The Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems is defined in the national standard for commissioning, ASHRAE Standard 202, as “A quality-focused process for enhancing the delivery of a project. The process focuses upon verifying and documenting that all of the commissioned systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the Owner’s Project Requirements.”
Commissioning, as a process, has been included as a requirement in many national codes and standards, including the International Energy Efficiency Code, and the International Green Construction Code. For jurisdictions that have adopted any of these codes, commissioning is required. Sustainability and Green Building programs such as LEED and others also require commissioning.
As a process utilized from pre-design through operations, commissioning has a series of activities for proper completion with each action having specific deliverables. These deliverables define the building requirements, the commissioning requirements, and the documentation of the process and performance results for the building, systems and assemblies commissioned.
The activities of the building commissioning process proceeds in the following order:
- INITIATION: The owner or owner’s representative initiates the Commissioning Process at the beginning of the project. The roles and responsibilities of the project and commissioning teams are determined. Procedures and contracts are prepared and executed. It is advisable to retain the Commissioning Provider early in the project to provide input to Pre-Design phase documents
- OWNER’S PROJECT REQUIREMENTS: The project requirements are determined and documented; which include the building use, scope, and the requirements for performance, training, testing, commissioning, and documentation. The deliverable for this activity is the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) document which is the guiding instruction for the project. The OPR is updated throughout the design and construction of the project.
- COMMISSIONING PLAN: The initial Commissioning Process Plan is developed that identifies the commissioning scope, roles and responsibilities, communication procedures, and design and construction requirements for providing and integrating commissioning into the project. The deliverable for this activity is the Commissioning Process Plan that is updated throughout the project with checklists, schedules and documentation details. The owner reviews and approves this plan.
- BASIS OF DESIGN: The design team determines and documents the design approach to meet the Owner’s Project Requirements. The deliverable for this action is the Basis of Design (BoD) document which is the guiding technical process for the project on the approach the design team will take to accomplish the OPR. The Commissioning Provider reviews the Basis of Design (BOD) for conformance to the OPR. The owner reviews and approves this document before design completion.
- SPECIFICATIONS: During the design phase the contractor commissioning requirements are determined for each system and included in the commissioning specifications for the construction documents package. The Commissioning Provider assists the design team in the development of the commissioning specifications.
- DESIGN REVIEW: In the design phase the Commissioning Provider reviews the design and documents for conformance to the OPR. These reviews are assembled in the design review report. The design review by the commissioning provider is not considered a PEER review, or a code review, and does not replace those functions.
- SUBMITTAL REVIEW: The commissioning team reviews the materials and equipment submittals for conformance to the OPR and construction documents This provides familiarity with the building systems for development of testing and commissioning procedures, requirements, and checklists. These reviews are summarized in the submittal review report.
- SYSTEM VERIFICATION: As the project is constructed, the commissioning team observes and verifies the installation and performs or witnesses the equipment start up and initial testing. The air conditioning system test and balance process and report is reviewed and verified by the Commissioning Provider to assure system operation and compliance with the project documents.
- FUNCTIONAL AND PERFORMANCE TESTING: Functional and performance testing is conducted to verify performance compliance with the OPR and design documents. The results of these verification processes and functional and performance testing are recorded in the construction checklists and reports. These reports are included in the project commissioning report.
- ISSUES and RESOLUTION LOG: Issues and resolutions of issues are identified and documented in the Issues Log along with related documentation. The Issues Log facilitates communication and collaboration with project team. The final issues log is included in the final commissioning report.
- SYSTEMS MANUAL: During the design and construction of the project, the design and construction documents are assembled into the systems manual. This assembly of documents provides the details and history of the design and construction of the building and information needed to properly operate the building. The systems manual includes the project final OPR, BOD, construction record documents, submittals, completed startup, verification checklists, functional and performance checklists, verified sequence of operation, facility guide, training records, and commissioning report. The systems manual is used in the initial and subsequent training of the building operations staff and occupants. The systems manual is updated throughout the life of the building.
- TRAINING: To operate the building in accordance with the OPR and design capabilities, the building staff may be required to be trained on the installed equipment and systems. The suppliers and contractors will normally conduct the training with the training being observed by the commissioning team. The training plans and records are retained and updated for use in later training.
- OPERATION PHASE: Commissioning activities that was not performed due to climatic conditions or equipment availability before initial certificate of occupancy is conducted during post occupancy. An end of warranty commissioning report documents these activities. The final testing results are included in the final commissioning report and systems manual.
- COMMISSIONING REPORT: Commissioning plans and interim reports are collected and distributed throughout the project as required by the commissioning plan. At the time of granting of a facility certificate of occupancy a preliminary commissioning report is prepared that shows the commissioning progress and equipment performance to date. At the completion of the project the final commissioning report is assembled and provided to the owner and others as required by the OPR and local jurisdiction requirements. This report includes the final commissioning plan, copy of design and submittal review reports, all startup, inspection, verification, functional and performance test forms and reports, the verified sequence of operation, the final issue and resolution log, and summary of the performance of commissioned systems.
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