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This is a guide to the issue of real property commissioning of federal buildings.

See also Commissioning Policy


Commissioning applies to all built works undertaken by or for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), including new construction, renovations, and/or fit-up whether in leased premises, crown-owned, or Alternate Form of Delivery (AFD) managed facilities, delivered by PSPC employees or their agents whether engaged directly, or indirectly, through third party arrangements.

Technical Documentation

The Public Services and Procurement Canada Commissioning Manual (CP.1) outlines the commissioning deliverables and provides guidance in the implementation of commissioning for all PSPC real property projects. It also provides examples of typical documentation required for commissioning deliverables. It incorporates commissioning as an integral part of the National Project Management System and provides a clear and consistent approach to commissioning for each member of the project team. This manual will assist members of the project team and personnel from client departments representing the occupants' interests in applying the principals of commissioning as described in this manual.

In addition to the Public Services and Procurement Canada Commissioning Manual (CP.1), there are various Commissioning guidelines (CP-3 to CP-13)Footnote 1. These guidelines provide information on how to perform commissioning activities and sets a PSPC standard for the preparation of commissioning documentation. The examples of some of these guidelines are:

It is important that you use these guidelines along with the Commissioning Manual when implementing Real Property projects.

Commissioning in Public Services and Procurement Canada

This article describes some of the main features of Commissioning as introduced into PSPC. A brief history of commissioning and issues such as reasons, risks, specification costs, roles and responsibilities, the Commissioning Manager, the Commissioning Engineer, the Commissioning Agency, O&M concerns and future challenges are considered.

Commissioning in Public Services and Procurement Canada

National Training for Commisssioning

This presentation provides training for project managers, property managers, commissioning managers and designers. It covers roles and responsibilities of key persons for projects in regard to commissioning, commissioning process and its deliverables. This document has been prepared by Paul Sra and Ed Durand, Mechanical and Maintenance Engineering, and Mike Cavan, Commissioning Manager, National Capital Area (NCA).

National Training for Commissioning 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 Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)). 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 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the United Kingdom and Australia. When the working group examined current practices in Canada, it became clear that commissioning as defined in the PSPC six-phase PDS was rarely carried out, one reason being that responsibility and accountability for commissioning had not been clearly defined.

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.

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

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:

PSPC Commissioning Manual CP.1
Clearly defines the commissioning deliverables, roles and responsibilities of key project team members, and provides guidance in the implementation of commissioning for all PSPC real property projects. It addresses the requirements of the Commissioning Policy and includes issues which are of major concern to the PSPC Project Manager and the Project Leader. This manual can be referenced from this site.
PSPC Commissioning Guidelines
Contains the remaining documents and is generally for the benefit of in-house designers, consultants and their sub-consultants and Commissioning Managers. These guidelines (CP-3 to CP-13) includes information on Commissioning plan, Building Management Manual, Training plans, Facility Operation and Maintenance, Commissioning reports, Development and use of check lists, Development and use of report forms and schematics, Preparation of commissioning brief, Development and use of generic commissioning specifications and Facility Maintenance policy.

The PSPC Commissioning Manual and the PSPC 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 PSPC Commissioning Manual. It is suggested that each Region select from the PSPC 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 PSPC Commissioning Manual (CP.1) has therefore been written around commissioning activities and is not reliant upon the reporting organizational structures of the PSPC Regions.

It is suggested that each Region develop its own partnership agreement between the relevant branches of PSPC 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.

In addition, draft 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.

Partnership between all branches of Public Services and Procurement Canada

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

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 PSPC, 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.


For specific regional commissioning services on a project or for general technical inquiries about the commissioning process or related technical documentation, please contact

Associated Documents



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