A proposed building's scope, schedule, and budget are developed in pre-design stage. It is here that critical systems are determined, based on an owner's project requirements (OPR) and risk management strategy for the activities of the building. It is essential that the pre-design stage include quality assurance strategies and budgets to verify that delivered systems and assemblies meet performance expectations.
ASHRAE Standard 202-2013, The Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems, and ASHRE Guideline 0, The Commissioning Process define commissioning as:
"A quality-focused process for enhancing the delivery of a project. The process focuses upon verifying the documenting that all of the commissioned systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the Owner's Project Requirements."
Commissioning is an all-inclusive, quality assurance-based process for working with project teams and documenting the planning, delivery, verification, and risk management functions to be performed. Commissioning ensures building quality using design review, and in-field or on-site verification. Commissioning also helps to maximize energy efficiency, environmental health and occupant safety. The process improves indoor air quality by making sure the building components are working correctly and that the plans are implemented efficiently and effectively. Commissioning delivers preventive and predictive maintenance plans, tailored operating manuals and training procedures for all users to follow. Essentially the commissioning process formalizes review and integration of all project expectations during planning, design, construction, and occupancy phases by inspection and functional and performance testing, and oversight of operator training and record documentation.
Cobeal's commissioning is based primarily on the commissioning process recommended in ASHRAE Standard 202-2013, The Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems and ASHRAE Guideline 0-2013. It is highly recommended that project teams who employ Cobeal for Commissioning should follow the process outlined in ASHRAE Standard 202-2013. This standard has been adopted by Cobeal and leading industry organizations. It does not focus upon specific systems or assemblies, but rather presents a standard process that can be followed to commission any building.
The primary goal of commissioning any project is to ensure that success for the project is clearly defined in the OPR and that the building performs as intended to fulfill that mission. The definition accurately depicts commissioning as a holistic process that spans from pre-design planning to occupancy and operations at a minimum and should also include ongoing commissioning. Accordingly, the goals of commissioning are to:
Commissioning assists in the delivery of a project that provides an efficient, safe and healthy facility; optimizes energy use; reduces operating costs; ensures adequate O&M staff orientation and training; and improves installed building systems documentation.
Commissioning benefits owners through improved energy effiency, improved workplace performance due to higher quality environments, and prevention of business losses. The cost of not commissioning is equal to the costs associated with correcting deficiencies plus the costs of inefficient operations. For example, in mission critical facilities, the cost of not commissioning can be measured by the cost of downtime and lack of appropriate facility use.
There are many reasons to include commissioning in project design and they vary by owner and by building type. For example, mission critical facilities like data centers need to ensure their building systems will operate with little to no down time. Institutional buildings will operate with less maintenance and greater reliability. Private and public building owners want energy efficient buildings that provide safe and comfortable space for occupants. The main drivers for owners to use commissioning include:
In addition to energy efficiency and overall performance drivers, another factor driving demand for commissioning is the owner's desire to obtain certification through building performance rating systems. These rating systems have been developed to improve the design, construction and performance of energy efficiency and environmental conditions in buildings. A building certified to these rating systems can include highly efficient gas, water, power and lighting systems, solar photovoltaics, and other distributed energy resource technologies.
From an owner's perspective, investment in these and other sophisticated building technologies must be accompanied by rigorous design and construction quality assurance and performance verification measurement, which are provided holistically through the commission process.
Every new project goes through Pre-Design and Design Stages that establishes an owner's needs, goals, scope, and design solutions for a proposed project. Proposed designs and constructed work can only be evaluated against objective criteria and measures that are embodied in a well-documented OPR. Project development is a learning process where building performance decisions are refined to successive levels of detail over the course of a project's life cycle. These decisions should be documented throughout the project and in the OPR.
Creating the Commissioning Plan will answer these questions. Key commissioning activities include:
The purpose of commissioning documentation is to serve as the historical record of the "what, why and how to" of key delivery decisions throughout the planning and delivery process. Commissioning documents the establishment of standards of performance for building systems, and verifies that designed and constructed work meets those standards. Key commissioning deliverables supporting Document Compliance and Acceptance include: