In years gone by, it was enough for an HVAC system to provide comfortable cooling and heating. That is no longer true. Today's HVAC systems must be energy efficient, satisfy stringent indoor air quality and comfort expectations, and still be designed and constructed within tight budgets. System designs meeting these demands typically have many components, sub-systems, and controls. Additionally, building construction involves many specialized trades that often work independently of one another. Ineffective communication and coordination between designers and contractors, and among contractors, can produce HVAC systems with installation deficiencies that do not perform properly. Without verification of the correct interaction and operation of all systems and components, system performance as specified and intended is unlikely to occur.

Commissioning is a systematic process that addresses these issues. It facilitates and ensures the required communication, coordination, testing, and verification, and results in the delivery of a building whose HVAC systems perform as intended. Effective HVAC commissioning is an intentional, visible, cooperative and proactive process. It includes design review, installation verification, proper system start-ups, functional performance tests, operations and maintenance training, and complete documentation of the HVAC systems. It assists in the coordination of construction schedules and sequences to facilitate an efficient construction process and challenges systems to perform as designed under all specified modes of operation. O&M staff training provides a basis for continued optimum HVAC systems performance throughout a facility’s existence. In summary, commissioning serves the owner’s best interests by delivering a facility with systems that perform as specified, intended, and paid for.

For the best possible results, commissioning should be included in all phases of the design and construction process:

  • pre-design
  • design
  • construction
  • acceptance
  • post-acceptance