LEED Tips: Start the Commissioning Process at the Beginning of Your Project


US Navy 110506-N-1928O-015 Bob Lipscomb identi...

US Navy 110506-N-1928O-015 Bob Lipscomb identifies locations on a building plan.

One of the things you will want to start early is the commissioning process and identify the Commissioning Authority (Cx) you will use for the project. Starting the commissioning process at the beginning of the project will benefit the project and coincides with the nature of a LEED v4 project.

The more information gathered at the beginning of the project will be helpful. Outline and show the team the client’s requirements and needs. This outline should describe the usage of the building and contain: outline systems, acceptable code required, detailed anticipated occupancy schedule, number of expected occupants, temperature and humidity requirements, control system requirements for lighting and HVAC, energy savings goals,  LEED certification level desired, plumbing fixtures, energy savings goals, project schedules, operations and maintenance requirements, etc.

Starting the commissioning at the beginning of the process is good for the entire project. You need to create a Commissioning Authority (Cx) Plan – this is a document that describes systems to be commissioned, verifying proper installation of products, training on products, schedule of events and staff training requirements, the commission requirements into the Construction Documents (CDs), add commission documentation to the project — it should cover all aspects of commissioning plans. This plan should also include the schedule of events and functional performance test procedures.

Commissioning Authority (Cx) Plan – verify installation of products, training of team members, all team members should be involved in this. Documenting includes putting into drawing. Commissioning includes proper installation of the systems. System verification checklists, training, owners, users, architects, etc. should be involved in this process. Detail contractor expectations covering all the aspects, O&M staff training, plans specs, commissioning specifications to the process, in addition the construction documents should also be included in detail. Everyone should be involved in this document.

Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) — Development and System Design. Commissioning agent, owner and project management team should put the OPR together.

The Cx Plan/Cx Process:

  1. Designate commissioning authority
  2. Establish OPR and BOD
  3. The commissioning authority reviews OPR and BOD
  4. Develop and implement the Commissioning (Cx) Plan
  5. Incorporate requirements into CD
  6. Develop construction checklists
  7. Develop a system test procedure
  8. Verify system test execution
  9. Maintain a log that documents issues and benefits
  10. Complete a summary Cx report

As you study fundamental and enhanced commissioning, think about why these standards are mandatory?

The CxA must be engaged by the end of the Design Development (DD) phase. They need to be a part of the team’s day-to-day process.

You will want to incorporate the commissioning plan, verify performance and then create a commissioning report. By having a commissioning authority in the process early on in the project, you can build a building that meets the owner’s requirements.

All the LEED project team members need to work together to keep the owner’s requirements in mind throughout the entire process. By identifying these important issues and having everyone involved in the execution, the contractor, who is in charge of installation, will help reduce the number of change orders because they will identify any issues beforehand.

The commissioning portion of a LEED project is a “check” – and during the checking process you will probably find out that the commissioning agency saved the project money because they identified the best products for use in the project.

Want to learn more? Check out the GBES Course LEED v4 BD+C Rating System Review — Energy and Atmosphere.

Click on this LEED CE link and click on “Browse Individual Courses” to find the LEED v4 BD+C Rating System Review — Energy and Atmosphere course. 

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