building [commissioning]

Commissioning is a systematic process to ensure that the owner gets a building that meets their needs and that functions to the best of its ability.  Commissioning is a broad topic that means different things to different people, but can be split into two areas of discussion: Systems and Involvement.


Any systems can be commissioned but the question I would ask the owner is what is the value they expect to get from adding the additional scope and fees to the project.  Two of the biggest problem areas in new construction are typically the HVAC system and then the building envelope.  Other systems such as electrical and plumbing may be important and of course they are partially identified by LEED as systems required to be commissioned, but they typically don't have that much impact in the final day-to-day operations of the building.


The other component is when you are to get involved.  Just at the end of construction? In the design phase?  Will you be at the eleven month walk-through?  All these are important questions to answer when developing the scope for the commissioning authority and if you are using the LEED rating system these are probably spelled out pretty good.


Commissioning or as it is commonly abbreviated, Cx, is performed by either a commissioning authority (CxA), a commissioning team, or a commissioning process manager and a team of commissioning authorities.  This number of people involved all depend on the project size, scope, and the expertise of the team.  The term commissioning "agent" is sometimes thrown around instead of "authority", but I have heard that the commissioning "agent" tag should not be used because of legal interpretations of the word "agent".