When a new building is commissioned, it undergoes an intensive quality assurance process that begins during pre-design and continues through construction, occupancy, and operations. Commissioning ensures that the new building operates as the owner intended and that the building staff are prepared to operate and maintain its systems and equipment in order to sustain high performance for the long term. The goals of new construction building commissioning are:
- to produce a building that meets the unique needs of its owner and occupants
- to produce a building that operates as efficiently as possible
- to produce a building that provides a safe, comfortable work environment
- to produce a building that is operated and maintained by a well-trained staff or service contractor.
The commissioning process is a team effort, usually led by ABCx, who verifies that the building meets the owner’s expectations at each stage of the design and construction process. Since each building project is unique, ABCx will adapt the process to meet the project’s specific goals. The scope of the individual projects may differ, depending on size, complexity, and budget. The parts of the commissioning process that are included in ABCx’s scope of work can also vary but typically we will be engaged to perform the following activities:
Document the building’s functional and performance requirements.
The ABCx works with the owner and design team to ensure that the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) document clearly describes the owner’s performance and maintainability criteria. Ideally, this occurs during the design phase of the project. This document is also sometimes called the Design Intent Document.
Provide tools and documentation to improve the project team’s deliverables.
These include Issues Logs, which track issues from identification to resolution at each phase of development, and a Commissioning Report, which documents the results of inspections and functional performance tests.
Verify and document that systems perform as specified in the OPR.
To ensure that the building will perform as expected, the ABCx observes equipment start-up, writes and observes functional testing, verifies that control system calibration and testing, adjusting, and balancing have been performed satisfactorily, and documents these activities.
Verify that the building owner and manager receive adequate and accurate system documentation and staff training.
The ABCx ensures that these requirements are included in the specifications, tracks their delivery, and may oversee the work of training leads in developing curriculum and conducting training sessions.
Bring a holistic perspective to the design and construction process that integrates and enhances its traditionally separate functions.
The commissioning process brings project team members together on a regular basis and encourages the group to work together to solve problems.