The purpose of commissioning (Cx) documentation is to serve as the historical record of the "what, why and how" of key delivery team 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. Commissioning is a team effort to document the continuity of the project as it moves from one project phase to the next. In the planning and development phase of a project, the owner's project requirements (OPR) document is developed. When the entire project delivery process is documented in a consistent manner, an historical perspective is created that explains the iterative process of determining the agreed-to project requirements at each step of the development process. Commissioning documentation becomes the road map for the success criteria to be met by facilities that are put in service. At post-occupancy, commissioning documentation becomes the benchmark to ensure that the building can be maintained.
Document all Levels of Project Development and Acceptance
Requiring documentation of results and findings provides a record of the benefits received from commissioning and should also be used in the future to troubleshoot problems and optimize operating strategies. Decision making is an iterative process taking place over the course of a project through analysis of options, selection of alternatives, refinement of application, and integration of the design components. As each decision is made, commissioning documentation provides the basis for evaluation and acceptance to proceed to the next development level.
Compile Key Commissioning Documentation
Commissioning documentation is generated throughout the project delivery process. Key documentation includes the OPR, Basis of Design (BOD), Cx Plan, and the Final Commissioning Report. Commissioning documentation that will be included in the Final Commissioning Report is normally shown in a table format with responsibilities of individual team members who will prepare, review, and accept the results and documentation. Here is a partial list and descriptions of key commissioning documentation:
An essential element of the commissioning process is construction observation and testing of commissioned systems, assemblies, and features. The CxP coordinates and witnesses commissioned systems verification tests to verify that the systems operate in accordance with the design intent. Deficiencies discovered during verification testing are documented and logged by the CxP.
A draft set of system readiness checklists (SRCs) and verification test procedures (VTPs) is included in the commissioning specification to communicate to the bidding contractor the level of rigor that can be expected during the testing phase of the commissioning process. The SRCs are detailed checklists for documenting that each system is prepared for testing. The VTPs are a detailed set of instructions and acceptable results for thoroughly testing each system.
During functional and performance testing and operator training, the commissioning team moves to the forefront. The team verifies the performance of building systems based on detailed test procedures developed by the commissioning team and determines the most efficient equipment settings. Testing must be performed not only in normal operating modes but also under all possible circumstances and sequences of operation, with real-life conditions simulated as much as possible. Further, integrated systems testing should examine systems as a whole in order to evaluate overall design and compatibility.
The commissioning team also supervises operations staff training on commissioned systems and equipment, and organizes warranty information. Ultimately, the team prepares extensive documentation on commissioned systems, and can include benchmarks for energy use and equipment efficiencies, seasonal operational issues, start-up and shutdown procedures, diagnostic tools, and guidelines for energy accounting.
Documentation Matrix — Table A
|Documentation Phase||Document||Input By||Provided By||Reviewed / Approved By||Used By||Notes|
|Project Initiation and Pre-Design||Owner's Project Requirements||Owner, CxP, O&M, Users, Design Team||Owner, CxP||Owner||CxP, Design Team||Design Team may not be hired yet.|
|Initial Commissioning Plan||Owner, Design Team, CxP||CxP||Owner||CxP, Owner, Design Team, Construction Team|
|Systems Manual Outline||Owner, O&M, CxP||Owner or CxP||Owner||Design Team, Construction Team||May be included in OPR|
|Training Requirements Outline||Owner, O&M, Users, CxP, Design Team||Owner or CxP||Owner||Design Team||May be included in OPR|
|Issues and Resolution Log Format||Owner, or CxP||Owner, CxP, or Design Team||Owner||CxP, Design Team||May be only format at this phase|
|Pre-Design Phase Commissioning Process Report||Owner, CxP||CxP||Owner||Owner, Design Team|
|Design||Owner's Project Requirements Update||Owner, CxP, O&M, Users, Design Team||Owner, CxP||Owner||CxP, Design Team|
|Basis Of Design||Design Team||Design Team||Owner, CxP||Design Team, CxP|
|Construction Specifications for Commissioning||Design Team, CxP, Owner||Design Team aand/or CxP||Owner||Contractors, CxP, Design Team||May also be provided by Project Manager / Owner's Rep.|
|Systems Manual Outline-Expanded||Design Team, CxP, O&M, Contractor||Design Team or CxP||Owner, CxP||Design Team||Contractor may not be hired yet.|
|Training Requirements In Specifications||Owner, O&M, Users, CxP, Design Team||Owner, CxP, Design Team||Owner||Design Team||Contractor may not be hired yet.|
|Design Review Comments||CxP||CxP||Design Team, Owner||Design Team|
|Issues and Resolutions Log||CxP||CxP||N/A||CxP, Design Team|
|Issues Report||CxP||CxP||Owner||Design Team, Owner|
|Design Phase Commissioning Process Report||CxP||CxP||Owner||Owner||Close of Phase report|
|Construction||Owner's Project Requirements Update||Owner, O&M, Users||Owner, CxP||Owner||CxP, Design Team, Contractors|
|Basis of Design Update||Design Team||Design Team||CxP, Owner||Design Team, CxP|
|Commissioning Plan Update||Design Team, CxP, Owner, Contractor||CxP||CxP, Owner, Design Team, Contractor||CxP, Owner, Design Team, Contractors|
|Submittal Review Comments||CxP||Design Team||Design Team||Contractor|
|System Coordination Plans||Contractor, Design Team||Contractor||CxP, Design Team||Contractor, CxP|
|Evaluation||CxP||CxP||CxP, Design Team||Contractor|
|Checklists||Contractor, Design Team||Contractor, Cx Team||CxP||Contractor, Cx Team|
|Evaluation Reports||Contractor||CxP||CxP, Owner||Contractor|
|Test Procedures||CxP, Contractor, Design Team||CxP||CxP, Design Team||Contractor|
|Test Data Reports, Test and Balance Report||Contractor||CxP||CxP, Owner||Contractor|
|Commissioning Meeting Agendas and Minutes||CxP||CxP||All||All|
|Training Plans||Design Team, CxP, O&M, Contractor||Contractor or CxP||Owner, CxP||O&M, Users, Contractor|
|Systems Manual||Design Team, CxP, O&M, Contractor||Contractor||Owner, CxP||O&M, Users|
|Issues and Resolution Log||CxP||CxP||N/A||CxP, Design Team, Contractor|
|Issues Report||CxP||CxP||Owner, Design Team||Design Team, Owner, Contractor|
|Preliminary Construction Commissioning Report||CxP||CxP||Owner||Owner||Prior to Occupancy|
|Occupancy and Operations||Owner's Project Requirements Update||Owner, O&M, Users, Design Team||Owner or CxP||Owner||CxP, Design Team, Contractors|
|Basis of Design Update||Design Team||Design Team||CxP, Owner||Design Team, CxP|
|Maintenance Program||Owner, O&M, Contractor, CxP||Owner or CxP||Owner, CxP||O&M, Users|
|Test Procedures||Contractor, CxP, O&M, Design Team||CxP||Design Team, CxP||Contractor|
|Test Data Reports||Contractor||CxP||CxP, Owner||Contractor, O&M|
|Issues and Resolution Log||CxP||CxP||N/A||CxP, Design Team, Owner, Contractors|
|Issues Report||CxP||CxP||Owner||Design Team, Owner, Contractors|
|Commissioning Report||CxP||CxP||Owner||Owner||Final Report|
|Re-Commissioning Plan||O&M, Users, CxP||CxP or Owner||Owner||Owner|
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling (BIM) based on criteria developed through the National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance and others is a technology that enables accumulation and management of facility life cycle information based on Industry Foundation Classes (IFC). IFC-BIM lets architects, engineers, construction managers, facility operators, and facility managers work with (and store for downstream users) tangible components such as walls and furniture, and also concepts such as activities, spaces, and costs. This would allow CxPs to upload and store all the commissioning documents like the systems manual and final commissioning report for use by the O&M staff. OGC's Geography Markup Language (GML) facilitates interoperability for users of geospatial technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), aerial and satellite imaging, location services, and sensor webs. BIM is a simple concept—a master, intelligent data model, resulting in an as-built database that can be readily handed over to the building operator upon completion of commissioning. The BIM standard could someday integrate CAD data with product specifications, submittals, shop drawings, project records, as-built documentation and operations information, making printed O&M and Systems manuals virtually obsolete. The technology has moved forward, but the industry's ability to absorb these IT advances has yet to change. Clearly, as BIM offers a genuine solution to reduce errors and rework while improving building operations, it will eventually change the way all project team members develop and share information over facility life-cycle phases.
Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie)
COBie is an IFC reference standard supporting the direct software information exchange and a spreadsheet that can be used to capture COBie data for both small renovation and capital projects. COBie may be directly incorporated into existing post-construction data exchanges using existing contract specifications. COBie data can also be captured during the design and construction process by adding information as it is created. Capturing COBie data during the project and eliminating paper exchange is expected to significantly decrease existing paper based exchange costs. Owners and construction managers' implementation instructions will allow COBie data to integrate within existing maintenance, operations, and asset management systems.
- ASHRAE Standard 202-2013: The Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems
- ASHRAE Guideline 0-2013: The Commissioning Process—The Cx process does not relieve the contractor and or A/E of record of any obligation, code, or standard that must be achieved and maintained.
- International Code Council (ICC)
- Procedural Standards for Whole Building Systems Technical Commissioning—National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB)
- AABC Commissioning Group (ACG)—The ACG is a nonprofit association dedicated to the certification and advancement of independent third-party commissioning professionals.
- ASHRAE—A leading organization in the development of standardized commissioning guidelines.
- ASTM International
- Building Commissioning Association (BCA)—A leading professional association for membership and certification of building commissioning practitioners.
- California Commissioning Collaborative
- CSA Group—Z320-11 Building Commissioning Standard.
- Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
- Commissioning Specialist's Association (UK)
- DQI—The Design Quality Indicator, an online survey tool that helps set the project goals and objectives and measures quality against specific outcomes.
- Energy Design Resources; California Public Utilities Commission
- Energy Systems Laboratory—Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
- Green Building Initiative
- Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)
- International Code Council (ICC)—ICC G4-2012 Guideline for Commissioning.
- International Energy Agency's Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (IEA-EBC)
- National Environmental Balance Bureau (NEBB)
- National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)—Total Building Commissioning
- Portland Energy Conservation Incorporated (PECI)
- Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA)
- The University of Minnesota B3 Guidelines Version 2.2 (formerly the Minnesota Sustainable Building Guidelines (MSBG)
- U.S. Green Building Council
- University of Michigan
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- ASHRAE Guideline 1.1: HVAC&R Technical Requirements for The Commissioning Process, 2007.
- ASHRAE Guideline 1.4: Procedures for Preparing Facility Systems Manual, 2014.
- ASHRAE Guideline 1.5: The Commissioning Process for Smoke Management Systems, 2012.
- Commissioning for Federal Facilities by Department of Energy (DOE).
- ICC G4-2012 Guideline for Commissioning by International Code Council (ICC).
- NASA Reliability-Centered Maintenance Guide (RCM) Guide by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
- UFGS 01 91 00.15 Total Building Commissioning by Department of Defense (DoD).