Adopting a comprehensive commissioning process

Owners occasionally ask commissioning providers to determine the appropriate level of commissioning for their project. Perhaps they have had little experience with commissioning and are confused by various code or LEED® requirements. They may have employed commissioning on previous projects, with varying levels of success. Or, they may be trying to align their project budget with a specific level of effort for commissioning services.

Regardless of their intent, it is important that the purpose and value of commissioning and the implications of accepting a reduced scope of Cx services are understood.

  1. Commissioning is a process and should be recognized as part of the owner’s risk management and quality control strategy. While the generally accepted standard is ASHRAE’s Guideline 0 (Standard 202-2013), other guidelines and best practices also stress the importance of the Cx authority’s participation throughout the project’s design, construction, acceptance and turnover activities. Restricting the authority’s participation to systems testing limits the benefits received from commissioning.
  2. To date, much of commissioning’s focus has been on energy-consuming systems (HVAC, lighting and water heating). However, whole building commissioning is a critical component in achieving energy-reduction targets and sustainability goals. Building envelope commissioning has gained wide acceptance, and many owners recognize the need for commissioning various process systems, especially in mission-critical facilities.
  3. One area of flexibility for the Cx authority is the sampling rate applied to testing similar systems. Depending on the complexity of the systems and their controls, coupled with the criticality of the facility’s operations, sampling rates may be used for functional testing of repetitive systems. Judiciously selecting sampling rates may deliver savings while not compromising the Cx process.
  4. Once the commissioning process is complete, the facility staff’s focus is to maintain efficiently performing systems. The Cx authority can play a key role in reviewing operations and maintenance documentation, developing systems manuals, overseeing training and developing ongoing Cx strategies.

Data shows that owners obtain the greatest benefit from early engagement of a Cx authority, integrating the authority with the project team throughout the facility’s design, construction and turnover activities.

For further information regarding Hanson’s commissioning process and services, please contact Tim Schroeder at or Robert Knoedler at

Posted on August 08, 2016