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Commissioning (Cx). EPWOG Meeting October 21, 2003 Washington, D.C. Team Members. Dwayne Colburn – PNNL Marty Fallier – BNL John Gertsen – BWXT Y-12 Jim Whitcraft – Yucca Mt. Tom Etheridge – ORNL. Commissioning. What, Why, How Much ($)…… Commissioning Guidance Applications.

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Commissioning (Cx)

EPWOG Meeting

October 21, 2003

Washington, D.C.

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Team Members

Dwayne Colburn – PNNL

Marty Fallier – BNL

John Gertsen – BWXT Y-12

Jim Whitcraft – Yucca Mt.

Tom Etheridge – ORNL

Commissioning l.jpg

  • What, Why, How Much ($)……

  • Commissioning Guidance

  • Applications

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What is Commissioning?

  • …systematic process of ensuring that a building performs in accordance with the design intent, contract documents, and the owner's operational needs.

  • …quality-assurance process that increases the likelihood that a newly constructed building will meet client expectations.

  • …systematic process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the facility and its systems, subsystems, and equipment are planned, designed, installed, and tested, and are capable of being operated and maintained according to the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR).

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When does Commissioning Occur?

  • The process begins with developing the OPR and extends through all phases of project delivery and into operation and maintenance.

  • …through all phases of a building project.

  • Commissioning can begin during pre-design, design, construction or building start-up. The process offers significantly greater and more cost effective benefits when it begins during pre-design or early design.

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Commissioning Span of Control


Start-up Testing

Test &


Operations &






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Benefits of Commissioning

  • Fewer change orders during the construction process

  • Fewer call-backs

  • Long-term tenant satisfaction

  • Lower energy bills

  • Avoided equipment replacement costs

  • Improved profit margin for building owners once the building is occupied

  • Assures building’s operational staff is properly trained

  • Operations and maintenance manuals are compiled correctly at project turn-over.

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Project documentation relevant to commissioning

  • Commissioning Plan

  • Quality Assurance Project Plans

  • Construction Management Plans

  • Test & Inspection Plans

  • Acceptance Test Procedures

  • O&M Manuals

  • Training Plans

  • Re-commissioning Management Manual

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Building Systems to be Commissioned

  • Building envelope

  • Interior finish materials

  • HVAC/mechanical

  • Electrical

  • Life safety

  • Plumbing

  • Facility processes

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Cost Expectations

  • O&M cost savings of 8%-20% over non-commissioned buildings

  • Retro-Cx costs range from 3%-5%

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Commissioning Guidance

  • Web-based information:











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Commissioning Process

  • Develop an overall commissioning strategy

  • Begin early in pre-design process

  • Designate a Cx Agent (Cx-A)

    • A/E acquired

    • Construction contractor acquired

    • Independent (Owner acquired)

  • Form a commissioning team

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Commissioning Agent Role

  • Represents the “Owner “ as an objective advocate

  • Develops the Cx Plan

  • Develops contract language for the A/E and Construction contracts

  • Guides the Cx process

  • Introduces standards/strategies early in design

  • Ensures implementation of selected measures

  • Verifies minimum targets have been met

  • Completes final Cx report

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Commissioning Applications

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    • 3rd Party Development

    • Russell Laboratory (Vivarium)


    • Research Support Center

  • Nuclear Facility ORR applications

  • Other case studies



  • Others?

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Examples: ORNL 3rd Private Developer Facilities

  • Cx Agent reports to owner/occupant

  • Other parties: Developer; A/E; Constructor

  • Cx approach -

  • Cx covers from 90% design through post-occupancy “re-Cx” period (1 year of O&M)

  • Cx-A performs QA-audit oversight of construction & LEED certification docs

  • Excellent MEP contractors

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Examples: ORNL 3rd Private Developer Facilities

  • Cx Plan:

    • Integrated testing

    • System component verification against spec

    • Upset testing plan (emergency/failure mode)

    • Dynamic and flexible

      • Flood problem where Cx-A became critical integrator of problem correction

  • Cx report

    • Complete documentation of all tests, manuals, training and performance expectations

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Examples: ORNL Russell Laboratory (Vivarium = “Mouse House”)

  • Cx requirement of Design Build Contract

    • Cx-A a former TAB contractor (1st Cx project)

  • Cx Plan – 3 phases

    • Design review and installation verification

    • Operational & Functional testing/training

    • Interoperability testing (failure modes)/training

  • Cx Report – complete documentation

  • Success key – Owner principal engineer

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Examples: ORNL JICS/ORCAS House”)(State of Tennessee Funded Facilities)

  • Cx-A contracted with ORNL (Landlord)

  • Other parties: TN; A/E(2); Builder

  • Cx Tasks

    • Design reviews

    • Systems/components verification

    • Specific operations/functions testing

    • Start-up and warranty validation (10 months)

    • Training and documentation

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Examples: ORNL JICS/ORCAS House”)(State of Tennessee Funded Facilities)

  • Cx-A Deliverables

    • Design comments

    • Cx plan per phase of work

    • Cx construction contract specification

    • Testing documentation

    • O&M manuals

    • Warranty period reports/testing/verification

    • Final Cx report

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Examples: ORNL Research Support Center (RSC) House”)

  • Cx-Agent is internal ORNL staff

  • A/E tasked with Cx-plan development

    • Subcontracted to Cx- Specialty firm

    • Identified systems to be Cx-ed

    • Identified roles/responsibilities of Cx Team

  • Cx-Team

    • PM, Construction Field Representative (CFR), Design Disciplines, Constructor

    • Cx-PM has lead role as Cx-Agent

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Examples: ORNL Research Support Center (RSC) House”)

  • Process

    • System readiness checklist completed by constructor prior to validation testing

    • Verification testing performed by constructor or manufacturer

    • Testing witnessed by CFR

    • All checklists and testing results documented in Cx report

    • System training performed after testing (video-taped)

    • Cx-report filed with LEED certification package

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Examples: Nuclear Facility ORR Applicability House”)

  • DOE-O-425.1C delineates minimum “core requirements” for operational readiness

  • Cx provides a systematic approach to addressing the “CRs” from design through construction up to the ORR/A

  • Approach:

    • Ensure Cx planning requirements include ORR/A CRs (i.e. Cx-A contract)

    • Make ORR/A CRs part of Cx plan

    • Build the ORR/A documentation record as the project progresses

  • Benefits

    • Avoids 3-6 month assembly of “proof” documentation

    • Strengthens the O&M aspects of the process

    • Acquaints staff with ORR/A requirements

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Conclusions on Cx … House”)

  • A growing expectation of facility delivery and management process

  • Integrated across the planning, engineering design, construction and operational disciplines

  • Adds cost to initial delivery of facilities but results in reduced operational and maintenance costs

  • Requires advanced planning

  • Can be tailored to project budget and can be delivered in various ways

  • Supports other requirements such as LEED certification and ORRs