The general purpose of a commissioning plan is to give direction for the entire construction process. It basically acts as a road map for entire construction team. It lays out roles and responsibilities of individuals and teams, includes lines of communication and reporting, provides a resolution process for issues, and provides overall coordination.
Included in a commissioning plan are:
● General Building Information. This section of the commissioning plan lays out the basic information detailing the project, including the project name, address, building type, building description, owner agency, and scheduled completion date.
● The Commissioning Scope. This section of the plan will document the official equipment checks for the building project. These systems will need to be commissioned in any general construction project: HVAC system, electrical system, and any other systems and equipment.
● Commissioning Team Information. The plan will include documentation of every person and company involved in the construction process. Information includes: the owner, project manager, commissioning provider, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, general contractor, etc.
● Project Schedule. This section includes the entire project schedule, from initial design to the final commissioning report.
● Roles and Responsibilities. This section of the plan will lay out each of the roles of the teams and their descriptions. This will include every role listed in the Team Information section, followed by a detailed description of each team’s role and how that role in the construction project.
● General Management Plan and Protocols. Every project needs specified protocols for handling various situations, because protocols ensure the project runs more smoothly. For example, this section of the commissioning plan will include the protocol for requesting information (RFI) or for requesting formal documentation during the construction process.
The Commissioning Process
1. The initial scope meeting. All members of the design, construction, and operations teams will come together to agree upon the scope of work required, tasks, schedules, and responsibilities for the implementation of the commissioning plan.
2. Finalize the plan. The agent will finalize the commissioning plan draft using the information gathered from the scope meeting. The timeline is also fine-tuned in this step as the construction progresses.
3. Design intent documentation. All design requirements for the building system must be documented to establish a baseline of performance expectations. These expectations will then need to align with the actual performance of the systems once they’re actually installed.
4. Submittals. The commissioning agent will be provided with the equipment and system submittals by the general contractor. The submittal data includes the installation and startup procedures, performance data, temperature control drawings, and more.
5. Site observation. The official commissioning agent needs to make regular site visits to witness equipment and system installations to ensure everything is running according to the plan.
6. Prefunctional checklists and procedures. Initial inspection checklists are developed and filled out for all mechanical equipment being commissioned. This is to ensure the systems are complete and operating.
7. Execution of testing procedures. At this step, the commissioning agent will schedule functional tests through the general contractor and subcontractors. When it’s time to run performance tests, the commissioning agent will need to witness and record these test outcomes.
8. Short-term diagnostic monitoring. For a two-to-three week period, the commissioner will monitor diagnostic tests to ensure all systems are performing under natural occupancy.
9. Operations manuals and training. Operation and maintenance manuals are prepared by the contractors and are then used to train the owner personnel and occupants if necessary.
10. Warranty period. The building’s mechanical systems may experience variations in performance during different seasons. Therefore, they may be required additional testing during peak heating and cooling seasons. If any issues arise, the general contractor’s warranty team will troubleshoot during the warranty period.
11. Commissioning report. The final commissioning report will summarize all tasks, findings, and include any documentation from the commissioning process.
The objective of the commissioning process in a new building project is to ensure all building systems perform optimally, according to their design intent and the building owner’s requirements. Laying out a project’s plan is the necessary step to help make for a seamless construction process.