As the commissioning authority ideally has no contractual relationship to the general contractor or trades, the issues or discrepancies between the constructed conditions and the OPR must be accurately recorded and resolved at regular meetings of the commissioning team.
Timely directives, if required, must be issued to the constructor before excess costs are incurred. Issues can be resolved by amendments to the owner’s project requirements or by instructions from the design professionals.
Testing and Handover Phase
The degree to which each system is verified by the commissioning team will vary based upon several criteria including the criticality, impact of failure, complexity and number of similar systems.
For example, computer room air conditions would each be tested while perimeter fan coil units may be randomly tested with an escalation procedure in the event that the sample units fail to test. It is equally important to manage the issues encountered during tests to ensure resolution and closure of the testing phase.
Are all commissioning programs comparable?
The simple answer is no.
There are few standards for commissioning programs and owners will see wide discrepancies in the quality of the OPR, design documents, construction reviews, sampling rates of verifying contractor test data, and quantity and quality of functional testing.
Performance testing that requires false loading and simulation of design conditions are comparatively expensive and require extended contractor involvement.
While critical for certain types of facilities, the cost of extended performance testing can exceed many budgets. A good commissioning provider will understand your requirements and develop a program that meets your needs while maintaining your budget.
What should you look for in a commissioning authority?
Key attributes of a commissioning authority should include experience and qualifications in the commissioning area.
Ideally, the individuals should be familiar with design, construction, and operations, with a working knowledge of the type of facility that requires the commissioning activity.
As a relatively new profession, designations or accreditations are not yet standardized, therefore, the consumer will need to research the value of a potential commissioning authority’s designation.
How much will this cost?
Commissioning programs typically cost between 0.25% and 4% of the construction cost for projects, which can range from $200,000 to $100,000,000.
The degree of performance and integrated testing can result in higher values for critical facilities. The challenge is for the owner to engage a commissioning authority early on and to work with them to develop a program that meets both the needs and the budget.