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Building Commissioning: Cx 101. Brock Graham, Gilbane Building Co. Michael Gannon, BVH Integrated Services November 15, 2010. Building Commissioning… Where did it come from ?. ASHRAE ? LEED ? Federal Gov’t ? USGBC ? ASME/ANSI ?. The United States Navy ….

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Building Commissioning:

Cx 101

Brock Graham, Gilbane Building Co.

Michael Gannon, BVH Integrated Services

November 15, 2010


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Building Commissioning…

Where did it come from ?

ASHRAE ?

LEED ? Federal Gov’t ?

USGBC ? ASME/ANSI ?


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The United States Navy …

U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

Commissioned October 1986


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Building Commissioning…

What is it?

Retro-commissioning (existing buildings)

Re-commissioning (existing buildings)

Commissioning (new construction)


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Building Commissioning…

What is it?

The short answer:

Building commissioning (new construction) is

construction quality assurance


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Building Commissioning…

Different ‘levels’ of Cx (and cost)…

Minimal: Start-up & troubleshooting

Typical: LEED

Cx on Steroids: HPB

& ASHRAE Guideline 0


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Commissioning: Why do it?

  • High performance building standards require…buildings to perform.

  • Commissioning provides the assurance that buildings are built and perform as intended.


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Commissioning Process Overview:

  • Design Phase

  • Construction Phase

  • Acceptance Phase

  • Occupancy Phase


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Design Phase:

  • Review or assist in development of

  • OPR and BOD

  • Peer review

    • Sometimes at many stages (SD, DD, CDs)

  • Initial schedule development (CM)

  • Commissioning Specification

    • Very important!


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Construction Phase:

  • Submittal reviews

  • Develop Cx Plan

  • Kick-off with installing contractors

  • Installation observation

  • Contractors fill out pre-functional checklists


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Construction Phase (cont.):

  • Further develop schedule with GC / CM

  • Pre-balancing meeting

  • Proactive Field Quality Control

    • Installation observation

    • Witness some testing

  • O&Ms submitted and reviewed


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Construction Phase (cont.):

  • Prefunctional checklists – developed by CxA, filled out by contractors

    • Not to be confused with functional test sheets

    • Manufacturer’s start-up of equipment


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Acceptance Phase:

  • Functional testing begins (when systems are complete!)

    • A ‘test case’ system can be commissioned to let contractors know what to expect

    • This should be coordinated and witnessed by CxA, not installing contractors.

  • Deficiencies recorded and tracked by CxA


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Acceptance Phase (cont.):

  • Contractors correct deficiencies and notify CxA of correction

  • CxA retests and records results

  • Contractor-provided Owner training is organized and verified

  • Validation (if called for) follows functional testing


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Occupancy Phase:

  • Functional testing continues (realistically)

  • CxA develops Systems Training Manual (aka the Recommissioning Manual)

  • Owner personnel trained by CxA

  • Final commissioning report produced


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Occupancy Phase:

  • Deferred (seasonal) testing

  • End-of-Warranty Review

  • Post-occupancy performance verification

    • Needs to be addressed in design phase (e.g. are enough ATC points and / or energy meters specified to capture all usage)


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Commissioning Scoping

  • Identify Cx Scope clearly

  • Typical systems include:

    • All HVAC (some sampling possible)

    • Plumbing (DHW, CA, Pumps, etc)

    • Electrical (lighting controls, E-power and E-lighting, etc)

  • Other systems:

    • Fire alarm, fire protection

    • Security, data, PA, envelope, elevators…


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Commissioning Scoping

  • Peer Reviews

    • Early docs (SD, DD) don’t have as much to review

    • Allow time in schedule for reviews and doc updates by EOR


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Commissioning Scoping

  • How much should you expect to pay?

  • 0.5% to 3% of total construction cost

  • 3 to 5% of total operating cost (retro) to 5% of total construction cost (validation)

  • 2 to 3% of mechanical systems cost + 1 to 2% of electrical systems cost

  • It Depends on the CxA scope, as defined by the Owner



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