PWGSC Commissioning Manual (CP.1)



This document has been developed under the direction of Mechanical and Maintenance Engineering, AES with the participation and contributions of the following members of the National Commissioning Committee:

  • Edward Durand: NCA
  • Paul Sra: NCA
  • Mike Cavan: NCA
  • Ralph Collins: NCA
  • John Hutchins: Pacific Region
  • Stuart Davison: Western Region
  • John Lee: Ontario Region
  • Yvon Rajotte: Quebec Region
  • Michael Devine: Atlantic Region


Corrections, recommendations, suggestions for modifications or additional information and instructions that will improve this document are invited. For this purpose the attached form entitled "Request for change to this manual" may be used and mailed or faxed to the address shown. E-mail or other forms of electronic transmission may also be used for this purpose.


Any area of conflict between this document and the Project Brief must be brought to the attention of the Project Manager as soon as it is noted.

PWGSC Commissioning Manual (CP.1)
November 2006

Request for changes to this manual

Return this form to

National Manager, Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
Advisory and Practices (Professional Services)
Professional and Technical Service Management
Real Property Branch
Tel: 819-956-3972
Fax: 819-956-4441

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Preface to the 4th edition - November 2006

In 1977, a Building Commissioning Section was established in the Facilities Maintenance Division of the former Property Administration Branch of the former Public Works Canada (now Public Works and Government Services Canada [PWGSC]). This Building Commissioning Section recognised the need for early involvement in the Project Delivery System (PDS) but faced two big obstacles. On its own part, there was a lack of practical experience in commissioning; on the part of the design community, there was a certain resistance to change in the status quo.

In 1987 a Buildings Commissioning Working Group was formed in the, then, Architectural and Engineering Services Branch (AES) at Headquarters and included representatives from the Facilities Maintenance Division. Its mandate was to establish a clear understanding of commissioning, to define its objectives, and to establish the technical requirements for commissioning mechanical and electrical systems in buildings for inclusion in project briefs. This working group was determined to provide a "seamless" approach to commissioning. Research on the subject included examination of source documents and practices from the United States (including ASHRAE), the United Kingdom and Australia. When the working group examined current practices in Canada, it became clear that commissioning, as it was then defined in the PWGSC six-phase Project Delivery System, was rarely carried out. One reason for this was that responsibility and accountability for commissioning had not been clearly identified.

In February 1989, the working group produced a series of draft commissioning documents. In 1991 these documents were further refined, developed to cover all disciplines and consolidated into one manual - The Project Commissioning Manual, produced in 1993.

A continuation of this initiative resulted in further refinements, the development of generic commissioning briefs and commissioning specifications and the release of CP.1 - "The Project Commissioning Manual - Revised January 2000".

In 2000, a National Commissioning Committee was established. Its membership included representatives from AES and AFMS and was co-chaired by the Director/Manager of these groups. Its terms of reference included, among other things:

  1. To review, improve and update commissioning documents.
  2. To develop new commissioning practices.
  3. To create, maintain and update commissioning information database.
  4. To promote commissioning in PWGSC.
  5. To prepare "Lessons Learned" documentation.
  6. To organize annual commissioning workshops.
  7. To receive, evaluate and share information and experiences with the Regions.

As a result of the work of this committee, further changes were made to the manual in order to make it even more easily referenced by Project Managers, Commissioning Managers and others. The Commissioning Manual now consists of two binders:

  • PWGSC Commissioning Manual - addresses the requirements of the Commissioning Policy and includes issues which are of major concern to the PWGSC Project Manager and the Project Leader.
  • PWGSC Commissioning Guidelines - contains the remaining documents and is generally for the benefit of in-house designers, consultants and their sub-consultants and Commissioning Managers.

In 2006, the PWGSC Project Delivery System (PDS) was changed to the National Project Management System (NPMS). The Commissioning Manual and Guidelines were subsequently modified to suit the NPMS and its terminology.

The PWGSC Commissioning Manual and the PWGSC Commissioning Guidelines have been structured so that each Region is able to adapt them to suit regional requirements, since it is recognized that each Region has a different approach to the practice of commissioning and that this will affect how each uses the PWGSC Commissioning Manual. It is suggested that each Region select from the PWGSC Commissioning Guidelines those elements which are most applicable to the Region's requirements and that will enable each Region to develop a quality deliverable which is acceptable to the Client.

It is also recognized that the organizational structure of each Region is unique and subject to change. The PWGSC Commissioning Manual (CP.1) has therefore been written around commissioning activities and is not reliant upon the reporting organizational structures of the PWGSC Regions.

It is suggested that each Region develop its own partnership agreement between the relevant branches of PWGSC relating to roles and responsibilities throughout the commissioning process so as to reflect the distinctive organizational structure of each Region. It will also promote commissioning as a tool for enhancement of client satisfaction.

Partnership between all branches of PWGSC

The role of PWGSC in commissioning and in the production of the PWGSC Commissioning Manual and the accompanying PWGSC Commissioning Guidelines has always been fully recognized by all branches of PWGSC.

Architectural and Engineering Resources will continue to provide national leadership for commissioning, while AFM will continue to provide management of the overall commissioning activities as it relates to specific projects.

It is also recognized that PWGSC, through its Design Quality Review Team, has a very important role to play in the identification of Design Criteria, Design Intents, Design Assumptions and Design Solutions to meet these Design Criteria. It is also recognized that commissioning can be properly delivered only by combining the design expertise of Architectural and Engineering Resources and the operational expertise of Maintenance and Operational Assurance (MOA) Commissioning Manager in NCA, and the Maintenance Management Commissioning Manager in the Regions.

Future Developments

As noted above, the National Commissioning Committee will continue to direct and advise on all matters relating to commissioning.

Future editions of this manual will include experiences gained from commissioning activities in PWGSC Regions, as well as knowledge gained from the professional community and from the construction industry. This is essential to the provision of an up-to-date, viable and useful Project Commissioning Manual.

Since the issuance of this manual, generic Installation/Commissioning Checklists and Product Information (PI) and Performance Verification (PV) Report Forms have been developed and proven by use on a number of projects. These are currently being reviewed to improve format and content. This is a long process and will form part of future developments.

Regional Commissioning Contacts

For specific commissioning services in your region, please contact


This manual has been based on many consultations with all branches of PWGSC, many other government departments, organizations such as ASHRAE, the private sector, and many private individuals having a great deal of expertise in commissioning. We wish to thank all those who responded and to assure them that all comments and suggestions provided were carefully examined and, where deemed appropriate, incorporated into the manual. It is only through such co-operation that the best possible document can be produced.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: General requirements

Chapter 2: Commissioning documentation

Appendix A: Samples of commissioning documentation

Appendix B: Commissioning Glossary (CP.2)

PWGSC Commissioning Guidelines

(in separate binder, available from the RPB Documentation Centre)

  • CP.3 Guide to the development of the Commissioning Plan - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.4 Guide to the preparation of the Building Management Manuals - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.5 Guide to the preparation of Training Plans - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.6 Reserved for future development
  • CP.7 Design guideline for facility operation and maintenance - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.8 Guide to the preparation of Commissioning Reports - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.9 Guide to the development and use of Check lists - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.10 Guide to the development and use of Report Forms and Schematics - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.11 Guide to the preparation of the Commissioning Briefs - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP.12 Guide to the development and use of Commissioning Specifications - 3rd edition Nov.2003
  • CP. 13 Facility Maintenance Policy, Guidelines and Requirements - 3rd edition Nov.2003

All rights reserved. No part of this information may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system without prior written permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0S5

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