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The Benefits of Building Commissioning Carl N. Lawson Hanson Professional Services Inc. Rapid City South Dakota ASHRAE We are told never to cross a bridge until it is finished. In this business we cross bridges every day that have not been finished. And we will continue to do so.

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the benefits of building commissioning

The Benefits of Building Commissioning

Carl N. Lawson

Hanson Professional Services Inc.

We are told never to cross a bridge until it is finished.

In this business we cross bridges every day that have not been finished.

And we will continue to do so.

what is the total building commissioning process tbcxp
What is the Total Building Commissioning Process (TBCxP)?

A Quality Process


that building systems and assemblies

meet the needs of


what is tbcxp
What is TBCxP?
  • Owner orientated
  • Team Responsibility
  • Continuous improvement
  • Lower cost, more profits
  • Consistent delivery of construction projects
essential concept of tbcxp
Essential Concept of TBCxP
  • It takes the uncertainty out of the delivery of a constructed projects
  • Does as well as any other approach, but at a lower cost
  • Has means to use statistical tools based upon probability distribution of outcome or based upon random estimate of expected outcome distribution
  • Has an element of continuous improvement
  • Transfers knowledge from planning to operations
goals of tbcxp
Goals of TBCxP
  • Document owner’s goals and requirements
  • Keep project team focused on owner’s goals
  • Prevent or eliminate problems inexpensively
  • Lower overall costs for the owner
  • Increase profits for project team by decreasing costs
tbcxp best practice
TBCxP Best Practice
  • Cost effective
  • Owner’s Project Requirement orientated
  • Team (commissioning process team)
  • Quality tools used
  • Orientated on delivery of the constructed project for: owner, occupants, and O&M
what each team member wants
What Each Team Member Wants


  • Design the next wonder of the world
  • Fewer change orders
  • Fewer RFI’s
  • Contractor to build it like it is designed
  • No site visits
  • Do the engineer’s inspections
  • No attorneys involved
what each team member wants11
What Each Team Member Wants


  • Design that is not VE’d to death
  • Fewer change orders
  • Fewer RFI’s
  • Contractor to install it like it is designed
  • No inspections
  • Do their own CA
  • No legal hassle
  • Paid on time
what each team member wants12
What Each Team Member Wants


  • Design he can change (for he believes his design is better)
  • A/E should stay off the job site
  • Work at his own pace
  • Get paid in a timely manner
  • Holds supplier’s money since he has not been paid by the GC
  • Get off the job quickly
  • Hope he gets his retainage
what each team member wants13
What Each Team Member Wants


  • A design that works
  • To VE the daylights out of it
  • A/E should stay off the site
  • Do it his way
  • Paid 30% mobilization fee
  • Paid monthly on time
  • Hold subcontractor’s payment as long as he can
  • Get off the job and hope he gets his retainage
what each team member wants14
What Each Team Member Wants


  • Project that is pretty, functions well and all systems work
  • Project is complete, on time and within budget
  • No change orders
  • No RFI’s
  • Low interest construction loan
  • Makes excuses about paying designers and contractors on time
  • Hopes the building and systems work as anticipated.
what each team member wants15
What Each Team Member Wants


  • Equipment and system approval
  • Ship equipment early
  • Warranty to start when equipment leaves factory
  • Why can’t I submit on this project?
  • Take their time in completing project
  • Paid without penalty
the three systems of buildings







The Three Systems of Buildings


building relationships









Building Relationships
role of the commissioning authority
Role of the Commissioning Authority
  • Determine what the owner really wants
  • Work with design team to implement a Basis of Design (BOD) document and Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) document
  • Develop a plan to implement the BOD and OPR into the construction documents
  • Verify the right systems are being installed
  • Verify the operation of the systems
  • Document the entire project
price vs cost
Price vs. Cost
  • Price is something you pay one time
  • Cost is what it takes to operate



Pick any Two

benefits and cost savings potential vs cost to implement or change
Benefits and Cost Savings Potential vs. Cost to Implement or Change

Cost to Change

Benefits and Cost Savings

Concept Design

Construction Acceptance



commissioning consultant
Commissioning Consultant

Definition of “Consultant” – someone called in to share the blame.

The Blame Game…Dr. John Parker

Lawyer – Have we left anything out?

Surgeon – Have we left anything in?

Engineer – Is there anything left?

what is commissioning
What is Commissioning
  • Commissioning is a process to verify that the owner has received what they contracted for during the programming and design phases and during the construction phase. It also gives them a comfortable feeling of knowing someone is looking out for them throughout the project and the 1st year of occupancy
  • It also verifies that the architects and engineers have received the systems they designed and approved
the principal goal of commissioning
The Principal Goal of Commissioning
  • The Principal Goal of the Commissioning Process is:
    • The identification and correction of problems as early in the process as possible.
top 10 deficiencies discovered by commissioning new existing buildings
Top 10 Deficiencies Discovered by Commissioning New & Existing Buildings
  • Incorrect scheduling of HVAC and Lighting equipment
  • Incorrect heating and cooling Sequence of Operation
  • Incorrect Calibration of Sensors and Instrumentation
  • Lack of control strategies for optimum comfort and efficient operation
  • Malfunctioning air and water side economizers
top 10 deficiencies discovered by commissioning new existing buildings cont
Top 10 Deficiencies Discovered by Commissioning New & Existing Buildings (cont.)
  • Under-utilized computer-based control systems
  • Short cycling of HVAC equipment leading to premature failure
  • Lack of design intent and building documentation
  • Lack of training for building operators or service contractors on complex systems
  • Missing specified and pair-for equipment economizers
what commissioning is not
What Commissioning is NOT
  • Test and Balance
  • Start-up
  • Plan Review
  • Design
  • Contract Administration
  • Inspection
when should commissioning begin
When Should Commissioning Begin??
  • Near the end of the Construction Phase?
  • When MEP systems installation begin?
  • When construction begins?
  • When design is complete?
  • When CD’s are started?
  • When DD’s are Started?
  • When SD’s are started?
  • Prior to beginning design?
commissioning where it is going
Commissioning – Where it is going
  • It is mandatory to commission all LEED projects to a specified level
  • Some states have mandated that state owned or leased buildings be commissioned
  • US FEDERAL GSA has mandated that GSA buildings be commissioned
  • More and more hospitals are now requiring commissioning
  • Commissioning is a standard in Canada
why required
Why Required?
  • Low quality construction- construction deficiencies
  • Complex systems – difficult to test
  • Integrated systems – do cause problems
ashrae guideline 0 2006
ASHRAE Guideline 0-2006
  • Describes the commissioning process that will ensure HVAC systems perform in conformity with design intent and owner’s project requirements
phases of commissioning
Phases of Commissioning
  • Pre-Design
  • Design
  • Construction
  • Occupancy
  • Project Turnover
  • Warranty
how does the cxa meet his responsibilities
How does the CxA meet his Responsibilities?
  • Conduct a OPR Charrette with the owner and design team.
  • Create and publish the OPR.
  • Review each step in the process to ensure compliance with the OPR.
  • Conduct regular meetings with the Cx Team to ensure communications are free flowing.
  • Document the entire process for the benefit of the owner and his staff.
systems commissioning
Systems Commissioning
  • Verifies operation of components under various conditions
  • Verifies interaction between systems and subsystems
  • Documents performance of systems to design criteria
  • Instructs building personnel on proper operation of systems
  • Ongoing after building occupancy as requirements change
cost savings from building commissioning
Cost Savings from Building Commissioning
  • Energy Savings of 20 to 50%
  • Maintenance savings of 15 to 50%
  • Reduction in claims from 2 to 20%
  • Reduction of in-house overtime costs
  • Reduction of trouble-shooting costs
who are the players
Who are the Players
  • Architect
  • Engineers
  • Owner’s Representative
  • Construction Manager
  • Mechanical Contractor
  • Electrical Contractor
  • Controls Sub-Contractor
  • Others as deemed necessary


  • Be a team player
  • Design the project with owner’s thoughts and requirements in mind
  • Be willing to make changes
  • Attend and participate in the commissioning meetings
  • Attend and participate in the owners project requirement meeting
responsibilities cont
Responsibilities (Cont.)
  • With the assistance of the CxA develop the basis of design document
  • Answer RFI’s in a timely manner
  • Answer change orders in a timely manner
  • Attend and participate in the VE process
responsibilities cont39
Responsibilities (Cont.)


  • Make decisions in a timely manner
  • Attend and participate in owners project requirement meeting
  • Attend and participate in commissioning meetings
  • Must own commissioning authority’s contract
  • Approve the owners project requirement document
  • Approve the commissioning plan
responsibilities cont40
Responsibilities (Cont.)


  • Manage the project
  • Coordinate sub-contractors work
  • Attend and participate in the commissioning meetings
  • Attend and participate in the owner’s project requirement meeting
  • Attend and participate in the VE process
  • Have coordination drawings developed
responsibilities cont41
Responsibilities (Cont.)


  • Install their respective work
  • Complete the various checklist
  • Be part of the commissioning team
  • Attend and participate in the owners project requirement meeting
  • Attend and participate in the commissioning meetings
  • Attend and participate in the VE process
  • Be a team player
responsibilities cont42
Responsibilities (Cont.)


  • Manage the commissioning process
  • Develop the commissioning plan
  • Develop the commissioning specifications
  • Work with all the other team members
  • Develop the owner’s project requirement document
  • With the assistance of the engineer develop the basis of design
  • Verify mold and mildew concerns
responsibilities cont43
Responsibilities (Cont.)


  • Conduct the commissioning meetings
  • Review the project in a timely manner
  • Review the submittals for compliance
  • Review the warranties for the record
  • Review the checklist
  • Perform the FPT
  • Turn building over to the owner
  • Not responsible for the design
cxa responsibities during design
CxA Responsibities During Design
  • Review the SD documents and issue comments to the design team
  • Review the DD documents and issue comments to the design team
  • Review the CD documents and issue comments to the design team
  • Work with the VE process
to correct major problems
To Correct Major Problems
  • The contract for the commissioning work should be awarded in the programming phase
  • The commissioning contract should be professional services directly contracted with the owner
  • Other contractual arrangements may and will lead to conflicts of interest
common technical disagreements
Common Technical Disagreements
  • Commissioning projects may experience difficulties if the design team does not take an active part in recommending an adequate solution to a found deficiency
  • It is not the responsibility of the CxA to dictate a design correction or change to solve a problem
conflict resolution
Conflict Resolution
  • Responsibilities of the design team must be clearly defined by the commissioning plan
  • Design team required services and adequate fees also must be included in their contract
  • It is important that the commissioning authority and design team maintain a close relationship throughout the project
common technical disagreements48
Common Technical Disagreements
  • Cx contract was not awarded until construction bids were received and awarded
  • The Cx contract is a subcontract under the mechanical contractor
o m manuals
O & M Manuals
  • Should be received within 60 days after approved submittals have been returned
  • Review with owner and give comments back to contractor for compliance
  • Use this as your training Bible
  • Be careful what you get in the O & M
  • You do not need installation material
  • Factory witness testing on major pieces of equipment
  • Get factory training out of way up front
  • Training should be in a classroom setting and also at the respective piece of equipment
  • Use factory trainers not the local sales rep
documentation required
Documentation Required
  • Owners Project Requirement Document
  • Commissioning Plan
  • Basis of Design
  • Contract Documents
  • TAB Report
  • Draft of the Final Commissioning Report
  • Warranties
  • O & M Manuals
documentation required cont
Documentation Required (Cont.)
  • Approved Change Orders
  • AS-Built Drawings
  • All testing data verification and documentation.
  • Sequence of Operation
  • Minutes of Meetings
  • Local jurisdictional inspection documentation and records
benefits of the commissioning process
Benefits of the Commissioning Process

If the Commissioning Authority/Team for your project cannot clearly document that their fee has been recovered, you are not properly implementing the Commissioning Process

  • Costs
    • $50M Laboratory Project
    • MEP Systems = $27M
    • MEP Cx Costs = 21/2 % = $675K
  • Savings
    • CO reduction = $1.5M
    • Construction Costs = $2M
    • Energy Savings = $750K
    • Legal Costs = $500K
    • Early Occupancy = 45 days @ $10K/day = $450K
  • NET SAVINGS = $5,200,000
  • ROI = 1422.5%
benefits of commissioning
Benefits of Commissioning
  • Project on time
  • Establish & maintain energy and maintenance budgets
  • Change orders are greatly reduced
  • Claims are greatly reduced
  • Punch list is non-existent
  • Operators have correct training
  • Enforce Start-Up Requirements
  • Reduce Post-Occupancy Corrective Work
benefits of commissioning cont
Benefits of Commissioning (Cont.)
  • Absenteeism has diminished
  • Users have been able to take ownership
  • Lasting professional relationships have been developed
  • Buildings and systems are operating as owner predicted
  • Minimize Effects of Design Defects
  • Improve Indoor Environment and Employee Production
  • Reduce Energy and Operating Cost
  • Increase Value through Better Quality construction
owner s comments
Owner’s Comments
  • Kept politics out of project
  • Worth the money
  • Will definitely continue the process on other projects
  • Project was on time & budget
  • Systems are working as requested
  • Occupancy is stable
  • Training was a major factor in the process
  • Maintenance is manageable and understands the systems

Commissioning is


Quality Process


Thank You

Carl N. Lawson

Hanson Professional Services Inc.

West Palm Beach, FL

Phone 561-471-9370