RCM Exchange

Building Commissioning

Commissioning is a systematic process that ensures that all building systems perform according to the documented design intent and the owners’ operational needs. Each system is evaluated to ensure it works as intended, alone and in concert with related systems. Commissioning begins in the design phase, lasts at least one year after project closeout, and includes training for the operating staff so they can keep the systems in good operating condition.

Proper training and other commissioning efforts are often minimized or eliminated to save construction costs or time. But that short-term thinking does not pay off; a building that is properly commissioned will experience fewer service callbacks, greater long-term tenant satisfaction, lower energy bills, avoided equipment replacement costs, and an improved profit margin for building owners.

Commissioning occasionally is confused with testing, adjusting, and balancing (TAB), which measures building air and water flows. Commissioning encompasses a much broader scope of work. It involves functional testing to determine how well mechanical and electrical systems work together. Functional tests of equipment and systems also help determine if the equipment meets operational goals.

As the RCM, you may be involved in the commissioning of a new building. This Commissioning Checklist includes items that impact energy and water use.