3. The Commissioning Process

The commissioning process for HVAC systems is detailed in ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005: The Commissioning Process. The Functional Testing Guide supports the development of prefunctional checklists (also commonly referred to as verification checklists or construction checklists), while focusing on supporting the functional test writing and the functional testing process. The prefunctional checklists and functional tests developed for the commissioning process will ideally form the basis for an ongoing or continuous commissioning process that is a part of the building’s operating standard for its useful life.

The following table outlines recommended participants and their general roles and responsibilities throughout the testing process. These roles and responsibilities should be customized based on actual project requirements.

Participant

Role and Responsibility

New Construction Project

Commissioning Provider (CxP)

Develop prefunctional checklists and functional test procedures for all systems. Review and ensure all prefunctional checklists are complete before functional testing occurs. Oversee or perform functional tests (depending on scope of work outlined in the specification). Verify system performance meets the acceptance criteria.

Mechanical Contractor (MC)

The MC is responsible for system installation and completion of all mechanical-related prefunctional checklists in order to confirm each system is ready for functional testing. Depending on scope of work outlined in the specification, the MC may either be tasked with performing or simply assisting with execution of the functional tests developed by the CxP. The MC is responsible for any repairs if the acceptance criteria are not met.

Controls Contractor (CC)

The CC is responsible for installation of the controls and completion of all controls-related prefunctional checks in order to confirm each system is ready for functional testing. This includes sensor calibration and point-to-point system checkout. Many times the CC is needed to assist in modifying the sequence of operations in order to functionally test the system. The CC is responsible for modifying control sequences as necessary if the acceptance criteria are not met. The CC is also typically responsible for coordination with the EC to ensure proper integration between the HVAC controls system and the fire/life safety system, if applicable.

Fire/Life Safety Inspector

Typically it is best to verify proper system integration with the fire/life safety system when the fire alarm system is being inspected and tested by the authority having jurisdiction (i.e. fire marshal or inspector).

Electrical Contractor (EC)

The EC is responsible for providing power (and emergency power if applicable) to all HVAC systems and completion of all electrical-related prefunctional checklists in order to confirm each system is ready for functional testing. The EC is also typically responsible for installation of the fire/life safety system and coordination with the CC to ensure proper integration between the HVAC controls system and the fire/life safety system, if applicable. The EC is responsible for any repairs if the acceptance criteria are not met.

Existing Building Project

Commissioning Provider (CxP)

Develop functional test procedures for all systems. Work with building staff to perform tests and verify system operation. The CxP should also specify that basic system maintenance is performed before the system is tested.

Building Operating Staff (Staff)

Work with CxP to perform tests and verify system operation. The Staff should ensure system maintenance is performed (for example, belts are tight, equipment has been serviced, sensors are calibrated, etc.) before the system is tested.

Controls Contractor (CC)

The CC may be needed to assist in modifying the sequence of operations to meet the test conditions if the CxP or Staff are not familiar with the control system. The CC also assists with implementation of controls-related fixes and improvements.

Fire/Life Safety Inspector

Typically it is best to verify proper system integration with the fire/life safety system when the fire alarm system is being inspected and tested by the authority having jurisdiction (i.e. fire marshal or inspector). At the very least, the proper authorities must be informed if system testing may result in a false alarm.

 

Figure 1 illustrates the general steps in the commissioning process and how the Functional Testing Guide fits into that process.
 

Figure 1: The Commissioning Process

This flow chart illustrates the steps in the commissioning process. Shaded steps are the areas targeted by the information in the Functional Testing Guide.