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Commissioning Objective ........................................................ 43.2 Occupancy- and Operations-Phase Commissioning ............. 43.10
Management and Responsibilities ........................................... 43.2 COMMISSIONING COSTS.................................................... 43.11
COMMISSIONING PROCESS ................................................ 43.4 Design-Phase Costs (Including Predesign and Design) ........ 43.11
Predesign-Phase Commissioning ............................................ 43.4 Construction- and Occupancy/Operations-Phase Costs ....... 43.11
Design-Phase Commissioning ................................................. 43.5 Existing Buildings .................................................................. 43.11
Construction-Phase Commissioning........................................ 43.7 Certification ........................................................................... 43.12

C OMMISSIONING implements a quality-oriented process for

achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance
of facilities, systems, and assemblies meets defined objectives and
elements, building envelope, life safety features, electrical systems,
communication systems, plumbing, irrigation, controls, and HVAC
systems (ASHRAE Guideline 0). Based on owners preference and
criteria. The defined objectives and criteria are often referred to as project contract scope, total commissioning can include industrial
the owners project requirements (OPR), which involve achiev- process and process equipment, systems, piping, instrumentation,
ing, verifying, and documenting the performance of each assembly electrical, and related control, or these topics may be treated as an
or system to meet the buildings operational needs. The commis- independent phase of project commissioning.
sioning process uses the owners project requirements as the refer- Which building systems should be commissioned varies with the
ence to determine acceptance of the design and/or construction. systems and assemblies used, building size, project type, and objec-
Commissioning includes verifying and documenting that the proj- tives. Owners and commissioning providers often focus on systems
ect operational and maintenance documentation and training of and assemblies under the commissioning umbrella that have (1) his-
operation and maintenance personnel occur. The result should be torically not performed well at turnover (e.g., outside air economiz-
fully functional systems that can be properly operated and main- ers and variable-speed drives), (2) are mission-critical (e.g., air
tained throughout the life of the building. cleanliness in a cleanroom, emergency power in a hospital), (3) will
This chapter gives an overview of the general commissioning be costly to fix during occupancy if they fail (e.g., chilled-water pip-
process as covered in ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005, developed for ing, window flashing assemblies), or (4) present a life-safety risk if
the National Institute of Building Sciences total building commis- they fail (e.g., fire alarm, smoke control, moisture penetration). Rec-
sioning program, as well as the best practices for applying the pro- ommendations in this chapter should be appropriately modified for
cess from ASHRAE Guideline 1.1-2007. Although this chapter each project. Although commissioning may begin at any time dur-
provides less detail and is less prescriptive, it provides more narra- ing the project life cycle, owners obtain the highest benefits when
tive discussion on some issues than these two guidelines. commissioning begins at the conceptual or predesign phase.
Recommissioning applies commissioning to a project that has
been previously delivered using the commissioning process. This Background
may be a scheduled recommissioning developed as part of ongoing Equipment, components, systems, and assemblies have become
commissioning, or it may be triggered by use change, operational more complex. More specialization has occurred in the disciplines
problems, or other needs. Existing building commissioning (often and trades, with increased interactions between all elements. This
called retrocommissioning) applies commissioning to an existing increased specialization and interaction requires increased integra-
facility that may or may not have been previously commissioned. It tion between disciplines and specialized systems by the delivery

consists of systematically investigating, analyzing, and adjusting team. Owners often use low-bid policies, and scopes of design pro-
operations of existing building equipment, systems, and assemblies, fessionals are often narrowed. The result has been buildings that
as well as training and documentation for operators to ensure that do not meet owner expectations and often do not work as intended
required performance (including energy, comfort, and IAQ) is because of programming, design, and construction deficiencies.
achieved. Buildings require maintenance and tuning to prevent per- Commissioning is a value-added service that helps overcome these
formance degradation. Existing building commissioning should be infrastructure inadequacies and fundamentally improve the perfor-
performed as part of ongoing efforts to maintain a comfortable and mance of building systems and living conditions for occupants.
efficient environment within the building. It has broad application to
virtually every building type and vintage with excellent cost/benefit Benefits
results and payback ratios. Existing building commissioning starts The primary benefits of commissioning include improvements in
with development of the owners current facility requirements, all of the following areas:
reviews the existing design, and then tests existing systems. Any Predesign and design
major retrofits required follow the process for new building com- - Owners develop better understanding of what they want and need
missioning as defined in this chapter. through clear, documented owners project requirements (OPR)
Applicability - Designers understand better what owner is requesting
- Designers reduce their risk with better communication and input
The commissioning process described here applies to new con- from owner
struction, major renovations, and all systems and assemblies. - Owners understand better what designers are proposing through
Although this chapter focuses on HVAC, commissioning can be a clear, documented basis of design (BOD)
applied to the building as a total system, which includes structural - Experts review and improve commissioning documents
Construction (including system and assembly performance)
The preparation of this chapter is assigned to TC 7.9, Building Commis- - Improved specifications and drawings, resulting in improved
sioning. coordination between all groups

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- Specifying systems that can be properly commissioned and and document compliance with these criteria throughout design,
tested, and are within owners ability to maintain construction, acceptance, and initial operation phases.
- Tools to help contractors perform better installations (e.g., con- Specific goals for commissioning include
struction checklists)
- Performance accountability through construction observation, Providing documentation and tools to improve quality of deliver-
issue management, and testing ables (e.g., forms, tracking software, performance calculation
- Documented verification of system and assembly performance tools)
- Thorough training requirements in construction documents Verifying and documenting that systems and assemblies perform
- Verifying training completion according to OPR by end of construction with building occu-
- Formal acceptance testing at completion pancy
Occupancy and operations (including maintenance) Providing a uniform and effective process for delivery of con-
- Thorough documentation in construction contract struction projects
- Verifying documentation submittals Using quality-based sampling techniques to detect systemic prob-
Commissioning also reduces potential change orders, contractor Verifying proper coordination among all contractors, subcontrac-
callbacks, and time required to fine-tune and debug systems during tors, vendors, and manufacturers of all furnished equipment and
occupancy, and smooths turnover. Building performance improve- assemblies in the completed systems
ments give better building and system control, improve energy effi- Verifying that adequate and accurate system and assembly docu-
ciency, enhance indoor environmental quality, and contribute to mentation is provided to owner
increased occupant productivity. Verifying that operation and maintenance personnel and occu-
Key Contributors pants are properly trained
Commissioning authority (CA) Management Strategies
Operations and maintenance personnel In each project, a qualified party should be designated as the
Occupants and users commissioning authority.
Design professionals Predesign and Design. Commissioning during predesign and
Contractors design is most often managed by an independent CA who is not part
Suppliers of the formal designer-of-record team. An independent, objective
Independent test and balancing company view is critical. The CA normally provides input to the owner and
Definitions designers but does not have ultimate authority over design deci-
sions. The CA should also coordinate, conduct, or approve activities
Basis of Design (BOD). A document that records the concepts, such as assisting in development of the OPR, conducting statistical
calculations, decisions, and product selections used to meet the sampling reviews, and developing commissioning specifications
OPR and to satisfy applicable regulatory requirements, standards, and test procedures. The CA may also review plan designs. In some
and guidelines. The document includes both narrative descriptions projects, commissioning is the designers responsibility, using
and lists of individual items that support the design process. either their own staff or a consultant.
Commissioning Authority (CA). An entity identified by the
Construction. During construction, because of the variety of
owner who leads, plans, schedules, and coordinates the commis-
players, construction management scenarios, and the owners
sioning team to implement the commissioning process.
objectives, numerous methods are used to manage the commis-
Commissioning Plan (CP). A document that outlines the orga- sioning process. To maintain objectivity, the CA should be inde-
nization, schedule, allocation of resources, and documentation pendent. If the contractor or designer hires the CA, the potential
requirements of the commissioning process. conflict of interest must be carefully managed. The two primary
Construction Checklist. A form used by the contractor to verify
methods to manage commissioning during construction are com-
that appropriate components are on site, ready for installation, cor- missioning-authority-managed and contractor-managed. In the
rectly installed, and functional. commissioning-authority-managed approach, the CA performs
Owners Project Requirements (OPR). A document that many of the planning and technical tasks, such as developing the
details the functional requirements of a project and the expectations commissioning plan and test procedures and directing, witnessing,
of how it will be used and operated. These include project goals, and documenting execution of tests, performed by either the con-
measurable performance criteria, cost considerations, benchmarks, tractor or themselves. In the contractor-managed approach, the
success criteria, and supporting information. (The term project contractor may develop the commissioning plan, write test pro-
intent is used by some owners for their commissioning-process cedures, and direct and document testing, with the CA reviewing
OPR.) and approving the plan, witnessing selected tests, and reviewing
Systems Manual. A system-focused, composite document that completed test reports. The CA should report to the owner on the
includes the operation manual, maintenance manual, and additional adequacy of a contractor-managed commissioning plan. The con-
information of use to the owner during occupancy and operations. tractor may assign staff, subcontractor, or subconsultant to manage
Test Procedures. A written protocol that defines methods, per- and coordinate commissioning responsibilities. This approach gives
sonnel, and expectations for tests conducted on components, equip- the contractor more responsibility. Some view this method as less
ment, assemblies, systems, and interfaces among systems. objective, but others consider it more integrated into the building
delivery process than the CA-managed approach.
COMMISSIONING OBJECTIVE Some project plans use both management approaches, particu-
The commissioning objective focuses on documented confirma- larly when a substantial amount of electrical equipment is being
tion that a facility fulfills the specified performance requirements for tested. HVAC and controls follow the commissioning-authority-
the building owner, occupants, and operators. To reach this objective, managed approach, and electrical system commissioning follows
it is necessary to (1) clearly document the owners project require- the contractor-managed approach, but the entire process is still over-
ments, including performance and maintainability; and (2) verify seen by the single CA.

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HVAC Commissioning 43.3

Team Members Submitting documented results to owner on all commissioning

Effective building commissioning requires a team effort. The size performed
and makeup of the team depends on the size and complexity of the These tasks may vary (e.g., some commissioning scopes involve
project and the owners desire for quality assurance. Team members preparing the O&M or electronic facilitys manuals, preparing
include the owner, occupants, design professionals, construction detailed maintenance management plans, or conducting operator
manager, general contractor, subcontractors, operation and mainte- and maintenance personnel training).
nance (O&M), suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and the CA. All Occupancy and Operations. During occupancy and operations,
members, particularly the O&M manager, need to be brought into the CA helps resolve commissioning issues and directs opposite-
the commissioning process early, preferably during predesign. season testing. Often, the CA participates in a near-warranty-end
The level of effort of team members changes during the different review of system and assembly performance.
project phases. For example, during design, the designer is a key Independence. If the CAs firm has other project responsibilities,
player in the commissioning process, whereas the contractor may a potential conflict of interest exists. Wherever this occurs, the CA
not have been selected. During construction, the general contrac- should disclose in writing the nature of the conflict and the means
tors and installing subcontractors roles increase. by which it will be managed. If the CA is not under direct contract
The scope of work of the CA, design professionals, and contrac- to the owner, the owners interests need to be protected through
tors should be clearly and completely identified in their contracts. appropriate oversight of the CAs work.
Without this, change orders, incomplete or missed tasks, and other- Qualifications. The CA should fully understand commissioning,
wise dysfunctional commissioning may result. design, and construction processes and have technical design, oper-
ations, maintenance, and troubleshooting knowledge of the systems
Roles and Responsibilities and assemblies being commissioned. Excellent written and verbal
The commissioning teams responsibilities are to conduct com- communication skills are critical. The CA may represent an individ-
missioning activities in a logical, sequential, and efficient manner ual or a team of commissioning experts, depending on system com-
using consistent protocols and forms, centralized documentation, plexity, the number of disciplines involved, and commissioning
clear and regular communications and consultations with all neces- scope. Thus, the ability to manage diverse disciplines over long
sary parties, frequently updated timelines and schedules, and appro- timelines is also important.
priate technical expertise. The following sections summarize the Construction Manager. The construction managers role varies
responsibilities of each party. Additional detail is found in the Com- with construction responsibilities. When they have significant over-
missioning Process section. sight for the owner (e.g., schedule management, submittal review,
Commissioning Authority. Specific responsibilities vary with change order authority), their commissioning role is more like the
the management scenario and the CAs specific scope of services. owners: they ensure the contractor is executing their commission-
Ideally, the same party or firm acts as CA through all project phases. ing responsibilities according to the commissioning plan and help
The CA organizes and leads the commissioning team throughout resolve issues.
the project. General Contractors.
Design Phase (Including Predesign). During predesign, the CA
Design. The general contractor (if yet selected) reviews commis-
develops the predesign and design-phase commissioning plan and
sioning requirements and performance criteria for coordination,
ensures the OPR is developed.
schedule, and cost implications.
During design, the CA develops detailed commissioning activi-
Construction and Acceptance. The contractors role and respon-
ties. The core CA responsibilities are
sibilities are
Reviewing designers BOD, plans, and specifications, ensuring
they meet the OPR Ensuring subcontractors commissioning work is completed and
Developing initial construction-phase commissioning plan cooperating with CA in executing the commissioning plan

Providing input into commissioning plan for CAs review and

Review owners request for quotation (RFQ) before issuing for
construction bid, ensuring that the commissioning, training, and
documentation requirements for all contractors and suppliers are Integrating commissioning schedule into overall project schedule
reflected in construction contract documents. Participating in commissioning meetings
Responding to questions and issues raised by CA
Construction and Acceptance. During construction, the CA is in Resolving issues identified during commissioning and coordinat-
charge of the commissioning process and makes the final recommen- ing correction of identified deficiencies
dations to the owner about functional performance of commissioned Providing equipment, system, and assembly data needed by CA
building systems and assemblies. The CA directs commissioning Performing specified training
activities, possibly performing many of them, depending on the man- Submitting required portions of systems manuals
agement scenario in place. The CA is an independent and objective
advocate for the owner. The core commissioning activities during In the contractor-managed approach, the general contractor is often
construction involve required to hire a third party with direct commissioning skills to
manage and execute the contractor commissioning requirements.
Reviewing selected construction submittals to ensure confor-
mance with OPR, with updates in commissioning plan as needed Trade Contractors.
Observing installations, start-up, and functional performance Design. Trade contractors of specialty or complex systems or
tests, including documenting any conditions that require correc- designs should review commissioning requirements and perfor-
tion mance criteria of their systems for coordination, schedule, and cost
Co-organizing with the discipline design engineer, and planning, implications.
developing, reviewing, approving, and executing or observing Construction and Acceptance. The responsibilities of the install-
testing ing trade contractors (and vendors, as appropriate) include
Codeveloping or assisting with systems manual Participating with CA (and the contractors commissioning man-
Reviewing O&M manual submissions ager, when applicable) in executing commissioning plan
Verifying operator and maintenance personnel training and docu- Providing input into commissioning plan for CAs review and
mentation approval

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Coordinating with other trades as necessary to facilitate a smooth Assist in reviewing selected submittals
and complete commissioning process Assist in construction observation, verifying completion of con-
Participating in commissioning meetings struction checklists and observing start-up
Responding to questions and issues concerning their work raised Participate in or witness testing, within pre-established lines of
by CA responsibility and authority
Executing and documenting tasks in construction checklist and Review O&M and systems manual
start-up process Participate in training
Performing and documenting tests when in their scope
Participating in resolving issues within their scope identified dur- COMMISSIONING PROCESS
ing commissioning
Correcting identified deficiencies within their scope Commissioning should begin during predesign, and formally
Providing required documentation for systems manuals and com- continue through the first year of occupancy and operations.
missioning reports Although circumstances may require owners to begin commission-
ing at the design or construction stage of a project, this later imple-
Commissioning-related activities of trade contractors are to prepare mentation should, when possible, capture the same information
O&M manuals and submissions to the systems manual and provide and verifications developed when commissioning begins at project
training on commissioned systems and assemblies. To avoid confu- inception.
sion, the OPR should specify which commissioning activities are
the trade contractors responsibility, and which are the CAs. PREDESIGN-PHASE COMMISSIONING
Architect and Engineers (Designers).
Design. The design professionals should develop complete
basis-of-design (BOD) documentation, including design narratives, The primary activities and objectives of commissioning during
rationale, and criteria, according to their scopes of services, and predesign are to
update this document with each new design submission. They pro- Develop owners project requirements (OPR)
vide input to the commissioning plan, respond to questions and con- Identify scope and budget for commissioning process
cerns by the CA and others, respond to design review comments, Develop initial commissioning plan
and incorporate commissioning requirements in construction con- Review and accept predesign-phase commissioning-process
tract documents. activities
Construction and Acceptance. During construction, designers Review and use lessons learned from previous projects
Review the commissioning plan
Attend selected commissioning meetings
Answer questions about system design and intended operation Commissioning Team and Management. During the predesign
Update design narratives in the BOD to reflect as-built conditions phase, a team is formed to oversee and accomplish commissioning.
Respond to or incorporate CA comments on construction submit- Responsibility for leadership of the commissioning team should be
tals and O&M manuals defined and assigned to the CA at the beginning of predesign.
Help resolve design-related issues raised during commissioning Owners Project Requirements (OPR). The OPR forms the
Perform specified training basis from which all design, construction, acceptance, and opera-
tional decisions are made. It describes the functional requirements
Submit required portions of systems manuals
of the facility and expectations of how it will be used and operated.
Additional tasks sometimes required are to present system descrip- It includes project and design goals, budgets, limitations, sched-
tion overviews for primary systems during O&M staff training, ules, owner directives, and supporting information, as well as nec-
review and approve testing plans and procedures, review com- essary information for all disciplines to properly plan, design,
pleted test forms, or witness selected tests. construct, operate, and maintain systems and assemblies (ASH-
Owners Project Management Staff. The owners project man- RAE Guideline 0).
agement staffs ultimate responsibility is to see that the commis- The OPR is generally a set of concise objective qualitative state-
sioning plan is executed. The owner, with guidance from the CA,

ments, each with one or more quantitative performance metrics or

should include specific responsibilities in all commissioning team criteria. The following information should be included:
members scopes of services, make sure there is sufficient time for
Functional requirements, needs and goals for building use, oper-
commissioning in the project schedule, ensure the CA is receiving
ation, maintenance, renovation, and expansion, including users
cooperation from other team members, and ensure that other owner
requirements and space temperature requirements
responsibilities (e.g., developing the OPR, having O&M staff par-
Occupancy schedules and space plan requirements, including
ticipate during construction) are fulfilled. The owner ensures that all
zone-based control areas
design review and construction-phase issues identified through
Sustainability, reliability, durability, safety, and aesthetic goals
commissioning are resolved in a timely manner.
Quality of materials and construction
Owners Representatives. The owners representatives are indi-
Warranty, project documentation, and training requirements
viduals or firms hired to represent the owners interest during spec-
Goals for the process and outcome of design and construction
ified phases of the building process. The owner typically retains the
project architect or project engineer responsible for HVAC design (e.g., budgets, schedules, change orders, safety, aesthetics, effects
on adjacent or integral occupied spaces and tenants)
and the CA as a team of owners representatives.
General commissioning scope and objectives
Owners Operations Staff. General statements about codes, standards, and regulations to be
Predesign. The owners O&M staff should participate in the followed
development of the OPR during predesign. Limitations likely to affect design decisions
Design. During design, O&M staff may contribute to reviews of Specific features, systems, assemblies, or brands the owner re-
the designers BOD, plans, and specifications. quires (these will be repeated in the design narrative)
Construction and Acceptance. During construction, the owners Instructions to designers on types of design tools and aids ex-
O&M staff should pected to be used

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HVAC Commissioning 43.5

The CA ensures that the OPR is developed and is clear and com- Update the design-phase commissioning plan developed during
plete. The CA may develop or help develop the OPR with the owner predesign
or provide direction and review of the OPR developed by others. Develop and incorporate commissioning requirements into proj-
Facilitated workshops, surveys, and questionnaires are useful for ect specifications
developing the OPR. Later during design, additional OPR state- Develop commissioning plan for construction and occupancy/
ments with performance criteria may be added to the formal list, as operations phases, including draft construction checklist
desired by the owner and commissioning team. The OPR should Verify plans and specifications against BOD and OPR
still be developed, even if not originally generated in predesign, and Begin codeveloping with relevant discipline design engineer for
included in the systems manual. systems manual
Scope and Budget for Commissioning. During predesign, the Define training requirements for O&M personnel
owner, with assistance from the CA, develops a scope and a rough Perform commissioning-focused design reviews
budget for commissioning. At minimum, design-phase activities Accept design-phase commissioning
should be initially scoped. Once a design-phase commissioning
plan is developed, the scope and budget may need to be adjusted. Activities
The scope and budget should reflect the commissioning objectives Update Design-Phase Commissioning Plan. The initial design-
in the OPR. phase commissioning plan is developed during predesign. As more
Selecting areas to commission is typically based on the budget, becomes known about systems and assemblies likely to be a part of
systems or assemblies with which the owner has experienced prob- the project and as project objectives are clarified, the commissioning
lems on previous projects, complexity of systems and assemblies, plan may need to be updated with additional details. The CA must
and criticality of the system or assembly in meeting the OPR. Dur- participate in value engineering and constructability review sessions
ing predesign and design, the list of areas to be commissioned may to ensure that commissioning can be performed. The owner and
be general (e.g., electrical lighting controls, emergency power, designer then review and comment on the updated plan, which then
general electrical equipment, HVAC, domestic water system, and becomes the guide for the rest of the design phase.
envelope fenestration, etc.). Later in design but before scoping Update the OPR. As design progresses, additional OPR and
construction-phase commissioning, additional detail should be performance criteria are likely to be identified. Other criteria may

added to each of these categories, and others added as needed to need to be altered as more detailed budget and design data become
ensure that the scope of commissioning is clear. Adding this detail available.
increases the cost of commissioning, and needs to be specified early Verify the Basis of Design. All BOD elements can be grouped
in the design phase. under one of two terms: design narrative or design criteria. These
Historically, commissioning focused on HVAC. Owners are now two terms provide a useful separation when writing the design basis.
asking for more systems to be commissioned, including lighting The design narrative is the written description and discussion of
controls, fire and life safety systems, vertical and horizontal trans- the concepts and features the designers intend (during schematic
port systems, envelope, plumbing, landscaping, sustainability fea- design phase) to incorporate into the design or what they have incor-
tures, structural elements, many electrical equipment components, porated (during the balance of design) to meet the OPR and associ-
security, data, and communications. Refer to the section on Com- ated performance criteria as well as codes, standards, and
missioning Costs for budgeting guidelines. regulations. This narrative should be understandable by all parties
of the building construction and operation process, though it may
Predesign-Phase Commissioning Plan address fairly technical and specialized issues. It includes a brief
One predesign-phase commissioning task should be drafting the section on what systems were considered and why they were
commissioning plan for the design phase. The CA develops this accepted or rejected, along with the rationale for the system
plan with review and comment by the owner and designer, and the selected. The design narrative should be updated with each phase of
plan is updated as the project progresses. The design-phase com- design.
missioning plan should include the following: The design criteria are the project-specific information, includ-
ing underlying assumptions for calculations, calculation methodol-
Objectives and scope of commissioning
ogy, codes and standards followed, equipment used as the basis of
Overview of the process
design, and design assumptions needed to make design calculations
Detailed commissioning-process activities for design phase and other decisions, such as
General commissioning-process activities for construction and
operations/occupancy phases Diversity and safety factors used in sizing
Roles and responsibilities Classes of systems and components (duct class, cleanroom class,
Deliverables explosive or other hazardous classifications, etc.)
Communication protocols Level of redundancy
Schedule Occupant density
Checklist of requirements and formats Limitations and restrictions of systems and assemblies
Verification and acceptance procedures Inside and outside conditions (space temperature; relative humid-
ity; lighting power density; glazing fraction; U-value and shading
Acceptance of Predesign Commissioning coefficient; roof, wall, and ceiling R-values; ventilation and infil-
The owners project requirements and commissioning plan tration rates; etc.)
should be formally accepted during predesign, after review and Fire and life safety issues
comment by the CA. Summary of primary HVAC load calculations and the methods
DESIGN-PHASE COMMISSIONING Development and Use. The BOD is written by the designer and
Objectives increases in details as design progresses. The CA may need to
Design-phase commissioning objectives include the following: obtain this explanatory information from the designer. An updated
BOD with increased detail should be submitted with each new
Update the owners project requirements (OPR) design submission. Each submission is reviewed by the owner and
Verify basis of design (BOD) document against OPR CA as part of design reviews.

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43.6 2011 ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Applications (SI)

Develop Commissioning Plan for Construction and Occu- It is critical that the project specifications in the CP clearly define
pancy/Operations Phases. The commissioning plan (CP) is a doc- how the quality control and testing functions that have traditionally
ument that outlines the organization, schedule, allocation of been a part of many construction projects (e.g., fire alarm, elevator,
resources, and documentation requirements of the commissioning duct pressure, room pressurization, emergency power testing) will
process. This is an overall plan, developed during the predesign, be integrated with HVAC commissioning. Responsibility for check-
design, and construction phases, that provides the structure, sched- out and test procedures, including test procedure review, direction,
ule, and coordination planning for commissioning. The CP includes execution, witnessing, documentation, and approval, must all be
specifications detailing the scope, objectives, and process of com- clearly described. The acceptance criteria for the test should be
missioning during the construction and occupancy/operations included in the specifications. Acceptance criteria should be based
phases of the project. The CP must specify the scope of work, roles, on the OPR and the systems selected. For example, a project may
responsibilities, and requirements of the construction contractor. require tight temperature or humidity tolerances to meet certifica-
The commissioning plan for the construction and occupancy/oper- tion criteria. Systems designed for these projects should be able to
ations phases describes the following: control to those tolerances. A system with staged cooling (direct

r0.5 K level of control. This should be taken into consideration

expansion with compressor staging) may not be able to meet a
Commissioning process
Scope of commissioning effort, including systems, assemblies, when selecting the systems for the project.
and components being commissioned The CA ensures that contractor responsibilities for commission-
Rigor of commissioning ing are appropriately incorporated into the project specifications.
Roles and responsibilities of each team member Placing the general commissioning requirements, process descrip-
Team contact information tions, and specifications in a single section ensures that all parties
Communication protocols between team members, including know where to look for their responsibilities and find common ter-
documentation requirements minology.
Commissioning overview and details of submittal activities Often, the commissioning authority writes the commissioning
Construction observation, checklisting, and start-up activities specifications and then works with the designer to integrate them
Preliminary schedule for commissioning activities into the project specifications. Alternatively, the designer can de-
Process for dealing with deficiencies velop the commissioning specifications, with the CA reviewing and
Test procedure development and execution recommending revisions.
Prefunctional/functional test procedures Begin Developing Systems Manual. During design, the sys-
Operation and maintenance (O&M) manual review tems manual contains the OPR, BOD, and drawings and specifica-
Warranty-period activities tions, updated at each design submission and during and after
Operation training procedures construction. The CA is often responsible for assembling and main-
Systems manual development taining the systems manual; however, the contract documents for
Description of summary report, progress and reporting logs, and the CA or design professionals should delineate who is responsible
initial schedule (including phasing, if applicable) for assembling the systems manual.
Procedures for documenting commissioning activities and resolv- The systems manual differs significantly from traditional O&M
ing issues manuals. This manual expands the scope to include other project
information developed and gathered during commissioning, such
The commissioning plan developed during predesign is updated as traditional equipment O&M data, design and construction doc-
to include construction-phase activities. At the beginning of the uments (OPR, BOD, plans, specifications, and approved construc-
design phase, the plan is general and is used primarily to guide tion submittals), system schematics, final commissioning report,
development of commissioning specifications. The owner and training records, commissioning test procedures (filled-in and
designer review and comment on the plan. As design progresses, the blank), and optimization and diagnostic data (which can include
CA updates and finalizes the plan when the construction documents operational procedures for specific emergency situations, seasonal
are completed. The commissioning plan can be issued with the bid changeover procedures, fire and emergency power response
documents for reference. matrix, smoke management system operation during and after fire,
Develop and Incorporate Commissioning Requirements into energy efficiency recommendations, troubleshooting guide, re-
Project Specifications. The specifications in the CP are needed by commissioning frequency, and diagnostic building automation sys-
contractors so they can include commissioning responsibilities in tem trend logs). Scopes of work should clearly identify whether the
pricing and understand how to execute the work. Because commis- systems manual includes all project systems and assemblies or just
sioning is still relatively new to the building industry, descriptive commissioned ones. For more information, see ASHRAE Guide-
process language should be included, rather than just delineating line 4-2008.
requirements. Frequently, for reference, the responsibilities of other The owner, designer, contractor, and commissioning authority
team members not bound by the specifications (e.g., owner, CA, each have development responsibilities for parts of the systems

construction manager, architect) are given in the commissioning manual. Construction documents should list the contents and re-
specifications to ensure clarity and put the contractors responsibil- quirements for the systems manual and the responsible party for
ities in context. generating, compiling, and finishing each part of the required doc-
The specification should include definitions, a list of equipment umentation. Systems manuals should be available for and used in
and systems to be commissioned, submittal, construction checklist, operator training. Much of the systems manual can be put into elec-
testing and documentation requirements, and sample checklists and tronic media format. The ability to search and auto-update enhances
test forms. If the project uses contractor-managed commissioning, the usability and accessibility of the data.
the specification should identify skills and qualifications required of Define Training Requirements. During the design phase, the
the contractors commissioning lead. training requirements of O&M personnel and occupants are identi-
The OPR, along with as much BOD information as possible, fied relative to the systems and assemblies to be installed in the
should be included in the construction documents and labeled as In- facility. O&M personnel must have the knowledge and skills
formational Purposes Only to differentiate from the contractors required to operate the facility to meet the OPR. Occupants also
contractual obligations. Training and O&M manual requirements of need to understand their effect on the use of the facility and the abil-
the contractor also should be included. ity to meet project requirements. Both groups require training.

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HVAC Commissioning 43.7

Training needs can be identified using a group-technique work- implements the approved ones. All issues are tracked to resolution
shop, interviews, or surveys with the owner and occupant repre- and verified in later reviews to have been incorporated as agreed.
sentatives after the systems and assemblies have been specified, Accept Design-Phase Commissioning Activities. Commission-
and before issuing the construction documents. The contractors ing should include the owners formal acceptance of the BOD, up-
training responsibilities need to be incorporated into the project dated OPR, CP, and the design, after review and comment by the CA.
specifications and should include requirements for the number of Additional Commissioning Team Tasks. Additional design-
training hours for each item of equipment or assembly and submit- phase responsibilities of the commissioning team (led by the CA,
tals of training plans and qualifications of trainers. Training likely who is frequently responsible for these requirements) include the
requires participation of the designer (for system overviews), the following:
CA (for system overviews, recommissioning, optimization, diag-
Build and maintain cohesiveness and cooperation among the proj-
nostics, and using and maintaining the systems manual), and pos-
ect team
sibly the contractor, and should be included in their scopes of work.
Assist owner in preparing requests for project services that outline
Because turnover in O&M and occupants will occur, training mate-
commissioning roles and responsibilities developed in the com-
rials should be reusable (e.g., video, written manuals, computer
missioning plan
Ensure that commissioning activities are clearly stated in all proj-
Perform Design Reviews. Design review by parties not part of ect scopes of work
the formal designer-of-record team should be conducted to provide Develop scope and budget for project-specific commissioning-
an independent perspective on performance, operations, and main- process activities
tenance. These document reviews, conducted by experts in the field, Identify specialists responsible for commissioning specific sys-
should start as early as possible, when options and issues can be tems and assemblies
more easily resolved. The reviews may be coordinated by the CA
Conduct and document commissioning team meetings
and should include the owners technical staff. The CA may attend
Inform all commissioning team members of decisions that result
some design team meetings, and formally reviews and comments on
in modifications to the OPR
the design at various stages of development [ideally, at least once
Integrate commissioning into the project schedule
during schematic design (predesign), design development, and con-
Track and document issues and deviations relating to the OPR and
struction document phases]. The CAs design review is not intended
document resolutions
to replace peer-to-peer design reviews that check for accuracy and
Write and review commissioning reports
completeness of the design and calculations.
A targeted design review may cover the following:
General quality review of documents, including legibility, consis-
tency, and level of completeness

Coordination between disciplines Commissioning activities should take place throughout the con-
struction phase and include verification and documentation that
Specification applicability to project and consistency with draw-
ings All acceptance testing requirements are documented
Verification that BOD assumptions and rationale are reasonable All systems and assemblies are provided and installed as specified
Verification that system and assembly narrative descriptions are All systems and assemblies are started and function properly
clear and consistent with OPR and the BOD is updated with All acceptance testing requirements are documented
resolved issues The systems manual is updated and provided to facility staff
Verification that plans and specifications are consistent with BOD Facility staff and occupants receive specified training and orien-
and OPR, and plans and specifications are updated with resolved tation
issues Acceptance testing occurs

Potential system performance problems, issues likely to result in Activities

change orders, areas where correct installation is difficult, energy The following primary commissioning activities (in approxi-
efficiency improvements, environmental sustainability, indoor envi- mately sequential order) address commissioning objectives. The
ronmental quality issues, fire and life safety issues, operation and CA coordinates and ensures that all activities occur and perform
maintenance issues, and other issues may be addressed in these successfully.
design reviews, depending on the owners desires and CAs scope. Bidding and Contract Negotiation. A member of the com-
Required reviews ensure that training and systems manual require- missioning team (usually the CA) may attend the prebid confer-
ments are adequately reflected in construction documents. ence to present an overview of commissioning requirements and
Some reviews use sampling, giving 10 to 20% of the drawings answer questions. Changes that occur during bidding and contract
and specifications for an in-depth review; if only minimal issues are negotiations related to commissioned systems and assemblies are
identified, the owner accepts the submission. If significant issues also reviewed to ensure they agree with the OPR.
are identified in the sample, either the submittal is sent back to the Commissioning Planning and Kickoff Meetings. The CA
designer for revamping and a thorough review, or the CA may per- coordinates construction-phase planning and kickoff meetings. The
form a thorough review, depending upon the scope of work defined planning meeting held with the contractor, owner, designer, and CA
in the CAs contract. After the design team has addressed the issues, focuses on reviewing requirements and establishing specific com-
the CA performs a new review. In this type of review, the design munication and reporting protocols. The commissioning plan is
team is still responsible for their traditional peer review of construc- updated from this meeting. The kickoff meeting is held with addi-
tion documents for accuracy. The CA makes recommendations to tional construction team members, who generally include the
facilitate commissioning and improve building performance, with- mechanical, controls, electrical, and test and balancing contractors.
out approving or disapproving either design or documents. The At this meeting, the commissioning provider outlines the roles and
design team is ultimately responsible for design. The CA should be responsibilities of each project team member, specifies procedures
able to justify all of the recommendations made. It is the responsi- for documenting activities and resolving issues, and reviews the
bility of the owner or project manager to evaluate all review findings preliminary construction commissioning plan and schedule. Team
with the design team and see that the responsible team member members provide comments on the plan and schedule, and the CA

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43.8 2011 ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Applications (SI)

uses these suggestions to help finalize the commissioning plan and documents are made at the end of testing, typically a few months
schedule. into occupancy.
Commissioning Plan Update. The planning and kickoff meet- Coordinate Owners Representatives Participation. The
ings usually result in an updated commissioning plan. Later, any commissioning plan should describe participation of the owners
project phasing or other schedule and scope-related issues (e.g., representatives in work such as submittal review, construction
testing and training plans and schedules) are clarified in further checklist verification, construction observation, test procedure re-
updates. view and execution, and O&M manual review. The CA normally co-
ordinates this participation with the contractors.
Submittal Reviews.
Construction Observation. The CA should make planned, sys-
Construction Submittals. The CA reviews equipment and mate- tematic visits to the site to observe installation of systems and as-
rial submittals of commissioned systems and assemblies to obtain semblies. The owners staff may assist in construction observation.
information needed to develop construction checklists, make mean- The CA should verify that the first few of any large-quantity items
ingful observations of construction progress, and aid in developing (e.g., variable-air-volume terminal units) are installed properly and
comprehensive tests. Submittals are also reviewed to identify con- used as a mock-up or standard to judge the rest of the installation.
struction-related performance issues before construction progress Any conditions not in compliance with the construction documents
makes them more difficult and expensive to address. Submittals or BOD or that may affect system performance, commissioning, op-
should be reviewed concurrently by the design team to allow any eration, or other project requirements should be documented. These
discrepancies to be identified and communicated to the design team observations normally focus on areas where observers have found
before formal approval. problems before, or spot-check items on construction checklists.
Controls Submittal and Integration Meeting. Before the contrac- Less often, practitioners are tasked with validations or detailed in-
tor develops the controls submittal, the CA coordinates a controls spections verifying that equipment or assemblies have been installed
integration meeting to discuss and resolve methods for implement- properly in every detail. Some practitioners make formal construc-
ing performance specifications or strategies, interlocks between tion observation reports, whereas others merge findings into the reg-
systems, priority of control between packaged controls and the cen- ular issue logs and progress reports. Site visits should be used to
tral control system, the control system database, point names, verify completion of construction checklists.
graphic details and layout, access levels, etc. The CA normally witnesses many of the contractors start-up
Coordination Drawings. The CA may help the owner monitor activities for major equipment to ensure checklists and start-up are
the development and coordination of shop drawings to ensure syn- documented properly and to gain additional feature and function
chronization between trades. information from installing technicians.
Early O&M Data. Information beyond typical construction Construction Checklists and Start-up. At the beginning of
submittals requested by the CA includes installation and start-up construction, construction checklists are developed (usually by the
procedures, operation and maintenance information, equipment CA in cooperation with the discipline engineer, but sometimes by
performance data, and control drawings before formal O&M man- the contractor or equipment manufacturer) for most commissioned
ual submittals. This information allows the CA to become familiar systems and equipment. They are attached to or integrated with
with systems and assemblies to develop construction checklists, manufacturers installation and start-up procedures. In most proj-
start-up plans, and test procedures. ects, contractors fill out the checklists during installation, during
normal checkout of equipment and systems, and before and during
Contract Modifications Review. Construction documentation
system start-up, though some commissioning practitioners fill out
issued during this phase, including requests for information, con-
the checklists themselves. The contractor fully documents start-up
struction field directives, and change orders, should be reviewed by
and initial checkout, including the construction checklists, and sub-
the CA to identify issues that may affect commissioning and com-
mits them to the CA, who reviews the forms and spot-checks
pliance with construction documents, BOD, or OPR.
selected items in the field later in the project, to ensure systems are
Schedule Commissioning Field Activities. The CA works with ready for testing.
the contractors and construction manager to coordinate the commis- Some CA practitioners statistically sample items on checklists
sioning schedule and ensure that commissioning activities are inte- to verify proper completion (typically random or targeted sam-
grated into the master construction schedule. pling 2 to 20%). If an inordinate fraction of the sampled items are
Construction and Commissioning Meetings. The CA attends deficient (typically more than 10%), the contractor is required to
periodic planning and job-site meetings to stay informed on con- check and document all remaining items. The contractual docu-
struction progress and to update parties involved in commissioning. ments need to contain details of the sampling and actions based on
During initial construction, the CA may attend regular construction the results.
meetings and hold a line item on the agenda. Later, the CA may Commissioning Issues Management. The CA keeps a record of
convene entire meetings devoted to commissioning issues, with all commissioning issues that require action by the design team,
more frequent meetings as construction progresses. Attendees vary contractor, or owner. The issues should remain uniquely identified,
with the purpose of the meeting. Team members should be repre- be tied to equipment and systems, and prioritized relative to perfor-
sented at meetings by parties with technical expertise who are mance, cost, and schedule. Issues are tracked to resolution and com-
authorized to make commitments and decisions for their respective pletely documented. The CA distributes the updated log to the
organizations. The CA should distribute minutes from these meet- owner, contractor, construction manager, and HVAC design engi-
ings. neer at construction and commissioning meetings. This log can also
Progress Reports. The CA provides periodic progress reports to be placed on project Web sites. In the contractor-managed scenario,
the owner and contractor with increasing frequency as construction the contractors commissioning manager or subconsultant may
progresses. These reports indicate current progress, next steps, and manage the contractors issues log. In that case, to minimize con-
critical issues affecting progress and construction schedule. flicts of interest, the commissioning authority is often required to
Update Owners Project Requirement and Basis of Design. report all issues simultaneously to the contractor and to the owner.
When contract negotiations and/or changes and clarifications made Developing Test Procedures. Step-by-step test procedures and
during construction alter or add to the OPR or BOD, these docu- project-specific documentation formats are used for all commis-
ments should be updated. Normally, the CA updates the OPR and sioned equipment and assemblies. Manual tests evaluate systems
the designer updates the BOD. Final construction updates to these with immediate results. Monitoring testing uses the building

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HVAC Commissioning 43.9

automation system or data loggers to record system parameters in specific disciplines to witness tests, particularly in some electrical
over time and analyze the data days or weeks later. Automated system and envelope assembly field testing. Increasing the required
testing gathers or analyzes system performance data completely amount of field witnessing by the CA also improves the confidence
electronically, or with significant help from software. that commissioning was correctly performed.
Test procedure writing begins immediately after the submittal, Within a given discipline, there may be differing levels of auton-
because test procedures need to be reviewed and approved before omy. For example, in tests of electrical equipment (e.g., circuit
testing occurs, which is generally scheduled about three to six breakers), the contractor may conduct and document the bolt-torque
weeks after the submittal review. Test procedures may be based on tests, and also be required to hire an independent certified testing
specifications, applicable standards and codes, submittal data, agency to conduct other necessary tests that require more special-
O&M data, data shipped with the equipment, approved control ized expertise and test equipment.
drawings, and existing test procedures of similar equipment or com- The owners technical staff can assist in and benefit from partic-
ponents. Tests should cover all functions and modes. ipation in any of the above scenarios. The designer and owners
Procedural documents clearly describe the test prerequisites, project management staff may witness selected tests.
required test conditions, individual systematic test procedures, Verification Testing Scheduling. Verification testing should be
expected system response and acceptance criteria for each proce- performed after equipment and assemblies are complete and started
dure, actual response or findings, and any pertinent discussion. Test up, construction checklists checked out and submitted, and air and
procedures differ from testing requirements found in the specifi- water balancing completed. The contractor is then ready to turn the
cations, which describe what modes and features are to be tested and system over to the owner. Most projects require a certificate of read-
verified and under what conditions. Test procedures describe the iness from the contractor certifying that the system has been thor-
step-by-step method of how to test. Simple checklists may be appro- oughly checked out and verified to be completely functional.
priate for testing simple components, but dynamic testing of inter- Ideally, manual testing occurs before substantial completion, but
acting components requires more detailed procedures and forms. schedule slippage may require testing to occur after this milestone.
The responsible HVAC design engineer should organize the prep- Some short-term monitoring may be completed with manual test-
aration of HVAC system testing, adjusting, and balancing (TAB) ing, but sometimes is postponed until early occupancy. Opposite-
procedure together with the test and balancing professional and the season and other deferred testing should be conducted during sea-
commissioning authority, depending on their scopes of work. The sonal changes or peak seasonal conditions.
CA is responsible for verifying that the test procedures are written Testing Scope. At a minimum, testing includes observing and
and appropriate for determining that equipment, assemblies, and documenting system operation and function during normal opera-
systems function correctly. All parties should have input into the tion, through each of their sequences of operation, and all other

final test procedures to ensure that equipment, assemblies, systems, modes of operation and conditions, including manual, bypass,
or people will not be endangered or warranties voided. Industry emergency, standby, high and low load, and seasonal extremes, and
standard test procedures [e.g., ASHRAE, Air-Conditioning and comparing actual performance to that specified in the construction
Refrigeration Institute (ARI), American Composites Manufactur- documents. Testing may also be conducted to verify performance
ers Association (ACMA)] should be referenced whenever possible. criteria found in the BOD and OPR, including system optimiza-
tion, though deficiencies in these areas are not normally the con-
Testing and Verification.
tractors responsibility.
Responsibilities and Management. Not all testing and verifica- Manual Testing Methods. Testing includes observing normal
tion falls under HVAC commissioning. Traditional air and water operation; changing set points, schedules, and timers; and exercis-
testing, adjusting, and balancing is often the sole responsibility of ing power disconnects, speed controls, overwriting sensor values,
the contractor or by independent contract to the owner. Building etc., to cause perturbations in the system. System response and
envelope, elevators, and electrical system testing are also generally results are recorded on test procedure forms, and any issues are doc-
excluded from HVAC commissioning. There is some movement in umented. Small corrections are often made during testing. Less
the industry to centralize coordination for quality assurance/quality pressing corrections or issues with unknown solutions are investi-
control (QA/QC) functions under the commissioning team. Each gated later, corrected, and retested.
project is unique, and different approaches can be warranted. Building automation systems (BAS), when present, can be the
Critical issues include ensuring that backbone for conducting much of the testing, collecting, and ar-
Appropriate testing rigor is applied chiving data. Before using the BAS, critical sensors, actuators, and
Technically qualified parties execute and document the testing features should be verified as calibrated so the system readouts are
Objectivity is maintained reliable (although all sensors and actuators should have been cali-
Testing is well documented brated by the contractor and documented on construction check-
lists). The results are viewed on the building automation system
For systems not usually thoroughly tested by the contractor [e.g., screen or at the equipment. Other tests may require hand-held in-
HVAC systems and controls, lighting controls, specialty plumbing, struments or visual verification (e.g., evaluating caulking and flash-
and envelope and interfaces between systems (security, communi- ings on window installations).
cations, controls, HVAC, fire protection, emergency power)], the Monitoring. Some testing requires monitoring (trending) system
CA may write test procedures that go beyond HVAC tests. The CA operation over time through the BAS or data loggers (when the BAS
then directs, witnesses, and documents each test executed by the does not monitor desired points). Monitoring can be used to docu-
contractor. For these systems, the controls subcontractor usually ment that systems are performing properly during test conditions
executes the tests, although the CA may test some equipment with over the monitoring period. However, this is not a substitute for
or without the contractor present. manual testing, which can cover a wide range of conditions. Moni-
Testing that has traditionally been conducted by the contractor toring provides a view of system interactions over the course of nor-
(e.g., fire alarm, fire protection, elevator, duct and pipe tests, emer- mal, start-up, shutdown, and weekend operation. Normally, the CA
gency power, some electrical equipment) ideally should be centrally analyzes monitored data and submits a report, with any concerns
coordinated. This can be the responsibility of the contractor or of the added to the issues log.
CA. The specifications should clearly establish testing and docu- Automated Testing. Various semiautomated testing is conducted
mentation requirements and define the responsible party. The level in permanent onboard equipment controllers. Currently, most truly
of confidence and objectivity can be increased by requiring experts automated testing focuses on identifying electrical faults in controller

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components and is used during vendor start-up and troubleshooting and all tested performance records conforming to system design
activities. Some use logic to identify parameters outside limits, which criteria
indicate component malfunctions such as hunting and calibration If room pressurization is required, a complete room-to-room pres-
issues. Different types of automated testing intended to help commis- surization map in the TAB report
sioning are under development. Some are primarily tools to gather If room cleanliness is required, a certified as-built room cleanli-
and display monitored data; others help the analyzer make diagnoses. ness report of testing during completion of construction and
Equipment manufacturers often integrate automated commissioning installation
testing capabilities into onboard controllers on their equipment.
Systems Manual Submittal. The CA usually compiles the sys-
Training. Training should include, as appropriate, (1) the gen-
tems manual and provides it to the owner. At the end of construc-
eral purpose of the system; (2) use and management of the systems
tion, the designer, contractor, owner, and CA provide elements of
manual; (3) review of control drawings and schematics; (4) start-
the systems manual generated during the construction phase. The
up, shutdown, seasonal changeover, and normal, unoccupied, and
systems manual should include commissioning test procedures,
manual operation; (5) controls set-up and programming; (6) diag-
results of commissioning tests, issue logs and resolution, system
nostics, troubleshooting, and alarms; (7) interactions with other
schematics, O&M information, record drawings, construction
systems; (8) adjustments and optimizing methods for energy con-
checklists, start-up reports, and trend log analysis, grouped by
servation; (9) relevant health and safety issues; (10) special main-
equipment. The CA normally reviews and approves systems manual
tenance and replacement sources; (11) tenant interaction issues;
submissions by the contractor and designer, similar to traditional
and (12) discussion of why specific features are environmentally
O&M manual reviews. Electronic systems manuals, now developed
sustainable. Occupants may also need orientation on certain sys-
occasionally, will likely become standard in the future.
tems, assemblies, and features in the building, particularly sustain-
able design features that can be easily circumvented.
The CA helps the owner ensure that adequate training plans are OCCUPANCY- AND OPERATIONS-PHASE
used by the contractor and that training is completed according to COMMISSIONING
the construction documents. (See the discussion of defining training Occupancy- and operations-phase commissioning typically
requirements in the section on Commissioning During Design.) begins with resolving the findings from performance monitoring
Some CAs conduct testing with a sample of trainees to verify the over the first month or two into occupancy, and ends with the
efficacy of the training. completion of the first year of occupancy.
Most training should be accomplished during construction,
before substantial completion. However, for complex systems (e.g., Objectives
control systems), multiple training sessions should occur before and Commissioning during this phase should ensure the following:
after substantial completion. Training for systems that will not come
into operation until the next season may be delayed. A meaningful Initial maintenance and operator training is complete.
training program typically includes using the operation and mainte- Systems and assemblies received functional opposite-season ver-
nance components of the systems manual, which must be submitted ification.
before training begins. Selected training materials can be video- Outstanding performance issues are identified and resolved before
recorded as desired by the owner. warranty expiration.
Commissioning Record. The CA compiles all commissioning Commissioning process evaluation is conducted and satisfacto-
documentation and project data, which are submitted and become rily resolved.
part of the systems manual. The commissioning record contains the
salient documentation of commissioning, including the commis-
sioning final report, issues log, commissioning plan, progress re- Verifying Initial Training Completion. The CA ensures that
ports, submittal and O&M manual reviews, training record, test any remaining training is conducted according to the contract
schedules, construction checklists, start-up reports, tests, and trend documents, either by reviewing documentation of the training or
log analysis, grouped by equipment. through witnessing portions of the training. This normally ap-
Final Commissioning Report. The CA should write (or review) plies to control systems and training on major systems for which
and submit a final commissioning report detailing, for each piece of peak season is not near the end of the construction phase.
commissioned equipment or assembly, the adequacy of equipment Seasonal Testing. Seasonal testing verifies proper operation of
or assemblies meeting contract documents. The following areas those systems for which peak-load conditions are not available
should be covered: (1) installation, including procedures used for before substantial completion. Additionally, intermediate-season
testing equipment with respect to specifications; (2) functional per- testing may be required for part-load, and changeover testing may
formance and efficiency, including test results; (3) O&M manual be required. For example, when completion occurs in winter, final
documentation; and (4) operator training. Noncompliance items full-load cooling system testing must wait until the following sum-
should be specifically listed. A brief description of the verification mer. Intermediate-season testing verifies system changeover con-
method used (manual testing, trend logs, data loggers, etc.) and trols and ability to maintain space conditions per OPR. Testing
observations and conclusions from the testing should be included. should be performed by the appropriate contractor and witnessed by
The CA updates the final commissioning report after occupancy/ the CA and building operators. However, the owners operations
operations-phase commissioning. The commissioning documents staff and the CA, if sufficiently proficient with the controls system,
also should include, among other things, can execute the tests and recall contractors only if there are prob-
Certificates and warranties of system completion with a complete Near-Warranty-End Review. The CA may also be asked to
set of as-built drawings submitted from mechanical, electrical, return a few months before the contractors one-year warranty
piping, plumbing, control, and fire protection contractors expires, to interview facility staff and review system operation. By
Complete records of all problems and solutions occurred during acting as the owners technical representative, the CA assists facility
start-up, testing, and adjustments submitted by every individual staff to address any problems or warranty issues.
contractor or subcontractor Documentation Update. Any identified operations-phase con-
Certified system testing and balancing report from the licensed cerns are added to the issues log and the final commissioning report
TAB company, with verified major equipment models, capacities, is amended to include occupancy/operations-phase commissioning

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HVAC Commissioning 43.11

activities. Changes to the BOD, OPR, or record documents are Table 1 Estimated Commissioning Authority Costs to Owner
documented by updating the systems manual near the end of the for Construction and Occupancy/Operations Phases
warranty. Changes to sequences of operation require particular
Commissioned System Total Commissioning Cost
care in ensuring that these updates occur.
Commissioning Process Evaluation. The CA should meet HVAC and controlsa 2.0 to 3.0% of mechanical
briefly with the owner; general, controls, mechanical, and electri- Electrical systema 1.0 to 2.0% of electrical
cal contractors; and mechanical and electrical designers to dis- HVAC, controls, and light electricalb 0.5 to 1.5% of construction
cuss the commissioning process for this project. Topics to be Sources:
aWilkinson (2000).
addressed include what went well, what could be improved, what
bPECI (2000).
would best be done differently next time, etc. This will benefit all
parties in commissioning future projects. The CA will submit a
report on this meeting to the owner. buildings with larger scopes of design review may cost consider-
The occupancy/operations phase typically begins with resolv- ably more.
ing the findings from monitoring a month or two into occupancy,
and ends when the one-year equipment warranties expire.
Additional Activities. The CA may also be given other respon-
sibilities during the warranty period, such as helping develop a Table 1 estimates the CAs costs for the construction and occu-
maintenance management program, optimizing system perfor- pancy/operation phases under the CA-managed approach. It
mance, and developing electronic facility manuals. includes construction- and occupancy/operations-phase commis-
Ongoing or Recommissioning. Ongoing monitoring and peri- sioning for the HVAC system (including fire and life safety controls,
odic retesting and calibration of selected systems and assemblies are changeover season, and opposite season) and electrical system
recommended to ensure they comply with the OPR, operating and (including lighting controls, emergency power, and limited connec-
functioning optimally throughout their life. This is sometimes called tion and grounding checks). It does not include specialty testing
recommissioning. Some recommissioning methods rely more on such as full infrared scanning, power quality, switchgear, trans-
semicontinuous monitoring of primary system performance param- former, or low-voltage-system testing. Complex systems and criti-
eters with periodic analysis. Other approaches consist of recalibrat- cal applications have higher costs. For a given building type and
ing and retesting targeted systems and components on a regular complexity, larger buildings tend to come in at the lower end of the
schedule, including both manual testing and monitoring. Calibration range and smaller buildings at the higher.
and test frequency vary with equipment and its application. The listed costs cover only the CA fees; there are also costs to the
contractor, designers, and owners staff. For the CA-managed
approach, costs for the mechanical contractor attending meetings,
COMMISSIONING COSTS documenting construction checklists, and assisting with testing
approximate 10 to 20% of the CAs mechanical commissioning
Commissioning costs vary considerably with project size and
costs. The electrical contractors costs may equal the CAs electrical
building type, equipment type, scope, and traveling requirements
commissioning costs for electrical commissioning (because contrac-
(Mills et al. 2004; Wilkenson 2000). Historically, commissioning
tors are usually responsible for hiring their own electrical testing
focused on HVAC and controls, and started during construction.
company to perform electrical tests). International Electrical Testing
However, QA/QC for increasing numbers of systems is included in
Association (NETA) tests are often already part of the normal con-
commissioning, and the process now frequently begins in the design
struction program, and the only additional commissioning costs are
phase. Currently, the commissioning industry is not mature; budget
for the CA to coordinate testing, spot-witness, and review reports.
estimates, even for relatively detailed scopes of work, vary widely.
Commissioning costs for the contractor-managed approach are
Clear definition of tasks, deliverables, systems and components
similar overall, but more costs are shifted from the CA to the con-
to be commissioned, rigor, and testing methods must be provided
tractor and their commissioning manager and staff.
for comparative pricing. The costing guidelines that follow must be
used with great caution and are provided only for rough planning EXISTING BUILDINGS
purposes. Understanding what is and is not included in each cost
number is critical. Owners should consult commissioning providers Existing building commissioning (also called retrocommission-
with their planned projects to obtain budget estimates, and practi- ing, sometimes written as RCx) involves commissioning building
tioners should use detailed cost breakdowns for their pricing. HVAC equipment after the equipment has been installed, and the
facility is running and occupied. HVAC equipment performance
normally degrades with use and time, at a rate depending on the

(INCLUDING PREDESIGN AND DESIGN) quality of maintenance and operations and hours of operation. Qual-
ity of maintenance also affects equipment life expectancy. A facility
Predesign-phase costs include the CAs efforts in attending pre- retrocommissioning effort should include developing an owners
design meetings and design reviews with the architects consulting current facility requirements or owners intent, documentation of
team and owners representatives. This portion of work may range the existing system, a survey identifying operational inefficiencies
from 8 to 12% of the CAs contract. Design-phase costs include the for the facility, quantifying and prioritizing the inefficiencies found,
CAs reviewing design submittals, coordinated with the designer, determining how best to optimize the equipment or operation,
and developing sections of the systems manual (design intent and implementing the change, training operating personnel, document-
basic operations from the control submittal). This portion of the ing operations, and then reverifying with ongoing measurements
work may range from 15 to 20% of the CA contract. that the retrocommissioning activities produced and continue to
For a project that includes the discussed tasks for all HVAC and produce the desired effect (Claridge et al. 2000). Other definitions
controls components, a moderate level of electrical systems com- specify it as a one-time event with a different set of project phases
missioning, and minor plumbing and envelope commissioning, the (Haasl and Sharp 1999; Thorne and Nadel 2003). All of these
total commissioning costs (CA cost plus the additional work of the approaches provide methodologies to improve operation, improve
designers) may range from 0.2 to 0.6% of the total construction work environment, safely improve process productivity, and opti-
cost for a typical office building. This estimate assumes two mod- mize a facilitys energy use with direct consideration given to cur-
erate design reviews. Different types of buildings or more complex rent operational requirements.

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43.12 2011 ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Applications (SI)

Existing building commissioning activities include reviewing REFERENCES

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water- and air-side operations, optimizing indoor air quality control, ASHRAE. 2008. Preparation of operating and maintenance documentation
and verifying control systems are functioning as needed. Training for building systems. ASHRAE Guideline 4-2008.
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PECI. 2000. The National Conference on Building Commissioning Proceed-
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ASHRAE. 2002. Laboratory design guide.
ASHRAEs Commissioning Process Management Professional DOE. 2002. Continuous commissioning guidebook. http://www1.eere.
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commissioning process and commissioning team members. Idaho Department of Administration. 1999. State of Idaho retrocommission-
Recipients are usually design/consulting professionals and tech- ing guidelines. http://adm.idaho.gov/pubworks/archengr/app7rcg.pdf.
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SMACNA. 1995. HVAC systems commissioning manual. Sheet Metal and
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The University of Wisconsin offers three levels of certification: ment of Energy, Washington, D.C., and Portland Energy Conservation,
professional, managerial, and technical support. OR.

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No reproduction or networking permitted without license from IHS Not for Resale, 10/17/2011 14:59:38 MDT