Early integration of commissioning (Cx) into the facility design and construction phases of projects benefits the projects to the greatest extent, enabling project teams to identify and meet the owners' project requirements as efficiently as possible. The following are suggested steps for getting the commissioning process started:
- Include Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) documentation as part of the budget package (more OPR details later and template in Cx toolkit).
- Identify a Cx provider (see following section) prior to start of preliminary plans phase
- Instruct the Cx provider to develop the commissioning plan, which can be based on the template included with the Cx toolkit.
- Implement the activities listed in the commissioning plan.
Designated Cx Provider Each project shall have a designated Cx provider who oversees and coordinates Cx activities during the phases of the project. This can be represented by different people during different phases of the project. While having one consistent Cx provider may provide advantages of consistency, many smaller State projects will likely divide up this responsibility as follows:
- Design Phase: Cx provider is recommended to be the project team's design engineer, since they are typically involved in the project during design phases and usually have the most experience with the building systems to be commissioned. The mechanical design engineer may be the most appropriate if most of the systems to be commissioned are mechanical systems. If more electrical systems need commissioning, then the electrical design engineer can act as Cx provider during design.
- Construction Phase: During construction and post occupancy phases, DGS' mechanical and electrical inspection specialists are likely the most qualified members of the project team to provide Cx oversight and act as Cx provider. Since these specialists will likely be on the job site during construction anyway, they can oversee the completion of functional performance tests and Cx Summary Reports and coordinate completion of the project Cx process.
Any project pursuing actual LEED certification should refer to the LEED document entitled "Who can be the Commissioning Authority", included in this toolkit, as well as the LEED section below.
LEED Cx Projects pursuing LEED certification at a "Silver" level or higher should follow closely the instructions contained in the LEED-NC v2.2 Reference Guide as well as the following documents included in this toolkit: "Who can be the Commissioning Authority", and "LEED Commissioning Responsibility Chart". LEED requirements include the following:
- Fundamental Cx: This level of Cx is a mandatory prerequisite of LEED and is covered by the attached documents and templates of this Toolkit including:
- Designate Cx authority (CxA)
- Owner to document Owner's Project Requirements (OPR)
- Design team to develop the Basis of Design (BOD)
- Incorporate Cx requirements into construction documents (CD's)
- Develop & implement Cx plan
- Verify installation & performance of systems commissioned
- Complete a summary Cx report
- Enhanced Cx: This credit obtains a point toward LEED certification. Supporting documents are not included in this Toolkit to obtain this credit, and many smaller projects will probably not perform all of these Cx tasks. However, there are further benefits to the facilities and their continued operation for documenting measures including:
- Designate Cx authority by start of CD's
- Cx authority review of Owner's Project Requirements (OPR), Basis of Design (BOD) and design documents prior to mid CD's
- CxA review of system submittals for compliance w/ OPR & BOD
- Develop Systems Manual
- Verify completion of training of operating personnel and building occupants are completed
- Post occupancy review of operations by CxA at 10 months occupancy
Online documentation and submittal of LEED commissioning documentation is required for projects seeking LEED certification. Projects not certifying to LEED are to provide a copy of documentation for at least fundamental Cx measures to building operating staff of owning agency.
Owner's Project Reqmnts.(OPR) The Project Director shall lead the development of the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) document for the owner's approval using the attached sample template or equivalent to document:
- Environmental and Sustainability Goals
- Energy Efficiency Goals
- Indoor Environmental Quality Requirements
- Equipment and Systems Expectations
- Building Occupant and O&M Personnel Expectations
Some of this information may already be included in the Budget Package or project scope. In fact, the entire OPR can be included in budget packages. The Project Director or other Owner's representative should complete this document as early as possible during the project so that the design team can use it to develop their Basis of Design document. The CxA shall provide review of the OPR prior to the final accepted version and refer to this document throughout the design and construction process.
Basis of Design The design team shall develop the Basis of Design (BOD) document using the attached sample template or equivalent to describe how the design of the building systems meets the OPR. These systems typically include at least the following:
- Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems and Controls
- Indoor Lighting System & Controls
- Water Heating System
- Renewable Energy Systems (if applicable)
This document should be developed during the project's design phase as early as possible, and updated as necessary throughout the design process. Development of the BOD should be included in the design engineer's scope of services and on smaller projects, the DGS recommends it be developed by the design engineer. The CxA will refer to this document as well throughout the project's design and construction Cx process.
Cx Reqmnts. in Const. Documents The Construction Documents (CD's) shall include requirements for Cx in its specifications and contract documents. The Cx Toolkit includes a sample Specification Section 01810 that can be used or modified for the project. Additionally, sample Functional Performance Tests (samples in Toolkit) should be included, as well as any specific requirements for participation in the Cx process within technical specifications.
Cx Plan The Cx Plan provides an overall outline and approach to how the project will be commissioned and should be started during the design phase by the CxA (design engineer for small projects). The attached sample template includes data fields to document:
- General Project Information
- Commissioning Goals
- Systems to be Commissioned
- Cx Team Information
- Cx Process Activities, Schedules & Responsibilities
The Cx Plan should be used for a guide for administering the Cx process throughout the project and should be updated as needed.
Verify Installation and Performance Functional Performance Tests (FPT's) are used to verify that building systems are installed and perform as intended to meet the OPR and BOD. Samples of FPT's for several commonly used systems in smaller buildings are included in this toolkit and can be used as a guide, or modified for specific projects. The FPT's are typically completed by the contractor and witnessed by the CxA during the construction phase. During construction, the CxA for smaller DGS projects will typically be the mechanical and/or electrical inspection specialist. FPT's typically include information about who performed the testing, the operating schedule, and a prefunctional checklist for use in the testing. This Toolkit includes sample FPT's for the following systems:
- Small Packaged HVAC Units w/ DX Cooling and Gas Heat
- Split HVAC Units w/ DX Cooling and Heat Pump Heating
- Lighting Occupancy Sensor Controls
- Water Heater w/ Storage Tank
- Point-of-Use Water Heater
Summary Cx Report The Summary Cx Report builds upon information already included in the Cx Plan, but includes additional information and data from the Cx process that may be useful to the building operator in continued operation of the facility, or to assist the future recommissioning of the building. This report includes:
- General Project Information
- Cx Team Information
- Executive Summary of Cx Process, Outstanding Issues, Observations and Conclusions
- History of Deficiencies (Including Resolution)
- Other Attachments of Cx Process Documents
The Toolkit includes a Sample Summary Cx Report that can be used as a guide. This Report should be completed by the construction phase CxA, who on smaller projects will typically be the mechanical and/or electrical inspection specialists with DGS' Construction Services Section (CSS). The CxA from the construction phase will need to coordinate with the CxA from the design phase to include observations and deficiencies identified and resolved during design.
Conclusion By following the prescribed steps of fundamental building commissioning, building projects will benefit from better designed building systems constructed to meet the owners' and projects' objectives. By utilizing project teams and in-house professionals to conduct Cx services, the knowledge, skills and abilities gained through these processes will be retained within the project teams and organization to the benefit of future projects.