National Training for Commissioning 2006

Presented by Paul Sra and Mike Cavan

Scope of Presentation

  • Commissioning overview
  • Commissioning requirements for LEED Standard
  • Roles and responsibilities of key persons for projects in regard to commissioning
  • Commissioning process and its deliverables
  • Case studies

What is Commissioning?

  • ASHRAE defines the commissioning process as "a quality oriented process for achieving, verifying and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems and assemblies meet the defined objectives and criteria"
  • Commissioning is a quality assurance process where verification against design criteria is carried out, and ensures that adequate documentation and O & M training has been provided.
  • A planned program of activities that advances the built works from the earliest phases of the Project Identification Stage to a condition of full operation, meeting all objectives of commissioning as defined by the client's functional program and the design intent. Commissioning is documenting for future operations.

Commissioning Requirements for LEED Standards

For any LEED project, there are 6 fundamental Commissioning items that must be followed to attain LEED Certification:

  • Engage a Commissioning Manager/Commissioning Authority
  • Review Design Intent & other Design documentation
  • Include Commissioning requirements in Construction Specifications
  • Develop & utilize a Commissioning Plan
  • Verify installation, functional performance, training & Commissioning documentation
  • Provide a final Commissioning report at the end of the project

Securing the Additional Commissioning Credit in the LEED System

In addition to fundamental building Commissioning, an additional commissioning related point could be achieved:

  • Commissioning Authority independent of the design team shall conduct a peer review of the design development, construction documents and contractor's submittals such as shop drawings.
  • Provide a single manual containing all information required for re-commissioning the bldg. system.
  • Conduct a near end of warranty and plan to address occupant concerns.

Why do we Commission?

We Commission in order to provide a smooth transition from construction of the built works to an operational state.

Level / Extent of Commissioning

In order to manage the cost and result of the commissioning process, owners must consider the following three basic questions:

  • What systems should be commissioned?
  • What tasks should be completed in order to commission each system?
  • Who should be responsible for each task?
  • Other factors: Type of project- new construction, fit-up, general purpose office, laboratory, Heritage Facility

Complexity of project:

Is it a Floor fit-up or Level 3 Lab - HVAC Containment / Fumehoods / Biological Safety Cabinets?

  • Profile of project
  • LEED Certification

Commissioning of Total Building Systems


  • Building Envelope
  • Integrated Mechanical and Electrical
  • Architectural, Roof system, curtain wall system
  • Life Safety Systems
  • Heating and Cooling Plant
  • Emergency Power Generation
  • Indoor Environment
  • Integrated Security
  • Electrical Distribution
  • Building Automation system (BAS)
  • Vertical Transportation

Benefits of Commissioning

  1. Comprehensive understanding of Client's needs (such as functional and operational requirements)
  2. Reduce tenant complaints and reduce O&M costs (by providing appropriate systems & equipment considering maintainability)
  3. Indoor air quality parameters verified
  4. Protection of health & safety of occupants (e.g. verification of Fire protection, life safety systems, security & operation of facility)
  5. Meet established energy budgets
  6. Facilitates quality of construction and installation
  7. Comprehensive training and documentation
  8. Reduce risk of system failure/shutdown

When does Commissioning start?

  • Commissioning starts at the project identification stage and continues throughout all phases of the project. Commissioning supports total quality assurance in the design and development of facilities to meet client's needs.

Commissioning Activities in the NPMS: Who is Involved?

Commissioning involves an integrated team comprising of the:

  • Owner/Client
  • Project Manager
  • Commissioning Manager / Authority
  • Designer (Consultant)
  • Contractor
  • Property Manager

Owner / Client Responsibilities

  • Provides program requirements (technical & functional)
  • Defines performance objectives & standards (technical data sheets)
  • Sets Budgets & Schedules (milestones)
  • Participates in selective Performance Tests
  • Attends Training
  • Participates to Interim acceptance process

Project Manager Responsibilities

Overall responsibility for delivery of the project (of which Commissioning is part)

  • Manages:
    • Contracts (consultants, contractors, client)
    • Relationship (Professional and Technical Services, Owner, Consultants, Commissioning Manager, Contractors, Property Manager
    • All funding

Commissioning Manager / Authority Responsibilities

  • Coordinates Commissioning activities with the project team
  • Carries out Quality Assurance on behalf of the Owner / Investor, Project Manager & Property Manager
  • Reviews "Commissioning Plan" to ensure that plan is tailored to facility requirements
  • Manages Commissioning process.


  • and accepts Designer developed Commissioning specifications which include check sheets and functional performance tests.
  • Design Intent & Concept drawing
  • Design progress drawings (33%, 66%, 99%, 100% & tender drawings)
  • O&M Manuals
  • Witnessing of equipment, system & Integrated & system performance tests

Design Consultant Responsibilities

  • Liable and accountable
  • Develops the "Commissioning Plan"
  • Produces the Commissioning manual and Design Intent
  • Develops the "Commissioning Specifications"
  • Develops the "Training Plan"
  • Develops the Commissioning forms (PI/PV & checklists)
  • Develops and certifies the functional performance tests
  • Administers and reports on the commissioning process with the Contractor
  • Provides approvals on verifications and testing
  • Witnesses testing (as required)
  • Assists in documentation turnover

General Contractor Responsibilities

  • Accountable contractually
  • Executes the commissioning deliverables as defined in the contract documents
  • Develops the Commissioning schedule
  • Refines the Commissioning Plan
  • Executes & documents the functional performance (tests)
  • Prepares & submits the O&M manual, training, as-builts, warranties

Property Manager Responsibilities

  • Receives the facility once project is complete
  • Receives all documents required for operation
  • Manages the facility
  • Implements the Management Plan (BMP, MMS, Service contracts)
  • Operates the facility through out its useful life

The Commissioning Process

The Commissioning Process is based on the phases of the National Project Management System (NPMS)

  • Project Inception Stage
    • Definition phase
  • Project Identification Stage
    • Initiation phase
    • Feasibility phase
    • Analysis phase
    • Identification Close-out phase
  • Project Delivery Stage
    • Planning phase
    • Design phase
    • Implementation phase
    • Delivery Close-out phase
  • Project Inception / Project Identification Stage
    • Owner identifies the project's operation and functional requirements as well as sets budgets and milestones
    • Establishes Commissioning needs
  • Project Delivery Stage - Planning phase
    • A list of commissioning deliverables is identified and is included in the consultant brief (RFP, scope of work)
    • This includes definition of building O&M and user requirements
    • A Commissioning Manager (for the project) is appointed
  • Project Delivery Stage - Design phase
    • Develop design intent
    • Preliminary O&M and energy budget
    • Prepare "Preliminary Commissioning Plan" to meet facility requirements & users needs within the facility
  • Project Delivery Stage - Implementation phase
    • Develop Building Management Manual
    • Review design to ensure facility needs have been addressed
    • Finalize commissioning plan
    • Develop specification and performance verification forms to permit effective commissioning of the facility
    • Develop a "Training Plan" to meet the requirements of the facility operators
    • Provide input to requirements for the construction phase and establishes an O&M budget
    • Review the Building System Shop Drawings for O&M
    • Develop the Commissioning Schedule
    • Finalize the "Commissioning Plan"
    • Completion of Product Information / Performance Verification (PI/PV) forms
    • Site Coordination Meetings
    • Complete the installation checklist
    • O&M Manuals
    • As-Built drawings
    • Warranties
    • Equipment, systems and integrated systems commissioning tests are performed and witnessed
    • Operational and Maintenance Manual(s) are completed
    • Finalize Building Management Manual
    • Ensure Commissioning deliverables are provided
    • Interim acceptance is recommended to the Project Manager
    • Ensure training of O&M staff is completed
  • Project Delivery Stage - Close Out (Phase 1)
    • Complete all deferred commissioning tests and activities
    • assist in the fine tuning of systems
    • complete all outstanding design and construction (contractual) deficiencies relating to O & M issues
    • Recommend final acceptance to the project manager
  • Project Delivery Stage - Close Out (Phase 2)
    • Project Team evaluation of lessons learned
    • Assist the project manager in preparation of the final evaluation report

Summary - Commissioning Deliverables

  • Commissioning Plan
  • Design reviews for O&M impacts
  • Design Intent / System Operating Manual
  • Commissioning Specifications
  • Commissioning Performance testing (PI/PV & checklists)
  • Commissioning schedule
  • Training
  • Operation and Maintenance manuals (O&M)
  • As-Built drawings
  • Warranty (Documentation)

Commissioning: Return on Investment

  • Can reduce operational & maintenance costs (through effective recommendation in the selection of equipment)
  • Results in a product delivery with fewer deficiencies
  • Reduces tenant complaints
  • Reduces operational surprises
  • Operational savings offset commissioning costs in one to two years
  • Extended lifecycle on equipment
  • Reduces changes during and after construction

Retro Commissioning

  • Energy Management & Control Systems (EMCS) & Lighting Systems
  • Objectives:
    • Identify energy deficiencies
    • Optimization of systems
    • Identify HVAC IAQ issues
  • Constructed early 70's
  • Existing mechanical systems
  • EMCS approx. 10 years old
  • Lighting system approx. 6 years old
  • Involved Operations Staff
  • Involved the EMCS / Lighting Service providers
  • Involved the field device maintainer
  • Will involve an Energy Engineer

Verifications performed on EMCS;

  • Field sensors and devices
  • Sequence of operations under normal / Emer. procedures
  • Trending of systems

Key EMCS Issues Identified;

  • Damper performance / calibrations
  • VSD's @ 100% most of the time
  • Induction units - 27% failure rate
  • Pneumatic devices - transducer compatibility - 34% failure rate
  • Operator Training

Major Building Issues;

  • Stack effect
  • Age of existing equipment
  • Change in occupancy (space optimization)
  • Minor fit-ups in building over the years

Lighting System; Areas of Interest

  • Review current system operation and documentation
  • Identify Maintenance Issues
  • Identify energy saving potentials
  • Commissioning of lighting system controls and devices

Key Lighting system issues

  • Clock was not recognizing weekends and holidays
  • DOS based Operator interface
  • Failed relays
  • Additional "Feature" lights not on system
  • Daylight harvesting
  • Change-out of tubes
  • Operator training