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Commissioning: Writing It Down

Revisiting the three basics of commissioning, i.e., documentation, testing, and training, this column will be dedicated to the first of these, DOCUMENTATION. This month we’ll look at the documentation to be developed, collected, and compiled into the final Commissioning Report. The intent of the Report, is at least twofold: (1) to document final system configuration and operation and (2) to document the commissioning process itself.

The following are descriptions of some of the items which could be included in the report. As with the commissioning process itself, the Commissioning Report needs to be customized to the needs of the facility owner and operations and maintenance (O&M) staff.

Commissioning Plan

The Commissioning Plan will have been created before proceeding with any commissioning work itself. The Plan describes the steps of the commissioning process and each commissioning team member’s role in that process. This Plan will be included in a prominent position in the final Report.

Design Intent Document

The basis for commissioning and one of the first commissioning documents to be developed is the Design Intent Document (D.I.D.). The D.I.D. will reflect the final agreed-upon systems configuration, operation, and performance. The D.I.D. may have been revised throughout the design and construction process, as modifications to the original design are deemed necessary for budget, user-initiated, or unforeseen condition reasons. The D.I.D. will be a key part of the Commissioning Report.

Schematic Diagrams

The schematic diagrams included in the Report should be created, as appropriate, for each SYSTEM which was included in the commissioning process. Schematic diagrams may have been created by the designers and/or the contractors, and copies of these can be used in the Commissioning Report. There is no need to duplicate effort. If, however, there is no design or construction phase schematic for a particular SYSTEM, the commissioning consultant will prepare the schematic in order to communicate concisely, completely, and graphically the design intent.

Sequences of Operation

As with the schematic diagrams, there will be sequences of operation written during the design and/or construction phase of the project. These need to be compiled into a single section of the Commissioning Report and referenced to their respective SYSTEM schematic diagrams. Again, if there is no documentation of some sequences or system interfaces, the commissioning consultant will write them based on actual system performance as observed during verification testing. Each of these sequences of operation will include final system setpoints, if any, when the systems were tested and approved as operating as intended.

Training Plans

The Commissioning Report should include all completed O&M Training Plans, documenting each training session agenda, trainer, attendees, and acceptance by the owner.

Commissioning Process Documentation

All commissioning team meeting minutes and pertinent correspondence regarding the commissioning process and the systems being commissioned will be included in the final report. This information is more “appendix” material and will not be that useful on a day-by-day basis for the O&M staff operating the building. However, it may prove very useful to future designers or people evaluating the systems who need to understand more of the “whys” and “wherefores” of the final system configurations.

Completed Verification Test Procedures

Each verification test procedure will be completed by hand during the actual test for each system. These are considered the “raw data” and the source of all subsequent test reports and corrective action reports. These completed test procedures will be included in the final Report as an appendix section.

Verification Test Reports

Another separate “appendix” section will include all of the verification test reports prepared by the commissioning consultant. These are the summary of events, often written daily during the height of the testing period, and they represent the “highlights” of the information documented on the test procedure forms themselves.

Corrective Action Reports

Each action item (deficiency) identified in the test reports will be referenced to a uniquely numbered corrective action report. These corrective action reports and their status will be monitored through a Master Corrective Action Log. At the end of commissioning, all of the corrective action reports will have been addressed and resolved to the satisfaction of the owner. Another section of the Report appendix will be a copy of this log and of all of the completed corrective action reports.

Blank Verification Test Procedure Forms

In anticipation of the O&M staff (or anyone else) wanting to “recommission” the systems sometime in the future, the final Commissioning Report should include copies of blank test procedures for each system. These can be copied and filled in whenever there is a question about how a particular system is operating and what may have changed since it was verified to be correct at the end of construction.

As noted earlier, the contents of a final Commissioning Report will be whatever the owner and O&M staff want them to be.  In addition to the items listed here, other options might be the commissioning specification section from the construction documents, design phase review documentation, value engineering documentation, etc.


Commissioning: Getting It Right

Engineered Systems, July, 1998

Rebecca Ellis, PE, LEED AP, CCP, CxA
Questions & Solutions Engineering
1079 Falls Curve
Chaska, MN  55318