What is Equipment Commissioning?


Equipment commissioning is the process of ensuring that all systems and components of a building are designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained according to the operational requirements of the owner and tenants. A commissioning process may be applied not only to new projects but also to existing units and systems subject to expansion, renovation or revamping.

The four types are commissioning, retro-commissioning, re-commissioning, and continuous commissioning.

Why it Matters

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Traditional Commissioning

Commissioning, retro-commissioning, and re-commissioning are capital and labor-intensive processes that require the engagement of a multitude of personnel including:

  • Commissioning Provider (CX Agent)
  • Owner's Representative (PM)
  • Architect and Design Engineers (A/E)
  • General Contractor (GC)
  • Mechanical Sub-contractor (MC)
  • Electrical Sub-contractor (MC)
  • Specialty Sub-contractors (Controls, TAB, Security, Elevator, etc.)
  • Operations and Maintenance Staff
  • Equipment Suppliers

The process and activities depend on the stage of phase of the equipment:

  • Design Phase - Design intent, CX plan, specifications, review submittals, prepare checklists and testing plans
  • Construction Phase - Verify installation, start-up and component testing
  • Acceptance Phase - Functional testing, resolve deficiencies, review O&M
  • Warranty Phase - Diagnostic monitoring, CX report, O&M staff training, seasonal testing

Continuous Commissioning

On the other hand, continuous commissioning leverages sensors and software to achieve the same results for a fraction of the cost, and on an ongoing basis. The moment after a traditional commissioning process, equipment performance will inevitably drift over time. These changes in how the equipment operates leads to wasted energy, suboptimal output, and a higher likelihood of malfunction over time.

Though retrocommissioning has gained some traction, more landlords are opting to utilize continuous commissioning inform capital investment decisions. This process allows building operators to make adjustments the moment an issue occurs, or when performance drops below a defined threshold.