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Building Commissioning

Building commissioning is a systematic process of ensuring that building systems are designed, installed, functionally tested, and capable of being operated and maintained according to the owner's operational needs.

The objective of commissioning is to provide documented confirmation that a facility fulfills the functional and performance requirements of the building owner, occupants, and operators.

To reach this goal, it is necessary for the commissioning process to establish and document the owner's criteria for system function, performance, and maintainability; and also to verify and document compliance with these criteria throughout design, construction, start-up, and the initial period of operation at least through the warranty period.

In addition, complete operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals, as well as training on system operation, should be provided to the building operators as part of the commissioning process.

Commissioning should be accomplished by a qualified commissioning agent under contract to the owner independent from the design and construction contracts. Commissioning may be done by the engineering firm responsible for the project design, or by an independent commissioning agent. The commissioning agent should become involved early in the design process, and should continue through at least one year after occupancy of the facility.

In general, the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and controls, lighting controls, and life safety systems should be commissioned. Other systems such as plumbing, data and communications, security, emergency power, and elevators may also be included in the commissioning plan.

The cost of commissioning is generally less than $1 per square foot of building space. The savings far outweigh the cost.

Benefits of commissioning include

  • Better building documentation
  • Early detection of potential problems
  • Healthy and comfortable environment
  • Lower utility bills and operating costs
  • Precise tune-up of systems and controls
  • Shortened occupancy transition period
  • Trained building operators

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711