What is commissioning?
People involved in construction projects often ask us this. The short answer is that commissioning is a support process for testing technical installations.
The purpose of commissioning is to ensure that the developer's/owners/clients requirements for the building are met.
There are many ways to handle commissioning, but we believe that it should be a practical process that benefits everyone in a construction project!
Quality, Documentation, and Testing
The commissioning process is a quality assurance process that verifies and documents that a building meets the clients requirements.
The process starts at the very beginning of a construction project, and it extends through the project and into the operation of the building.
The commissioning process verifies that all interfaces have been addressed and technical installations are functioning correctly. It also optimises the collaboration between the parties involved in a construction project.
Commissioning: the owners process
The Cx process is often referred to as the "owner's process". This makes sense, since the owner is the one who pays for the commissioning process.
However, we have seen a shift in this area in recent years, with multiple turnkey contractors, including MT Højgaard, establishing their own commissioning divisions.
That said, what the commissioning process actually includes is ultimately up to the owner, since the owners's commissioning requirements (OPR) are the foundation of the process. Consequently, the owner must list the requirements (OPR) to be verified during the commissioning process.
Often the the Owners Project Requirements includes:
- Indoor climate requirements (temperature, humidity, CO2, etc.)
- Energy consumption for technical installations
- Sustainability requirements; e.g., from DGNB and LEED
- Operations and maintenance requirements
Commissioning benefits owners and contractors alike
Commissioning should be of value to everyone involved in a project, but especially the consultant and contractor, since both have responsibilities and deliverables associated with the Cx process.
Fewer defects and omissions in the building at handover time
Operating documentation is ready and the building is safe
All parties document that they have delivered what was agreed
Defects and unrealistic requirements are identified and resolved during the design phase
When a project implements commissioning, faults and issues in project materials are discovered much earlier through cross-disciplinary operational reviews.
When errors and obstacles are identified earlier in a project, they are easier to resolve and handle.
The commissioning process has been shown to reduce defects at handover time and minimise energy consumption in operating buildings.
What does commissioning mean for you?
That depends entirely on your role in the project and the Cx specifications.
The Cx specifications describe the commissioning activities and services to be performed.
For starters, it's not enough to simply reference ASHRAE or other standards. That does not describe the scope.
At CxPlanner, we've developed lots of templates and sample Cx specifications, and we'd be happy to share them with you.
A Cx-specifications should include::
- A list of phases which contain Cx activities
- A specific list of the systems and facilities involved
- The number of included tests and retests
- Testing scopes and counts
Wording: Commissioning or Cx?
The word "commissioning" is often abbreviated to "Cx". For example, "commissioning plan" may be shortened to "Cx plan".
The use of "Cx" is inspired by the pharmaceutical industry, which uses the letter X similarly. "Cx" is used both in Denmark and internationally.
Additionally, the word "commissioning" is often misspelt in project materials (e.g., "comissioning" or "commisioning"), so many people avoid the issue by writing "Cx".
Read more about Cx in the industry
Below, we've gathered some important links with information about commissioning:
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