Commissioning in Federal Buildings

You are here

Commissioning is a quality-assurance process used to verify that a building performs according to the original design and intent, and meets the needs of the owners and occupants. The commissioning process also prepares building staff to operate and maintain the building. Federal agencies are required to make sure building systems and equipment are commissioned in new construction and existing buildings. 

Types of Commissioning

Commissioning in New Construction and Major Renovations

This is done to ensure that systems, subsystems, and equipment in new buildings operate properly. It includes performing design reviews, functional testing, system documentation, and operator training throughout the project to make sure the building meets the requirements as intended by each building owner and as designed by the building architects and engineers.

Recommissioning in Existing Buildings

This is done to ensure that systems and equipment in existing buildings meet the original design intent. Recommissioning is used in buildings that were previously commissioned to fine-tune them to meet their original design intents and operational efficiencies. Recommissioning should be considered for new buildings that were commissioned during construction and in which energy needs have increased.

Retro-Commissioning in Existing Buildings

This is done to optimize systems to meet new operational needs through testing and adjusting. Retro-commissioning is used in older buildings that have never been through the commissioning process. Retro-commissioning should be considered if building systems are old, expensive to operate, and have frequent equipment failures.

Continuous Commissioning in Existing Buildings

This ongoing process is designed to resolve operating problems, improve comfort, optimize energy use, and identify retrofits for existing buildings. Although it is ideal for large complex buildings with automation and advanced metering systems, continuous commissioning is the most costly approach for existing buildings because of staff and equipment allocations. However, the process can identify equipment inefficiencies as they occur and allow for quick remediation and greater energy and cost savings.

What Type of Commissioning Should I Use?

Consider:If Your Building Is:This Type of Commissioning Is Ideal For:
CommissioningNew construction or undergoing major renovationMaking sure new buildings meet all their intended design and operational intents
RecommissioningRelatively new and was commissioned during constructionBuildings that need to be fine-tuned to meet increasing energy needs or return to their original design operational intents
Retro-CommissioningOld and expensive to operate and experiencing frequent equipment failuresOlder buildings that were never commissioned
Continuous CommissioningLarge and complex and has high energy use and frequent tenant complaintsBuildings with metering systems and preventive maintenance programs

Key Resources

The Re-tuning Challenge provides select federal agencies with the opportunity to enhance their energy management programs.

Guide describes building commissioning, recommissioning, retrocommissioning, and continuous commissioning for federal facilities.

The commissioning process for federal facilities can be completed in four steps: planning, investigation, implementation, and hand-off and integrat...