Whole Building Systems Commissioning of New Construction
Whole building systems commissioning of new construction is a vital task to ensuring new construction performance meets or exceeds the original performance requirements the owner tasked out to the design team. Whole Building Commissioning is an element of the quality control of a project. Typically performance issues will become apparent if the building systems are challenged under load testing. Many factors affect building system performance, especially seasonality of our weather patterns. Buildings will perform differently during the winter verses the summer. Summers in the South are extremely difficult on the building systems, while winters are the biggest challenges to facilities in northern regions.
Commissioning can draw out an simulate the change of seasons and test the equipment under loads. While the simulation does not exactly replicate the extremes, it does give us a good indication if the systems will perform. The ultimate test is to perform commissioning of systems during both summer and winter peaks. The testing is extended, but the building owner can be assured the building meets or exceeds the design intent.
Commissioning of New Construction is a document intense process. The commissioning agent and building owner will agree on a scope of work for the commissioning and pricing for the services. The project for commissioning can be broken into the following phases:
Commissioning New Construction projects is an intensive process, but offers many benefits. For a commissioned building the utility bills will be lower over the useful life of the building. Additionally maintenance costs for the equipment and building will be lower because commissioning agents can verify the systems were setup correctly from the start. When systems are setup and utilized in their proper manner, there is less wear and tear on the equipment.
In using a commissioning agent, a new construction project can qualify for LEED's points for using enhanced commissioning of the facility systems. In order to qualify for LEEDs points the commissioning agent has to be brought into the project during the design process and perform performance verification on the systems. In addition, the commissioning agent must work directly with the owner.
According to LEEDs the commissioning agent:
Several studies have been completed and have found significant energy savings in commissioned vs. non-commissioned facilities. Commissioning of buildings offers the building owner a payback in the energy costs and maintenance costs for the facility. These savings can payback the cost of the commissioning agent within a matter on months.
One of the bigger savings for owners is the commissioning agent responsibility includes the commissioning agent reviewing the owner's design intent with the basis of design. The commissioning agent can interview the building owner on the Owner's Project Requirements and compare these requirements with the actual basis of design on the drawings and plans from the architects and engineers. The commissioning agent should review the schematic design, design development documents and construction documents. The commissioning should document all issues and maintain an Issues Log and ensures issues are addressed by the responsible party in the team.
Commissioning agents will certainly add owner's value to the project by making sure the owner's requirements are met. Commissioning agents are a building owner's quality control and assurance managers. Without commissioning agents, systems are not challenged and allowed to operate with inefficiencies. Commissioning agents are an additional set of eyes and ears on the entire construction process and commissioned buildings do operate much more efficiently than facilities that are not commissioned.
Digital Air Control has extensive experience in building installations and our experience can significantly impact a new construction installation. Digital Air Control has LEED-AP credential and Energy Management personnel on staff who can add value to any building owner's team. Give Digital Air Control a call or contact us for a quotation on your project.