Why Commissioning Has To Be Carried Out Construction Essay

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The goal of every client is to get a completed project according to the right amount, hes or her specifications (quality), and at the right time, while the contractors motive is to produce the building according to clients specific needs, agreed time, and agreed price based on the signed contract document. Failing to deliver by the contractor on the agreed time and with the agreed specification will be a disaster to the contractor he has to bear the consequences, for the client to know if his building has posses all the his needs it has to undergo what is called testing and commissioning.

Commissioning can be as a well planned, documented, and managed engineering approach to the start-up and turnover of facilities, systems, and equipment to the end-user that results in a safe, sound and functional environment that meets design speciation and the client's expectations it also involves the training of the owners maintenance personnel to ensure the continual use of energy and water as initially designed (Blackburn, 2012). (Ye and Rahman, 2011) explained Commissioning as systematic process of ensuring that all building facility, systems perform interactively in accordance with the design specification and clients needs. The above definitions coveys same massage, Commissioning begins with planning, from the start of the design, construction, acceptance and training of the maintainers, it is applied throughout the life of the building. According to an inspection manager, commissioning includes installing the equipment, checking the equipment if it is in good condition, making sure everything comply and is in accordance with specifications.

Why commissioning has to be carried out?

Commissioning is very important; it has a big role in the general performance of the building.

The sole goal of the commissioning process is to obtain the Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC). As stated in Standard Form of Contract P.W.D Form 203A (Rev. 2007), Clause 39.3, within 14 days of receipt of such notice, the Superintending Officer (S.O.) shall carry out testing/inspection of the works. Pursuant to such testing/inspection, the S.O. shall:

a) Issue the Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC) to the Contractor if in his opinion the whole works have reached Practical Completion and have satisfactorily passed any test/inspection carried out by the S.O. The date of such completion shall be certified by the S.O. and such date shall be the date of the commencement of the Defects Liability Period as provided in Clause 48 hereof; or

b) Give instruction to the Contractor specifying all defective works which are required to be completed by the contractor before the issuance of the Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC).

If the S.O. has given instruction pursuant to Clause 39.3(b), no Certificate of Practical Completion (CPC) shall be issued to the Contractor until the Contractor has effectively carried out the remedial work within reasonable period to the satisfaction of the S.O. Building commissioning during project handing over is important as the issuance of the Certificate of Practical Completion also fixes the date for the release of the first moiety of the retention to the contractor. Therefore, any failure of the contractor to carry out the aforementioned work satisfactorily will eventually lead to delay in the project completion.

Studies show 8-20 percent saving are achieved in commission building operating cost over those of non commission building (Confreth, 2011). According to (Administration, 1998) building commissioning and testing is the most important way to know the quality of the building in different ways; it is the systematical way of achieving the buildings mechanical, electrical and control.

Testing and commissioning processes

Testing and commission process involves a series of processes, it is not carried out at a time, it is started from the preconstruction phase of the project down to the occupancy of that particular project.

The goal of a good building commissioning plan is to:

Create a procedure that will prove and show documentation that the performance of the building and its individual systems meet the owner's requirements:

Meets occupancy needs

Meets actual comfort requirements during and partial loads hours

Optimized energy efficiency within the designed operation of the building

The indoor air quality is in accordance with ASHRAE requirements.

Operations and maintenance documentation is complete

Operators training is completed

Confirm and report that building system performance meets design specification:

During all seasons

During peak and partial load

integrated system operation criteria

Enhance communication by documenting all relevant data and decisions during the entire project and acutely identifying:

Client's needs and specifications.

Design purpose documentations.

Procedure for verification of system performance testing

Decisions imparting deign

All relevant fees and permits

Reports of construction inspection

Completed functional performance test

Balance and test reports

Scheduling conflicts and resolutions

Status and progress reports

Operational information

Completed pre functional performance test

Completed functional performance tests.

Commissioning process is falls into five different phases as shown in figure 1.0 below, it begins with the program phase, design phase these two falls under pre construction time, while construction phase is during construction time, acceptance and post acceptance phase are carried out after the construction is done. Below is the overview of the commissioning process

Fig.1 five phases of commissioning process










The Program Phase is a preconstruction phase of project commissioning, the planning phase it is the bedrock of the project it lays the foundation for all other phases and defines the scope of the project based on the agency's requirements and future expectations of the building. During this Phase, the operational, energy, and occupant requirements for the finished building are defined; construction budgets are planned; and a project management plan is developed. Attention is placed on documenting the function of the facility, identifying building occupancy requirements, and developing a budget that incorporates life-cycle cost-effective energy efficiency components (Administration, 1998).

At this point, Construction Manager, Architect/Engineer (A/E) firm and the Commissioning Authority area appointed. As part of the project management plan, the roles and responsibilities of all that are involve in the commissioning process i.e. the Construction Manager, A/E firm, the Commissioning Authority, members of the design team, and contractors must be defined for the commissioning process. It is very important that the lines of communication are established at the very beginning, and that all team members understand what is expected from them, and the decisions that must be made to attain the target goal (Administration, 1998).

The most crucial documents generated during this phase are the project management plan prepared by the Construction Manager, initial statement of design intent prepared by the A/E firm, and a preliminary Commissioning Plan prepared by the Commissioning Authority. These documents establish the guidance for building construction and form the basis by which the project will be considered as a success (Administration, 1998).


Design phase is also a pre construction phase, during this period, the design of the building (including all systems and components) is completed. The Commissioning Authority reviews the design to ensure that it is in compliance with the design ambition. Contract and Specifications documents are then prepared. In addition to these documents, the commissioning process requires that all changes to the initial design ambition be put on paper, reviewed, and approved by the Commissioning Authority and owner (client) of the project (Blackburn, 2012) (Administration, 1998).

The Commissioning Plan and commissioning specifications are also completed in this phase. The Commissioning Plan details each Commissioning Team member's roles and responsibilities, procedures for verification of functional performance testing, project organization, staffing and commissioning schedule. The Commissioning Plan is used to develop commissioning specifications that become part of the contract documents.

The commissioning specifications detail the commissioning process and the scope of work for all participants including contractors and vendors. The specifications also identify the skills and qualifications required of all members of the commissioning team. They should include clear descriptions of the extent by which each and every system and component will be tested and what the performance standards will be (Blackburn, 2012).


This commissioning process occurs while the construction of the building is in progress During the Construction Phase, the building envelope is constructed; utility services are set up; and all systems and components are installed, undergo testing, and begin operation. Pre-functional performance testing is performed for all systems and components, and upon successful completion, they are certified ready for commissioning. All responsibilities and schedules for functional performance testing are determined. Operation & Maintenance information, including warranties, is obtained for all components and equipment. Field inspections are regularly undertaken to ensure that the construction complies with the building plans. The Commissioning Plan is then modified to reflect all alterations that are made to components and components during construction (2007).


This phase is carried out during the post construction time, During the Acceptance Phase; functional performance testing is carried out to verify that performance of all integrated systems meets the actual objectives listed in the design ambition. Because total building performance relies on function of the integrated performance of all components and systems, functional performance testing ensures that equipment and systems are installed correctly, tested, and adjusted so that they function at maximum efficiency according to the specifications both individually and cooperatively. This testing is carried out in order to document the completion and performance of all components, equipment and systems. All systems should be tested and calibrated before the functional performance test; the contractor may be responsible financially for any retesting necessary due to failed functional performance tests during the commissioning process (Administration, 1998).

In addition to a complete and functioning building, building system operation & maintenance documentation submitted by contractors is reviewed and approved by the Commissioning Authority. Also, all documentation developed during the commissioning process must also be assembled by the Commissioning Authority. Additionally, the facility maintenance staff of the owner (client) is trained on all operation &maintenance procedures by the systems and equipments suppliers and others, as required by the Commissioning Authority (Administration, 1998).


The actions of the post-Acceptance Phase is the final phase of construction commissioning process, it is intended to respond to the dynamic changes that occur in a building over a period of time through the normal use and operation of a building. As an extension of the Acceptance Phase, if any components, equipment, or systems could not be sufficiently tested to validate seasonal operation during the acceptance phase, functional performance testing should be continued for each seasonal variation. Documentation of any changes in use, equipment, occupancy over time, and user feedback begins. In addition, a program of periodic indoor environmental and energy performance testing is established.

GSA requires that a post-occupancy review occur after two years of occupancy to ensure that the building is operating as defined in the design document. This verification should be based on appropriate testing and operator and tenant interviews. The basis for assuring compliance with the design intent cannot be established by a simple building acceptance walk-through, but should be dependent on the equipment test results (Administration, 1998).


Defining commissioning team

Owners (clients) or owners representative.

Commissioning authority.

Main contractor and sub contractors (suppliers).

Commissioning specialist.

Construction manager.

Design Team i.e. architect/design engineers (A/E).

Operation & maintenance personnel (O&M)


Each and every member of the commissioning team plays a role, each and every of the team have their own responsibility, but they share some similar responsibilities which is: all are required to follow and work in accordance with eh commission plan and all are required to attend the initial commission meeting as necessary. Apart from that they are have different responsibilities which are as follows below.

Owner of the project

The client is the owner of the project, he defines everything he wants for his project, he is the person who finances the project, and he may be represented by someone. Below are his/her responsibilities

The owner establishes operational requirement and commissioning objectives

The owner is responsible to define commissioning team.

The owner establishes the construction budget.

The owner also determines the role of operation & maintenance staff in the commissioning process.

Commissioning authority

Commissioning Authority is the leader of the building commissioning team and is responsible for planning, organizing, and facilitating the completion of the commissioning process on behalf of the owner of the building, they have knowledge and experience on construction.

The commissioning authority is responsible for submitting progress report to the agency.

Commissioning authority is responsible for preparing the commissioning plan, test plans, and final report.

Commissioning authority is responsible for coordinating the commissioning team and work schedule.

Commission authority is responsible reviewing submittals and operation & maintenance manuals for completeness as related to the commissioning plan.

Main contractor

Main contractor is the person employed by the client to carry out certain project, while the sub contractor or the suppliers are the people employed by the main contractor to carry out or supply some special services in order to complete the project.

The main contractor has to make sure all the sub constrictors execute all their commissioning responsibilities in accordance with contract schedule and documents.

The main contractor is responsible for the training of the owners operation and maintenance personnel.

The main contractor has to make assistance during equipment testing.

The main contractor is responsible to provide any information requested by the commissioning authority

Commissioning specialist.

Commissioning specialist is a person employed by the clients to handle all

The commissioning specialist directs the commissioning process, and gives final recommendations to the owner of the project in regards to the performance of commissioned building systems and equipments.

The commissioning specialist is responsible to validate that comprehensive pre commissioning and commissioning is performed for all the building's energy related systems.

The commission specialist is also responsible to validate the installation of systems that will undergo commissioning.

He or she is responsible to incorporate commissioning requirements into the tender document.

Construction manager.

Construction manger is the person who co-ordinate the overall planning of a project from the inception to the completion of the project with the goal of meeting clients requirement on time and within the agreed cost, below are some of construction mangers responsibilities during commissioning process.

The construction manager is responsible to provide technical, management, and administrative expertise during the design and construction phase to ensure the owners goal in relationship to time, quality and budget.

The construction manager is responsible in proving managerial expertise by monitoring the performance of the contractors, overseeing the financial accounts and schedules.

The construction manager is responsible in coordinating authority development of the commission plan.

The construction manager is also responsible in proving administrative assistance to the client's project team and commissioning authority.

Design team i.e. architect/design engineers

The design team are group of professionals usually architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and structural engineer. They work together in order to achieve the goal of the owner of the project. They have their own responsibilities in commissioning process which are as follows below.

They are responsible for ensuring that operation and maintenance manuals are prepared as specified for each building system.

They are also responsible for ensuring that the all facilities and systems meet all required codes.

They are responsible for ensuring that the building's interior design meets indoor air quality concerns and that the comfort of the occupants is solved.

They are responsible for reviewing the Commissioning Authority's commissioning and test plans when requested by the Commissioning Authority any time.

Operation and maintenance (O&M)

Maintenance and operations personnel are people who are in charge or support the maintenance and operation of the system and components in the building, they also have their own responsibilities which are as follows below.

Operation and maintenance personnel are responsible to define the operation and maintenance requirements of the building.

They are responsible to participate in the review for operation and maintenance impacts.

They are also responsible to define the training program requirements.

They are also responsible to attend the contractor and supplier training sessions.