Commissioning – Benefits

benefits of commissioning

In Design:

  • Reduce misunderstandings
    • Asks the questions to determine what the owner is looking for and translates that into design terminology.
    • Ensures that the design is meeting those goals
  • Catch issues early, when they can easily be corrected
    • Brings a lot of experience to the table with problems seen in previous projects and from experience as design engineers.
    • A third party looking over the design to provide impartial feedback to the owner.
    • Reviews for construct-ability and maintenance of systems

In Early Construction:

  • Catch issues early, act as an advocate for the owner.
    • Looks over submitted equipment and can identify some issues that will impact energy and/or future maintenance and owner use. (not always a priority for the designer)
  • Provides tools to ensure Quality
    • Provide checklists to contractors (based on submitted equipment) to document and ensure that industry best practices and contractual installation requirements are being met.
  • Improves construction quality through expectation of inspection
    • Knowing that work may be inspected improves quality.

In Late Construction:

  • Confirms Documentation and Installations are Complete.
    • Reviews completed checklists to ensure that all standard installation checks and features have been installed.
    • Reviews and/or observes testing and balancing of air and water systems to identify issues.
    • Visual inspections for general best practices prior to testing (at least one pre-test walkthrough during the kick off meeting)
  • Assists with communication and confirming design has been met
    • The commissioning agent is involved with all stages of the project and can see the big picture and help communicate it to the on-site contractors.
    • Brings a more in-depth inspection of the equipment and its compliance to the design (and more importantly to the owner’s goals behind that design) than the engineer’s punchlist.

Construction Completed:

  • Ensures Equipment is operating as expected.
    • Performs tests on equipment to ensure that it will perform as the owner expects and the designer specified:
      • Tested under every mode of operation and for interactions with other systems.
      • Reduces call backs for contractors, down time and frustration for owners.
      • Helps identify energy issues that might not impact equipment operation.
  • Assists with Owner Training
    • Is involved with ensuring owner training occurs. When possible, the commissioning agent will be present during training sessions and provide documentation to the owner with notes and audio/video recordings.

Additional Reasons:

  • Can Reduce Project Cost!
    • Case study of 6 new construction projects- reduced change orders by 87%, contractor call backs by 90%, resulting in an estimated 4-9% reduction in the total construction cost (Joy Altweis. “Information from a Commissioning Process Case History” PowerPoint presentation to Energy 2002, Palm Springs, CA)
    • Many studies out on cost effective existing building commissioning (which identifies cost effective improvements with <3 year payback periods)
    • LEED V3 quotes 5-10% energy and maintenance savings due to Cx
  • Required to meet LEED
  • Provides an additional Advocate for the owner
    • With increasingly complicated HVAC systems it is becoming less practical for owners to have the technical expertise or time to effectively test the systems being installed in their building.
    • Has the experience to identify sub-par work, both in the field and in design.