Building Systems Commissioning Approach

From our inception in 1998, FCG has aggressively pursued market transformation and commissioning process development and implementation on the local and national level. FCG has over 710 projects of combined experience in commissioning facilities.  Close teamwork that FCG has fostered over the years allows for a very efficient process, which translates to a better return on the Owner’s investment.

FCG works to form and facilitate a multi-disciplinary commissioning team as our standard approach to successful delivery of independent commissioning services. Combining the assets available from contractors, designers, and owners, and augmenting this expertise with experienced certified commissioning professionals provides a solid foundation for effective commissioning execution. The Commissioning Authority will operate within the performance guidelines set out in the basis of design documents and owner’s project requirements.

FCG maintains a strong commitment to education and instruction as a cornerstone to the success of our organization. Facility Commissioning Group utilizes ACG certified commissioning authorities (CxA’s) and ACG certified commissioning technicians (CxT’s) to execute the commissioning process on our projects.

FCG would implement the criteria of the following resources as the basis for evaluating the overall testing program:

  • AABC National Standards for Total System Balance Seventh Edition – 2016
  • AAMA 101 – 2009: North American Fenestration Standard for Windows, Doors, and Skylights
  • AAMA 501.1-17: Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Windows, Curtain Walls and Doors Using Dynamic Pressure
  • AAMA 501.2-15: Quality Assurance and Diagnostic Water Leakage Field Check of Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems
  • AAMA 502-21: Voluntary Specification for Field Testing Newly Installed Fenestration Products
  • AAMA 503-14: Field Testing of Newly Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems
  • ACG Building Systems Commissioning Guideline – 2022
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 – 2016; Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low Rise Residential Buildings (SI Edition)
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 189.1 – 2014: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings
  • ASHRAE Standard 202 – 2018: Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems
  • ASHRAE Guideline 0 – 2019: The Commissioning Process
  • ASHRAE Guideline 0.2 – 2015: Commissioning Process for Existing Buildings and Assemblies
  • ASHRAE Guideline 1.1 – 2007: HVAC&R Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process
  • ASHRAE Guideline 1.2 – 2019: Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process for Existing HVAC&R Systems and Assemblies
  • ASHRAE Guideline 1.3 – 2018: Building Operation and Maintenance Training for the HVAC&R Commissioning Process
  • ASHRAE Guideline 1.4 – 2014: Procedures for Preparing Facility Systems Manuals
  • ASHRAE 1.5 – 2017: The Commissioning Process for Smoke Control Systems
  • ASHRAE Commissioning Definitions and Terminology for the Building Industry: A Common Overview – 2018
  • ASTM E779-2019 – Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage Rate by Fan Pressurization
  • ASTM C1060-2015 – Standard Practice for Thermographic Inspection of Insulation Installations in Envelope Cavities of Frame Buildings
  • ASTM C1401-14: Standard Guide for Structural Sealant Glazing
  • ASTM E1186-2017 – Standard Practices for Air Leakage Site Detection in Building Envelopes and Air Barrier Systems
  • ASTM E1827-2017 – Standard Test Method for Determining Airtightness of Buildings Using an Orifice Blower Door
  • BCA New Construction Building Commissioning Best Practices –2018
  • BICSI: Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual, 14th Edition
  • ICC G4 – 2018 Guideline for Commissioning
  • ICC International Energy Conservation Code (IeCC) – 2012; Section C408
  • Infrared Training Center Infrared Thermography Certification Program
  • ISO 6781-1983: Thermal Insulation – Qualitative Detection of Thermal Irregularities in Building Envelopes – Infrared Method
  • ISO 10878-2013 Infrared Thermography – Non-Destructive Testing
  • Kentucky Building Code – 2018
  • NECA 90: Commissioning Building Electrical Systems – 2015
  • NETA-ATS: Standard for Acceptance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems – 2017
  • NIBS Whole Building Design Guide – 2022
  • NFPA 70: National Electrical Code – 2017
  • NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code – 2013
  • NFPA 110: Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems – 2019
  • USGBC LEED Reference Guide Version 4

The above noted documents are the primary source references for the training of FCG personnel and would be the primary basis of our evaluation of the overall project-testing program combined with project plans and specifications requirements and contractual obligations.

For proprietary systems we would reference appropriate manufacturer’s information and prevailing industry standards. Our personnel are carefully trained to monitor application of relevant criteria through national standards, client design and installation standards, and proprietary documentation as required.

FCG employs experts from all building science fields and the Cx Provider Group is tailored for each project. Staff will be on site for scheduled commissioning meetings and periodic site visits to conduct necessary interim tests and inspections and at a frequency demonstrated in our Cx Plan. FCG will also be on-site to witness commissioned systems start-ups and training, to implement functional performance tests and during the warranty period service as needed to facilitate remedial work as well as the 10-month walk-thru prior to expiration of the warranty period.

Pre-Design Phase Commissioning and Design Phase Commissioning

FCG reviews design documents to verify and formalize the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) document and to implement the Basis of Design. FCG creates design review comments during the appropriate phases of the project for the design team’s consideration. FCG provides a draft of the commissioning specifications to be contained in the bid documents and hold a commissioning specification review meeting with the Owner and Design Team. FCG also creates a pre-design phase commissioning outline and a design phase commissioning plan outlining the systems to be commissioned and the responsibilities of the respective members in the Commissioning Team.

FCG conducts a back check of the bid package commissioning design review comments to the construction documents for conformance with OPR, design intent and commissioning provisions. Once contract documents for construction have been issued, preconstruction meeting is held and submittal reviews are underway, FCG will update the Construction Phase Commissioning Plan to guide the activities of the Commissioning Team members through the commissioning process.

Construction Phase Commissioning

The Construction Phase Commissioning Plan will include the Commissioning Team and updated construction information obtained from review of Construction Documents, review of submittal data and controls submittals per commissioning scope, data from specific equipment being installed, complete controls sequences of operation, change order work to date, and any approved as-built modifications.  FCG will provide submittal reviews for applicable systems to be commissioned for consideration and action by the Design Team and owner representatives.  Design and submittal review documents will not be included in the Construction Phase Commissioning Plan document placed onsite for contractor execution of the SVC’s, but these submittal reviews are contained in the Commissioning Report delivered to the Owner during the Post-Acceptance Phase of the project.

The Construction Phase Commissioning Plan is presented to the contractor and explained during an onsite Commissioning Kick-Off Meeting where Commissioning Team Members are identified, roles and responsibilities are explained and communication protocols are established.

The Commissioning Plan contains project specific System Verification Checklists (SVC’s) prepared by FCG to be filled out by installing contractors, and manufacturer start-up checklists provided by installing contractors for equipment and systems included in the commissioning scope. System Verification Checklists (SVC’s) ensure that systems have been installed properly, conform to the specifications and are ready for safe start-up. Contractors carry out point-to-point control checks and document their results. The Owner and Design Team review the Commissioning Plan for approval to distribute to all commissioning team members during a Construction Phase Commissioning Kick-Off Meeting led by FCG onsite.

The Commissioning Authority observes installation progress frequently to assess construction compliance with the OPR, specification requirements, and prevailing industry standards. The CxA conducts commissioning meetings in conjunction with regular progress meetings to discuss upcoming commissioning milestones, start-ups, resolution tracking form issues, and tests required for the project. A consistent onsite CxA/CxT presence during construction provides owners, contractors and designers an additional avenue for communicating design intent concerns.

The contractor is responsible for starting equipment and systems in accordance with the project specifications. The Commissioning Authority witness’s start-ups and documents the results using the start-up checklists and provisions in the commissioning plan.

FCG writes and submits Functional Performance Tests (FPT’s) for Commissioning Team review for each system that details the tests to be undertaken to demonstrate correct operation under designed modes of control, specified sequences of operation, and the applicable pass/fail criteria for compliance with the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR).   The Commissioning Authority verifies installation test results reported by the contractors, includes appropriate information in the Commissioning Report.

Acceptance Phase Commissioning

FCG reviews Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Manual submittals. With respect to O&M deliverables, FCG emphasizes the critical importance of accurate O&M Manuals and O&M Training through review of these contractor deliverables. FCG coordinates with the contractors to deliver enhanced training to Owner personnel. FCG verifies that specified training and manuals are provided to the Owner and that training is thoroughly documented and recorded.

The Commissioning Authority (CxA) reviews and verifies the Testing, Adjusting and Balancing (TAB) report detailing the TAB procedures and instruments planned for use on the project. During the course of Functional Performance Testing FCG performs TAB verification sampling to verify the tested values are within 10% of the values on the submitted TAB report.

The contractor is responsible for preparing the O&M documentation and training program for the Owner in accordance with the specification requirements. The CxA organizes and manage the training for the O&M personnel and provide DVD recording for the training sessions. The CxA, Designer, and Owner reviews O&M documents for acceptance. The contractor prepares detailed written and or electronic O&M documents and training materials to supplement verbal presentations and demonstrations, thus providing a permanent resource for Owner’s staff. The CxA develops a spare parts list to verify these extra parts match the products installed, are packed with protective covering and identified with labels describing there contents or as applicable per specification requirements and other applicable extra materials as required.

The CxA is responsible for preparing and submitting the Commissioning Report to the Owner. The Commissioning Report includes the documents noted herein and contains an Executive Summary addressing OPR conformance for all commissioned equipment and systems. The report includes references to system documentation, and is organized and tabulated to facilitate access to specific information. The Owner and Design Team review the Commissioning Report to determine completion of the Commissioning Plan and may use this information to inform their decisions relative to acceptance and closeout procedures for the project. Elements of executing the commissioning process and submitting commissioning documents to adhere to the requirements of project plans, addenda, changes and specifications.

The CxA is responsible for preparing and submitting a systems manual, a training plan and a training manual to the Owner for each commissioned system on this project in conformance with commissioning specification requirements. These manuals provide the Owner, building operating staff and other users the basis for operating and maintaining the  building systems.

Post-Acceptance Phase Commissioning

FCG organizes and administers the necessary seasonal testing required for the equipment on the project. A review of the building operations of tenant spaces is conducted with the occupants and maintenance staff ten months after substantial completion of the project. A plan is provided for resolving outstanding commissioning issues that are still present at the time of the walk-thru.

Scheduling and Sequencing Activities

The sequence and timing of the commissioning activities is incorporated into the construction schedule through close coordination with the prime contractor. The Commissioning Authority identifies the required activities and coordinates with all team members to facilitate the integration of commissioning into the total construction program.

It is important to note that FCG is not directly involved in interactions between the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and the contractor to avoid confusing lines of authority, but the commissioning process is closely involved with preparation for and mitigation of issues resulting from AHJ inspections for systems to be commissioned.

Construction issue resolutions are documented by the Resolution Tracking Form (RTF). The RTF ensures that issues raised during commissioning are documented, addressed, followed up, and kept visible until resolved.