Commissioning (Cx) is the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested, and capable of being operated and maintained as the Owner intended. Modern building systems are very complex, and current building practices often result in a scenario where multiple architecture and engineering firms are responsible for designing the building, a separate construction manager is hired to oversee potentially dozens of sub-contractors who are narrowly focused on their assigned systems. HVAC, lighting, and plumbing are often installed by separate companies, and a separate company from all of those is then hired to integrate the controls running each of these systems. This fragmented process can lead to poor communications, faulty equipment, wasted energy, uncomfortable spaces and high operating costs.
When WBS is hired to provide commissioning on a project, we are one company that is party responsible for verifying that all of these pieces work together and that the Owner is provided with a high performing project from day one. We have created a streamlined suite of services and processes designed to overcome common issues in major design and construction projects:
Fundamental commissioning is a requirement of LEED and many state and local codes for new construction and renovation projects. WBS represents the building owner in a quality control and testing process that ensures building mechanical (HVAC), electrical, and plumbing systems are properly designed, installed, and operated. Activities for this service include developing a commissioning plan, convening team coordination meetings, developing and reviewing pre-functional testing checklists and functional performance testing documentation, overseeing air and water Testing and Balancing (TAB) and system start-up and writing the final commissioning plan.
Enhanced commissioning includes all the steps of fundamental commissioning and additionally includes design reviews, submittal reviews, witnessing owner training, compiling systems manuals, and completing a site visit 10 months after construction to ensure the systems maintain performance after the building's opening day. While not required by LEED--though it does provided additional points towards certification--the value of these activities typically greatly outweighs the costs, and WBS strongly recommends pursuing both fundamental and enhanced commissioning on any capital project.
Retro-commissioning is the process of commissioning an existing building that has never been commissioned before. There are many reasons to retro-commission a building including high energy bills, poor air quality, occupant discomfort and equipment malfunctions. The process is very similar to commissioning a newly constructed building and includes developing a commissioning plan, convening team coordination meetings, developing the pre-functional checklists and functional performance testing documentation, overseeing air-system testing and balancing (TAB) and equipment start-up, compiling systems manuals and writing the final commissioning report.
WBS starts by working with building maintenance and operations staff to understand how the building is currently functioning and ends by providing recommendations for improvements that may lead to increased energy efficiency, air quality, and occupant comfort. If some capital renovations are planned, building owners also have the option of WBS completing design review prior to construction and/or post-construction site visits.
Often referred to as "automated fault detection", "remote monitoring", or "continuous commissioning", this term refers to a process in which software or staff are continuously monitoring the building automation system (BAS) and provides notifications whenever systems start to drift from their expected performance levels. Let WBS become your energy saving partner. We can remotely monitor your building’s energy performance and provide monthly performance reports. We will also alert you if there is a situation that suggests a system or systems is not functioning properly. These systems work best when coupled with traditional commissioning or retro-commissioning processes described above to ensure the building is starting at peak performance.
Typical facility commissioning processes are limited to energy consuming systems such as HVAC, lighting, and plumbing equipment, however the the performance of the building envelope (i.e. exterior walls, ceilings, windows, and doors) contributes significantly to the performance of those energy systems. As a result, we have developed a service that adds verification for these exterior building elements to our fundamental, enhanced, and retro-commissioning processes.