Review Owner Project Requirements and Basis of Design

As described in previous sections, the owner’s project requirements are developed as part of GSA’s project planning processes and establish baseline criteria for facility function, performance and maintainability. The Basis of Design (BOD) is developed by the architect/engineer (A/E) early in the design stage based on owner’s project requirements. It is the primary document that translates GSA’s and the customer agency’s needs into building components such as heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, building envelope, security systems, building automation system, etc. The BOD describes the technical approach planned for the project as well as the design parameters to be used. The BOD is typically developed by the A/E and done in technical terms, whereas the owner’s project requirements are developed by GSA in concert with the customer agency and are expressed in layman’s terms.

When the commissioning agent (CxA) is brought on board early in the design development phase, one of his or her first tasks is to review the owner’s project requirements and the BOD. The purpose of these reviews is to ensure that the customer agency’s needs are met as described in the owner’s project requirements, and carried through in the BOD document. The CxA’s review ensures clarity and completeness with an eye toward commissioning process activities (benchmarks, standards, performance targets, etc.). The CxA may recommend changes to improve energy efficiency, operation & maintenance and equipment reliability. Making changes in the design stage, rather than after installation begins, saves money.

Through the design process, a key role for the CxA is to facilitate a clear understanding of expectations by the design team. To do this, the practice of conducting program review workshops is to be used to offer all stakeholders the opportunity to indicate what they want to see in the next design submission. The Project Planning Tools’ Commissioning Tool identifies such practices in the work breakdown structure associated with defining roles and responsibilities.

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