Buildings today are becoming increasingly more complex than ever before.  Depending on the type of facility and the systems contained within them you can control everything from doors, lights, water heaters, windows, HVAC systems and everything in between.  Advances in the building automation industry have provided increased controllability and reliability.  But how do we know these automation systems are really functioning as intended? System commissioning could be the answer. 

Commissioning is the process of ensuring that all systems and components of a facility are designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained according to the owner’s or final client’s operational requirements. It is a process that requires harmony between the installing contractor of a respective system (electrical, HVAC, etc.), the installing contractor of the automation system, the engineer for the project and potentially a 3rd party commissioning agent.  All of these team members work together to validate the system is installed and operating properly before calling the project complete.

The International Energy Conservation Code (2018 and later) calls for the mechanical systems and water heating systems to be commissioned under section C408.2. There are exceptions to the code requirement such as a system total cooling tonnage under 40 tons.  See below.

Oftentimes, the cost of the system commissioning is not included in the registered design professional’s fee.  Typically, this service is costly and labor intensive as much of the engineer’s time is spent in the field doing inspection, testing and validation of the work installed. Additionally, most authorities having jurisdiction don’t enforce this part of the code.  Additionally, most authorities having jurisdiction don’t enforce this part of the code.  So many projects receive AHJ approval without requesting these documents.

If you have a project in a jurisdiction that has adopted this code or you have a complex project involving integration of multiple systems, talk to your engineer and contracting team to ensure the system commissioning is included in the project.  To ensure the system commissioning occurs and that the right resources are made available, all members of the project will need to provide provisions within their project costs.

If you have a facility that isn’t operating properly or you would like a 3rd party to represent you on your next project, contact us!  We can help get your facility operating properly to reduce your headaches and energy costs for the life of the systems.