Building Commissioning is an essential tool for optimizing building performance. The process ensures that all building systems perform interactively according to the contract documents, the design intent and the owner's operational needs. There are several types of commissioning including:
- Building Commissioning
- Retro Commissioning
Building commissioning reduces the risk for new construction to ensure that building systems meet their design intent, operate and interact optimally and provide the owner what is expected. This systematic process typically includes a systemic review of:
- HVAC systems,
- building controls,
- lighting systems,
- electrical systems
- hot and chilled water systems,
- security systems,
- fire protection and fire detection systems, and
- life safety systems
Successful Commissioning results in optimal energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, reduced change orders during construction, extended systems life and reduced operation and maintenance costs, often paying for itself before construction is completed.
Total Building Commissioning
Total building commissioning often includes additional essential buildings systems such as:
- the building's exterior wall systems,
- plumbing systems,
- acoustical systems, and
- roofing systems.
Commissioning these additional systems can reduce moisture penetration, infiltration and noise problems, and contribute to the building's energy and resource efficiency and occupant productivity.
To be most effective, building commissioning begins in the planning phase and continues through design, construction, startup, acceptance, training and the warranty period, and continues throughout a building's life cycle.
Retro-commissioning, or Existing Building Commissioning
The commissioning process can be applied to existing buildings that have never been Commissioned. Without commissioning there is a good possibility that systems are not operating optimally.
Our goal is to tune all building mechanical, electrical, occupant and envelope systems to optimal performance.
Like Commissioning, retro-commissioning is a systematic, documented process that identifies low-cost operational and maintenance improvements in existing buildings and brings the buildings up to the design intentions. Where modifications or operational changes have been made the Commissioning reflects those changes so the changes are optimally incorporated into the building design.
Retro Commissioning focuses on energy-using equipment such as mechanical equipment, lighting and related controls. We strive to optimize existing system performance, rather than replacement. The goal: improved indoor air quality, comfort, controls, energy and resource efficiency.
Retro Commissioning includes an audit of the entire building including a study of past utility bills. We also interview key facility personnel. We perform diagnostic monitoring and functional tests of building systems, which are then analyzed. After adjustments building systems are re-tested and re-monitored to fine-tune improvements.
Building systems can be purchased from different vendors, installed by different contractors and operated by different facilities staff, who are under pressure to resolve occupant complaints about comfort. Quick fixes may resolve an individual complaint, but can lead to other systems becoming out of balance and losing the persistence of benefits from initial building commissioning or retro-commissioning. Additionally, building systems require periodic analysis and adjustment.
The Re-Commissioning process can be customized to satisfy client and facility requirements. Generally it will follow the general Commissioning process with building systems selected as required.
Ongoing commissioning, also referred to as "retro-commissioning follow-up," is continual retro-commissioning focusing on the persistence of completed improvements. Ongoing commissioning involves regularly scheduled sessions with the building occupants along with operation and maintenance personnel. This process incorporates monitoring and analysis of building performance data provided by permanently installed metering equipment to verify building performance, the satisfaction of the facilities management and staff, and the extent of actual savings.
The Ongoing Commissioning process is customized based on client and facility needs.