What is Commissioning?
Commissioning is a quality assurance-based process that formally reviews and integrates all the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing project expectations during planning and design, as well as testing and inspection of the systems during construction. It is important to start the commissioning process early and to bring the commissioning agent (CxA) on board during or before schematic design.
While projects with special performance needs require commissioning, all projects need some level of commissioning to perform at their best. In addition to the performance needs, another factor driving demand for commissioning is the Cal Green Code. This code applies to all buildings of 10,000 s.f. and over, excluding dry storage warehouses of any size. If the dry storage warehouse contains offices or processing areas over 10,000 s.f. in size those spaces would fall under the code.
Commissioning is often misinterpreted to focus solely on testing during the end of the construction phase. However, commissioning is a collaborative process for planning, delivering, and operating buildings that work as intended. Commissioning begins with planning and includes design, construction, start-up, acceptance and training, and can be applied throughout the life of the building. Commissioning is a process that spans from pre-design planning to post-construction operation and can be thought of as a checks-and-balances system.
The Goals of Commissioning are to:
- Define and document requirements clearly at the outset of each phase and update through the process
- Verify and document compliance at each completion level
- Establish and document commissioning process tasks for subsequent phase delivery team members
- Deliver buildings and construction projects that meet the owner’s needs, at the time of completion
- Verify that operation and maintenance personnel and occupants are properly trained
- Maintain facility performance across its life cycle