Commissioning Agent

The term Commissioning Agent is used synonymously with Commissioning Authority in this Guide. The term “Commissioning Agent” is not intended to carry any further legal interpretation beyond that of a “Commissioning Authority.”

About This Guide

The primary audience for this Building Commissioning Guide is GSA’s project managers, their construction management agents, and the commissioning agent. The secondary audience for this guide includes the many stakeholders in the commissioning process including customer agencies, the balance of the project team, other members of government, as well as GSA’s partners.

The Building Commissioning Guide provides the overall framework and process for building commissioning from project planning through tenant occupancy, keys to success within each step and the ways that each team member supports the process of commissioning. While recognizing that every project is unique and that the required activities will vary on every project, this guide provides recommendations, minimum requirements and best practices based upon industry guidance and GSA experience. The Building Commissioning Guide encourages the use of these best practices to ensure completeness and consistency nationwide and to address the facility needs of the customer agency.

The guide is organized into the following sections:

  • Philosophy provides GSA’s definition and expectations for commissioning
  • Building Commissioning Process details the considerations, practices and recommendations for commissioning along the GSA project process including planning, design, construction and post-construction stages
  • Appendices provide samples, tools, definitions and links to further resources for additional information on commissioning

Beyond This Guide

GSA’s design criteria document, the Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service (P-100), requires all GSA capital construction projects to employ total building commissioning practices, as addressed by this Building Commissioning Guide. Also, GSA’s project planning tools (PPT) web site enables development of project specific commissioning plans, identifying commissioning tasks and associated roles and responsibilities for the delivery team: This web site is available at:

Development of this guide included a thorough review of the multitude of publications on commissioning, and the building commissioning process in this guide incorporates industry guidance and best practice suggested by such leading organizations as:

  • American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Building Commissioning Association
  • National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)
  • Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. (PECI)
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Green Building Council

For a complete listing of resources and references, see Appendix C.

In addition, this guide identifies many additional sources and experts for detailed support of the commissioning process. GSA has a comprehensive body of additional resources on key topics related to facilities projects including site selection and preservation handbooks, pricing guides, facilities standards and incorporation of sustainability concepts.

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