Building Commissioning Philosophy
Total Building Commissioning
To assure a high standard of
excellence, GSA utilizes a Total
Building Commissioning Process.
Total Building Commissioning is the
Public Buildings Service’s (PBS)
process for quality assurance in
new construction and facility
modernization. It is the process
for achieving, validating and
documenting that the performance
of the total building and its
systems meet the design intent and
requirements of the owner.
GSA is responsible for meeting the space requirements of federal agencies. To ensure a high standard of excellence for the American public, GSA utilizes a Total Building Commissioning Process. Total Building Commissioning is the Public Buildings Service’s (PBS) process for quality delivery in new construction and facility modernization. It is the process for achieving, validating and documenting that the performance of the total building and its systems meet the design intent and requirements of the owner.
Defining Commissioning for GSA Buildings
The National Conference on Building Commissioning has established an official definition of ‘Total Building Commissioning’ as follows:
“Systematic process of assuring by verification and documentation, from the design phase to a minimum of one year after construction, that all facility systems perform interactively in accordance with the design documentation and intent, and in accordance with the owner’s operational needs, including preparation of operation personnel”
Historically, the term “commissioning” has referred to the process by which the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of a building were tested and balanced according to established standards prior to acceptance by the building owner. Today’s use of commissioning recognizes the integrated nature of all building systems’ performance, which impact sustainability, workplace productivity, occupant safety and security.
As reflected within the Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service (P-100), GSA accepts ‘Building Commissioning’ practices as described above and within this Guide. Prospectus level projects (new and modernization) planned for 2006 and thereafter shall adopt a Total Building Commissioning practice beginning with the project planning stage and concluding with the post occupancy evaluation phase. These projects shall include provisions for Total Building Commissioning cost in their budget.
For projects that have already received funding approval prior to 2005, a limited commissioning practice shall be adopted to meet project performance objectives.
Repair & Alterations projects, where the scope of work is limited to HVAC upgrades, Commissioning for Start-up and Turnover practice shall be adopted.
Repair & Alterations projects, where the scope of work is limited to re-skinning the building, or enclosing an atrium, or providing security and seismic upgrades, commissioning for functional performance testing (FPT) shall be adopted.
All GSA new construction and modernization projects must achieve LEED Certification and must attempt a LEED Silver rating.
Benefits of Commissioning for GSA Buildings
Because all building systems are integrated, a deficiency in one or more components can result in suboptimal operation and performance among other components. Remedying these deficiencies can result in a variety of benefits including:
Improved building occupant productivity
Lower utility bills through energy savings
Increased occupant and owner satisfaction
Enhanced environmental/health conditions and occupant comfort
Improved system and equipment function
Improved building operation and maintenance
Increased occupant safety
Better building documentation
Shortened occupancy transition period
Significant extension of equipment/systems life cycle
Industry sources indicate that on average the operating costs of a commissioned building range from 8% to 20% below that of a non-commissioned building. Certain available commissioning implementation tools, such as cost shared USDOE Energy Contractors, may even result in a negative capital investment cost. GSA’s goal in adopting building commissioning is:
To safeguard PBS interest, by implementing solutions that best represent and meet the long term efficiency and functionality of all PBS buildings and meet the expectations of GSA’s customers
To improve facility operations
To optimize the value received for each construction dollar spent
To improve Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and decrease liability due to IEQ problems