UBC - Centre for Interactive Research    

LEED Commissioning Agent

The Building Owners' Best Friend During and After Completion Stages

Imagine the anticipation the new owners experience just as they prepare to take over and occupy their brand new state of the art building complex. Their operating and maintenance personnel are eager and possibly somewhat apprehensive about learning as much as they can about the complex mechanical electrical and control systems that they will be responsible to look after. The building occupants look forward to moving in to their new climate controlled work stations.

It has taken the combined skill of many knowledgeable professionals and highly skilled trades people to bring the construction project through the design and construction phases. When the building is turned over, most of the technical and trades people remaining on the site wish to see their work completed as quickly as possible so that they may move on to other pressing demands. Their main interest at this stage is to get their part of the work accepted so that their company can receive payment for work completed, including all holdback funds so that they can move on.

If a Commissioning Authority and Commissioning Agent have been appointed through the LEED Green Building Certification System, the likelihood of experiencing a successful building takeover and optimum performance from the systems and equipment increases exponentially.

The Commissioning Team was present before the building system design was complete. They became familiar with the Owner’s specific and unique individual requirements and advocated to ensure that these were incorporated into the building design. They reviewed the drawings and specifications at various stages with this in mind. The commissioning team reviewers also acted as another set of eyes to offer knowledgeable opinions regarding practical matters. They made suggestions if they noticed that some of the equipment might be difficult to service because there was not enough access.

The Commissioning Team was present throughout the construction process and as the installation phase neared completion they became especially valuable. They helped to coordinate the finishing work of the mechanical electrical and temperature control installations and the testing and balancing of the mechanical systems. They provided a realistic schedule and took part in the startup of the major items of mechanical equipment. The commissioning team oversaw and took an active part in the performance testing of all equipment and systems and by ensuring that any necessary paper work be completed as the mechanical and electrical systems were being placed into operation they helped the process to flow more smoothly.

They ensured that the complex temperature control systems were functioning as intended to achieve the design intent. They played a key role in the final inspection and turnover of the building, ensuring that the building operators and maintainers had received adequate instructions. They reviewed the operating and maintenance manuals to ensure that they were complete and as per the specifications.

When any problems arose, the commissioning team was involved to ensure that issues were satisfactorily resolved. In some cases the commissioning team took an active role in the trouble shooting required to restore operation and in other cases their input identified who specifically was responsible and what needed to be done.

A year after the building was turned over the commissioning team was still working to ensure that the building and its systems were operating well. They met with the building operators and reviewed and documented any performance issues to ensure that these would all be attended to before the one year warranty period expired.

In an ideal situation, when the owner takes over a new building that has been well designed and constructed, the materials and equipment and control systems all perform exactly as they were intended to. In the real world, it is essential to have a knowledgeable and skilled technical team test and verify not only that the mechanical and electrical and temperature control systems are complete but that they are performing to achieve their optimum performance. The LEED commissioning agent has been trained to provide the necessary performance tests to ensure the owner receives good value for his investment in the new or renovated building.