What to Consider

Why hire a Commissioning Provider?

A well-qualified Commissioning Provider brings to a project a depth of troubleshooting and problem solving experience gained from years of work on other, similar projects. Even if the building has an expert in-house building staff, an outside expert can provide a new perspective and help introduce new ideas because he or she has a low investment in doing things the "old way." Commissioning Providers also bring the diagnostic monitoring, testing and analysis expertise needed to uncover hidden problems and select the most cost-effective solutions.

Important questions to ask a potential Commissioning Provider
When looking for quality Commissioning Providers one should ask the following questions:

  • Is commissioning the firm's core business or a primary business component?
  • Are final reports and other sample commissioning documents available for review?
  • Does the firm have a list of references for recent commissioning projects?
  • Does the skill set of the Commissioning Provider or firm match the objectives and scope of the project?
  • Has the firm had commissioning experience in buildings of similar size, function and complexity?

Commissioning Providers and CALGreen
The California Green Building Code, effective January 1, 2010, includes language about who can perform code-compliant commissioning. The Building Standards Commission has produced the Guide to the California Green Building Standards Code - Non-Residential (Commissioning) to provide additional suggestions and definition around selecting a Commissioning Provider.

The selection process

Selecting a Commissioning Provider for a project depends on the needs, complexity, and size of the project. If the project is fairly simple or small, the organization may select the most appropriate consultant for the project without going through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. However if necessary, an RFP process may be used.

As part of the selection process, the organization should provide a list of expected products or deliverables resulting from the project. The number of deliverables depends on the scope of the project.

Possible commissioning deliverables by phase include:

Phase

Deliverable

New Building Commissioning

Existing Building Commissioning

Design/ Planning

Commissioning plan, including a commissioning schedule

x

x

Scoping report

 

x

Updates to the owner's project requirements, basis of design and design narrative documents

x

 

Design review issues log and related memoranda

x

 

Commissioning specifications for inclusion in the bid documents

x

 

Reports of submittal reviews

x

 

Blank construction checklists and functional test forms

x

 

During Construction (NB Cx) / Investigation (EBCx)

Construction phase (testing) issues log and related memoranda

x

 

Completed construction checklists

x

 

Commissioning activity summary reports

x

x

Construction observation issues log and related memoranda

x

 

Master list of findings and potential improvements (decision making tool)

 

x

List of recommended capital improvements for further consideration

 

x

Completed functional test forms, including the results of diagnostic monitoring and trending

x

x

Report of O&M manual review

x

 

Systems manual (if applicable)

x

 

After Construction (NB Cx) / Implementation (EBCx)

An "as operated" sequence of operations (developed either by the Commissioning Provider or the controls contractor)

x

 

Finalized issues log. The issues log usually lists findings from the entire testing process and their resolution.

x

 

Summary report from seasonal testing

x

 

Warranty review of each system

x

 

Final Report (including an Executive Summary combined with most of the above deliverables)

x

 

Final energy saving estimates and calculations

 

x

Service contract review recommendations

 

x

Recommissioning and/or ongoing commissioning schedule

 

x

Report of training completion

x

x

Updated/revised building documentation

x

Throughout

Progress reports and meeting minutes

x

x


If the project is large or complicated, a pre-bid meeting including a site visit may be necessary. This allows the Commissioning Providers who choose to bid on the project a chance to see the facility and ask critical questions about the project. It also tends to "level the playing field" so that each party has the same information when developing their bids.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE TO THE READER: The California Commissioning Collaborative (CCC) is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the performance of buildings and their systems. The material on these pages is provide for informational purposes only, and may not be relied upon as advice or appropriate standards for any specific project. The CCC recommends that users confer with qualified advisers concerning their commissioning projects.