Suite 312, Po rtland, Orego n 9 720 5; Pho ne (50 3) 248 -46 36 ; Fax (50 3) 29 5-0 8 20 ; E-mail peci@peci.o rg BACK TO TO P

ADDIT IONAL RESOURCES NIH Mo del Co mmissio ning Guide TECHINFO—USACE Technical Info rmatio n website

University o f Washingto n —University Co mmissio ning guide specificatio ns (PDF 175 KB 25 p g s)

Publicat ions AFETL 90-10 Commissioning of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Systems Guide Specification NIBS Guideline 3-2006 Exterior Enclosure Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process Commissioning Specifications C-2000 Program , Canada, 19 9 5. C-20 0 0 Pro gram, Energy Mines & Reso urces, Energy Efficiency Divisio n, 7th Flo o r, 58 0 Bo o th St., Ottawa, Ontario , Canada K1A 0 E4. Contractor Quality Control and Commissioning Program—Guidelines and Specification , Mo ntgo mery Co . Go v., St o f Maryland, 19 9 3. 30 1-217-6 0 71. ER 1110-345-723 Systems Commissioning Procedures (PDF 9 0 KB) Establishing Cx Fees , ASHRAE Publicatio ns Sto re. HVAC Systems Commissioning Manual , Sheet Metal and Air Co nditio ning Co ntracto rs' Natio nal Asso ciatio n (SMACNA), 19 9 4. SMACNA, 420 1 Lafayette Center Dr., Chantilly, VA 220 21. Laboratory HVAC Systems: Design, Validation and Commissioning ASHRAE co llectio n o f 11 papers, 19 9 4. ASHRAE Publicatio ns Dept., 179 1 Tullie Circle, NE, Atlanta, GA 30 329 . MIL-HDBK-353 Planning and Commissioning Wastewater Treatment Plants New Construction Commissioning Costs (PDF 144 KB) UFGS 23 08 00.00 10 Commissioning of HVAC Systems , Do D Bibliography 1. U.S. Department of Energy. Building Commissioning . BACK TO TO P

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