Viewpoint: Validation of Building Performance Through Commissioning
Designers provide building designs to
meet a range of performance requirements. However, once the building is
constructed and occupied, there are usually no efforts put in place to
validate whether or not the building has met those performance
Building commissioning would provide a
new set of documentation that would go a long way towards validating
those performance requirements. The owner's project requirements would
document the range of performance requirements for the building. The
basis of design would document the design decisions, including system
selection, that was made in order for the building to perform to owner
expectations. The commissioning process incorporates actual testing and
verification requirements during construction and post occupancy to
validate that the building is performing as expected.
The commissioning process is a
quality-oriented process for achieving, verifying and documenting that
the performance of facilities, systems and assemblies meets defined
objectives and criteria. The commissioning process assumes that owners,
programmers, designers, contractors, and operations and maintenance
entities are fully accountable for the quality of their work. The
commissioning team uses methods and tools to verify that the project is
achieving the owner's project requirements throughout the delivery of
The commissioning process begins at project inception (during
the predesign phase) and continues for the life of the facility (
through the occupancy and operations phase). The commissioning process
includes specific tasks to be conducted during each phase in order to
verify and validate that design, construction and training meet the
owner's project requirements.
The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) has recently developed NIBS Guideline 3-2006: Exterior Enclosure Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process.
This Guideline is developed for use with ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005: The Commissioning Process. NIBS and ASHRAE have worked together since 2004 to develop a Total Building Commissioning Process. ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005 was
published to address the overall quality-based commissioning process
without reference to a specific discipline or building system. ASHRAE Guideline 1- 2006: HVAC& R Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process is presently under development and is due for industry review in 2006.
This Guideline endeavors to provide an
holistic, technically sound and verifiable approach to the enclosure
commissioning process that is both respectful of the contractual
obligations between owners, design professionals and contractors, and
mindful of the collective obligation of those parties to ensure that the
project is achieving the owner's project requirements throughout the
delivery of the project.