Validation of Building Performance Through Commissioning
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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 requirements.

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 project.


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.

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