US Army Corps of Engineers
North Atlantic Division

A commissioning tool

Commissioning (Cx)

Collapse All Expand All
Commissioning means a systematic process of ensuring, using appropriate verification and documentation, during the period beginning on the initial day of the design phase of the facility and ending not earlier than one year after the date of completion of the facility, that all facility systems perform interactively in accordance with the design documentation and intent of the facility, the operational needs of the owner of the facility and preparation of operation personnel, and the primary goal of which is to ensure fully functional systems that can be properly operated and maintained during the useful life of the facility.
  • Commissioning Team: These are the individual(s) who through coordinated actions are responsible for implementing the Commissioning Process.
  • Commissioning Authority (CxA): The commissioning authority is defined as the representative responsible for ensuring the commissioning process is properly carried out according to contract requirements. The CxA is identified by the Owner who leads and coordinates the commissioning team to implement the Commissioning Process. The commissioning authority is usually someone on the owner's staff, the owner's design professional, or a commissioning consultant retained by the owner specifically to represent the owner’s interests with respect to commissioning.
  • The Commissioning Specialist (CxS) is defined as the person or persons responsible for carrying out the “detailed” planning and implementation of the commissioning process..The (CxS) as a member of the Commissioning Team provides support to the Commissioning Authority (CxA) by performing discipline specific duties such as design review, equipment installation checkout, start-up, functional performance testing and operator training. There can be more than one CxS on the project. One may be hired by the Contractor and another may be hired by the Corps to assist with its CxA tasks. When there is more than one use the designation CSC and CSG.
  • Whole–building or Total Building Commissioning: A process in which building systems and their interactions are tested and verified to work in accordance with OPR and Contract documents.

Cx is a Quality Assurance Process for Buildings. From pre-design through design, construction, and building operations, it involves achieving, verifying, and documenting the performance of each system and integrated system. Systems meet the building's operational needs within the capabilities of the documented design and equipment capacities, in accordance with the owner's functional criteria (ASHRAE Guideline 0).

Commissioning Processes includes:

  • Documenting the Owner’s Needs
  • Documenting Design Teams Reasoning and Decisions
  • Conducting Quality Peer Reviews
  • Defining, Specifying, Planning and Verifying the Functional Testing of the Building Systems
  • Increased Coordination and Integration of Construction Trades
  • Preparing and Enhancing Building Documentation
  • Improving the Operation and Maintenance Training Process
  • Post Construction and Pre Occupancy, including systems start up, testing and troubleshooting, systems balancing and Integration, building Systems Operation, building Systems verification of Owners Requirements and Design Specifications compliance, systems training
  • Turn over an Operable building that meets the customer requirements and Contract Documents. The result should be fully functional systems that can be properly operated and maintained throughout the life of the building. (ASHRAE, 2004)
  • Post occupancy inspection (seasonal fluctuations)
  • HVAC Systems & Associated Controls
  • Interior & Exterior Lighting & Daylighting Controls
  • Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Renewable Energy Systems (wind, solar, etc.)
  • Electrical Sub-Metering Systems
  • Building Envelope (Building Air Tightness Test )
  • Envelope not required for LEED commissioning - separate Army testing requirement – currently not required to be included in Commissioning Agent (CxA) activities and documents.
  • Other common systems that could be included are Protective systems (Fire Suppression, Lightning Protection), Plumbing (Water distribution, sanitary, storm water), Communications Systems (Telecomm Sound, Video), Alarm Systems (Fault detection, security, Leak Detection)
By Memo dated 27 Oct 2010 ASA (IE&E) has identified the need for commissioning, “Facility construction projects will use total building commissioning practices, tailored to the size and complexity of the building and its system components in order to ensure that design requirements/ specifications are met during construction. Performance of building components and systems will be verified at a minimum of one year after beneficial occupancy. Enhanced commissioning process activities must be planned, budgeted, and specified to be completed for the building envelope, storm water management systems, water treatment systems, and information technology systems.

Costs:

  • Costs depend on size and complexity of building systems. Commissioning costs typically pay for themselves in less than a year by correcting deficiencies
  • Total building commissioning costs for commissioning agent services can range from 0.5% to 1.5% of total construction costs (according to U.S. Department of Energy’s Rebuild America Program, written by the Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. (PECI)). The National Association of State Facilities Administrators (NASFA) recommends budgeting 1.25 to 2.25% of the total construction costs for total building commissioning agent services. GSA’s commissioning practice is expected to cost approximately 0.5% of the construction budget for federal buildings and border stations. More complex projects such as courthouses could run 0.8 - 1% of the construction budget, and even more complex facilities such as laboratories can exceed 1%. Factors influencing commissioning costs include facility type, phasing 24/7 operations, the depth and breadth of commissioning services, the level of commissioning desired, and the systems and assemblies chosen to be commissioned.

Benefits:

  • Lower Operating and Maintenance Costs
  • Project that Benefits from a Collaborative Effort of Diverse Participants
  • Reduced Contractor Callbacks (Warranty Calls)
  • Improved Maintainability of Equipment & Systems
  • Fully Functional Facility Meeting all Owner Project Requirements (OPR)

Costs:

  • Costs depend on size and complexity of building systems. Commissioning costs typically pay for themselves in less than a year by correcting deficiencies
  • Total building commissioning costs for commissioning agent services can range from 0.5% to 1.5% of total construction costs (according to U.S. Department of Energy’s Rebuild America Program, written by the Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. (PECI)). The National Association of State Facilities Administrators (NASFA) recommends budgeting 1.25 to 2.25% of the total construction costs for total building commissioning agent services. GSA’s commissioning practice is expected to cost approximately 0.5% of the construction budget for federal buildings and border stations. More complex projects such as courthouses could run 0.8 - 1% of the construction budget, and even more complex facilities such as laboratories can exceed 1%. Factors influencing commissioning costs include facility type, phasing 24/7 operations, the depth and breadth of commissioning services, the level of commissioning desired, and the systems and assemblies chosen to be commissioned.

Benefits:

  • Lower Operating and Maintenance Costs
  • Project that Benefits from a Collaborative Effort of Diverse Participants
  • Reduced Contractor Callbacks (Warranty Calls)
  • Improved Maintainability of Equipment & Systems
  • Fully Functional Facility Meeting all Owner Project Requirements (OPR)

Lawrence Berkeley National Land Molecular Foundry

  • 6 story 94,500 sf $67 M dollar research facility
  • Commissioning identified 48 deficiencies were discovered in the Construction Phase
  • Measure implemented were modification of controls sequence, setpoints, and start stop operations.
  • Calibrate terminal unit damper position feedback.
  • Calibrate lighting occupancy sensors
  • Bring air compressor operation into spec
  • Cost saving s $93,369/yrs. Cost for commissioning $39,932.
  • Simple payback 0.4 yrs
North Atlantic Division Regional Sustainable Engineering Center
Program Manager 347-370-4580