About Building Commissioning
The term “Commissioning” was first used in shipbuilding. In that industry, a commissioned ship is deemed ready for service. In other words, its materials, systems and staff have successfully completed a thorough quality assurance process. This same concept also applies to building commissioning services (Cx).
Our LEED commissioning agents will undertake a rigorous quality assurance process on your behalf.
Using this process helps us determines whether your buildings operate optimally. In addition, the process ensures that your staff is prepared to operate and maintain all of the systems and equipment. This means we are well-equipped to provide you with these services, from the design stage through construction, occupancy, and operations.
Solving Complex Facilities Challenges
We solve complex facility performance challenges faced by owners and agencies to provide you with the confidence of a shipshape building. To help accomplish this, our dynamic building commissioning software equips our team with a knowledge management system to help provide these services:
- Building automation commissioning
- Building energy management systems commissioning
- Data center commissioning
- Electrical commissioning
- Energy envelope commissioning
- HVAC commissioning
For new construction, we provide complete services to fulfill the requirements of both LEED Fundamental and LEED Enhanced Commissioning credits. Additionally, NFS provides green building certification, utility bill auditing and commercial energy auditing. Finally, if you are pursuing Green Globes certification, we can offer support by guiding you through through the A.3 Commissioning requirements.
Verifying Your Subsystems
In addition, we can lead you through the process of verifying all of the subsystems for:
- Building Envelopes
- Building Security
- Fire & Life Safety
- Interior Systems
- Mechanical (HVAC)
- Sustainable Systems
- Utility Plants
When it comes to Existing Building Commissioning (EBOM), we can provide LEED for Existing Buildings. To accomplish this, we utilize LEED energy modeling.
NFS is an SDVOSB (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business) and GSA contractor. Furthermore, we are certified by the Building Commissioning Association (BCA) as well as the AABC Commissioning Group (ACG).
Building Commissioning FAQ
Commissioning is a formalized process that helps ensure the performance of key building systems [HVAC, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, etc] for new construction or major renovation projects. Independent professionals review the design to confirm that equipment selected will meet the needs and efficiency goals of the building and client. Observation and testing during construction then verify correct installation and proper functionality of all systems before the contractor closes out the project.
The primary goal of commissioning is to identify and correct issues before they adversely impact the building. Confirming key equipment is installed correctly and operating efficiently provides piece of mind, but also reduces the lifetime costs of building operations, maintenance, and system repair/replacement. Furthermore, commissioning helps to ensure reliability and resiliency for facilities with mission critical or 24/7 operational requirements.
US Department of Energy research has proven that commissioned buildings use up to 20% less energy than similar un-commissioned buildings1. Properly functioning and maintained equipment also lasts longer, minimizes downtime, and enhances indoor environmental quality which contributes to increased occupant well-being and productivity.
1 DoE Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide https://www.energy.gov/eere/buildings/advanced-energy-retrofit-guides
All commissioning providers are not created equal. The biggest differentiators are process and expertise. Identifying certified firms with credentialed professionals is the first step to ensure the providers are knowledge and attuned to current best practices. Next, firms with robust processes and tools in place are able to more effectively measure, track, and resolve issues in order to fulfill your project goals. These qualities, along with a commitment to correcting problems not just identifying them, are the hallmarks of a strong commissioning firm.
Commissioning is crucial to confirm system optimization and energy efficiency therefore it is a requirement under the Energy and Atmosphere [EA] section of the LEED manual. The USGBC outlines options for LEED Fundamental and LEED Enhanced commissioning services.
While commissioning is beneficial across all project phases, a commissioning agent brings the most value when engaged early in the design process. Early identification and resolution of issues is the core objective of commissioning. Pre-design and design phase involvement consistently results in better engineering solutions, enhanced document quality, and maximum cost savings and building efficiency. An experienced agent leverages knowledge and lessons learned to help you define the performance objectives for your building, weigh initial costs with lifecycle costs, and support the architect and engineer’s equipment selection.
Commissioning services represent a very small portion of a project’s total cost – between 0.6 and 1.8% of the construction budget. Commissioning fees vary and are determined primarily by the scope of services and phases of involvement [design and construction, construction only, or design through post-construction support]. The quantity and types of systems to be commissioned can also impact the cost and can include HVAC, electrical, lighting, renewable energy, building controls and automation systems, as well as fire/life safety systems and building envelope. When framing the costs of commissioning it is important to weigh the long term performance benefits, with energy savings lasting up to 4.5 years, as well as increased system reliability and extended equipment lifespan.