Commissioning Services

Reputation for Excellence

BC Place Stadium Retractable Roof
BC Place Stadium Retractable Roof Upgrade Commissioning

Western Mechanical Services is frequently listed as an approved contractor listed for commissioning of projects, as we have a reputation for excellence and 60+ years of experience in building commissioning services.

Commissioning is the process of ensuring systems are installed, tested and operating in conformance with the design intent while maintaining optimized energy efficiency. This can be performed in new buildings or in existing buildings (retro-commissioning)

Building systems that can be covered by the commissioning process include HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and building controls (DDC or BMS). Commissioning involves identifying and correcting any issues with these systems before the building is put into service. This process can vary from project to project to help best suit the needs of the construction team.

The specialized commissioning services we deliver are:

New Building Commissioning

YVR Pier D Expansion
YVR Pier D Expansion Commissioning

Complete and accurate commissioning of a new building provides the owners, operators, and occupants the ability to realize the full efficiency and interior environmental quality of their new building or space. The process should start in the design phase and continues well after the building is complete and occupied.

LEED Fundamental & Enhanced Commissioning

Existing Building / Retro Commissioning

Retro-commissioning is the practice of re-examining, optimizing, and retesting existing building systems to ensure sure they are still operating as per the original intent while helping achieve peak energy efficiency. Western Mechanical Services offers retro-commissioning of existing buildings to revaluate and improve their performance. Benefits of retro-commissioning your building include addressing issues from the original construction and optimizing the buildings HVAC systems and mechanical systems for the current conditions and use. Western Mechanical Services performs a systematic evaluation of the overall HVAC, plumbing, and building controls systems to identify issues which translates into increased energy savings and reduced carbon impact. Retro commissioning often makes buildings more comfortable and improves air quality for occupants while at the same time reducing operating costs for owners.

Common issues identified in the retro commissioning process may include

  • air or water balancing systems needing adjustments
  • controls devices or control sequences not working as intended
  • equipment or lighting operating when not needed
  • malfunctioning equipment
  • thermostats and sensors providing inaccurate readings and requiring calibration
  • variable-frequency equipment operating at levels not appropriate to the load

Significant Commissioning Projects

BC Place Stadium Retractable Roof

BC Place Stadium Retractable Roof

Western Mechanical Services performed the mechanical systems commissioning for the BC Place Stadium retractable roof upgrade.

Heritage Woods Secondary School, Port Moody

Heritage woods school

The $ 27 million 11,770 square meter (126,000 sq ft) Heritage Mountain Secondary School building was one of the first LEED projects commissioned by Western Mechanical Services. The mechanical systems incorporated a number of energy efficient features, including a ground source heat pump that utilizes geothermal energy. This school is one of the most energy efficient in the Province of British Columbia.

Three heat recovery ventilators reclaim heat from the exhaust ventilation systems serving the Science Labs, Physics and Chemistry Rooms, Home Economics and Foods Area, Central Washrooms and transfers the heat to the incoming outdoor ventilation air used for a number of fan coil systems. The fan coil units are each provided with variable speed pumps that deliver just enough hot water or chilled water to satisfy the heating or cooling requirements.

The ventilation system for the theatre is controlled by motion sensors that determine whether or not the space is occupied. During times when the theatre is not being used, motorized outdoor air dampers close. The two gymnasia are controlled by carbon dioxide sensors so that the amount of outdoor ventilation provided matches the need of the occupants.

Western Mechanical Services also provided the operating and maintenance manuals (O & M Manuals) both in hard copy form in post binders with gold leaf lettering and in digital electronic format.

UBC Michael Smith Laboratories

Michael Smith Laboratories

The UBC Michael Smith Laboratories is a 7,500 sq Meter (80,700 sq ft) building that was completed in 2005. It is an interdisciplinary facility that includes biological research and training facilities.

Research is conducted on human and animal molecular genetics, plant and forestry molecular genetics and biological process engineering. The building was named after Doctor Michael Smith, Nobel Prize Winner for Chemistry in 1993 and former Professor Emeritus at UBC.

The mechanical systems for the laboratory areas included variable air volume (VAV) air handling systems with supply and exhaust fans having variable speed drives, and heat recovery coils and pumps that transfer heat from the outgoing exhaust air to the incoming outdoor air.

Western Mechanical Services provided the fundamental and additional commissioning services for the technically challenging mechanical equipment, systems and temperature controls for Alpha Mechanical Contracting in Port Coquitlam, BC. Western Mechanical scheduled all activities related to the commissioning including equipment start-up, water treatment, testing and balancing, duct cleaning, temperature control end-to-end checks, performance verification and preparation and review of the operating and maintenance manuals. Western Mechanical Services organized the turnover and ensured that the building operators had been adequately trained to operate and maintain the building systems.

UBC Life Sciences Building

UBC life sciences

At 51,000 square Meters, (548,000 sq ft), the Life Sciences Building is now the largest building at the University of British Columbia. It is a state of the art medical teaching and research facility with a variety of laboratories, lecture theatres, classrooms, seminar and reading rooms, administration offices and a major vivarium. The building is designed to accommodate a total of 2,900 people.

The building houses one of the largest Level III Biohazard Facilities in North America.

It was the largest building in Canada to achieve the international LEED Gold certification award for innovative environmental sustainability features for design, construction and operation.

Some of the special features for this building include water conservation strategies, dual flush toilet fixtures, sense controlled faucets, heat recovery from all exhaust ventilation systems, fume hoods with reduced flow rates, maximum use of outdoor natural lighting and automatic lighting control. Construction materials, which had relatively low emission of volatile organic compounds, were chosen. An aggressive waste management program was adopted during construction. Eighty per cent of the construction waste was salvaged or recycled.

Western Mechanical Services is pleased to have been chosen to provide the air and water testing and balancing for the mechanical systems. The mechanical and electrical systems were designed to save a total of 5.5 million Kilowatt Hours every year. To achieve these savings and yet ensure that the interior building environment is comfortable throughout, the flow of air and water through the mechanical systems had to be adjusted within fine tolerances.

UBC Ecotrek

UBC ecotrek

The University of British Columbia developed a major initiative to upgrade and retrofit their core campus building systems to meet ambitious targets to reduce energy and water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

UBC engaged MCW Custom Energy Solutions Ltd as an energy performance contractor (ESCO) to implement the Ecotrek Project. Over a three year period, nearly 300 buildings were rebuilt and retrofitted to achieve targets to reduce energy by 20 % and water use by 30 %. The project was successful and UBC will be saving at least $ 2.6 million per year in electricity, steam and water costs.

The mechanical retrofit included the addition of variable speed drives for the supply and return fans for the air handling systems in the major university buildings so that the air volumes could be reduced during times when less air was required. Sheet metal ductwork changes were carried out to convert some systems by adding variable air volume devices and automatic temperature controls to match the heating, cooling and ventilation to the amount required in the various zones.

Western Mechanical Services was chosen to provide testing and balancing (TAB) and performance testing services associated with this important retro-commissioning project. Western Mechanical measured and adjusted the air flows through each system and measured the electrical characteristics at various operating conditions to assist MCW in calculating energy usage.

UBC Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS)

UBC ecotrek

The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) on the West Mall at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is dedicated to research, collaboration and outreach that lead to workable solutions for the challenges of urban sustainability. The facility was completed in 2011. The CIRS was described as “the most innovative and high performance building in North America, serving as a living laboratory to demonstrate leading-edge research and develop sustainable design practices, products, systems and policies”.

The building was constructed of sustainable materials and designed to radically reduce emissions, materials consumption, energy use and water use.

Electricity, lighting and heating energy, and all of its water supply, liquid waste treatment, ventilation and cooling is provided from natural on site sustainable and renewable sources including the sun, the wind and the ground beneath the site. Heating and cooling for the facility comes from waste heat recovery from the fume hood exhaust ventilation systems and geothermal heat pump and it was designed to have the best commercial building performance in North America.

Western Mechanical Services is proud to have been part of this unique construction project by providing the building commissioning services to help UBC to achieve its first LEED® Platinum Building certification.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver Audience Chamber Renewal

Queen Elizabeth Theatre

A major renovation to improve the acoustics and service to patrons for the historic Queen Elizabeth Theatre, one of Vancouver’s cultural jewels was completed before the start of the 2010 Olympics. Originally constructed in 1959, the building was later divided into two areas, the 2900 seat main auditorium and the 800 seat playhouse. As part of the upgrade, acoustic separation of the two areas and acoustic treatment within the auditorium was carried out to achieve the level of performance excellence required for performances by Vancouver Opera and Ballet British Columbia and other various productions.

One of the challenges included in the scope of work was to eliminate any noticeable drafts or noise from air movement.

Western Mechanical Services had a significant role along with the other professional, technical and trades involved in the design and construction by providing building system commissioning services as well as testing and balancing of the air handling and other mechanical systems.

VPD Tactical Training Centre

VPD tactical

The VPD Tactical Training Centre, completed in 2011 is owned by the City of Vancouver with the Vancouver Police Department as tenant. This facility is utilized for the training of officers and has simulation training rooms, firing ranges, classrooms and other facilities. The project is registered with the Canada Green Building Council and was designed and constructed to achieve LEED-NC Gold certification.

The centre has 25-metre and 50-metre indoor target ranges, with removable barricades, running man targets, a raised control booth and custom lighting options for a variety of specialized firearms training scenarios. High-flow ventilation systems were provided for each range to remove lead particulate matter from the air to avoid possible health hazards for occupants.

Because of the exceptional requirement for high air volumes of outdoor air when the firing ranges are in use and the need to maintain negative building pressures relative to other occupied areas of the building, special temperature control arrangements are required to achieve optimum use of energy and to provide a safe environment. Western Mechanical Services was entrusted with the responsibility of providing the building system commissioning services and preparing the mechanical system operation and maintenance manuals for this project.

VANOC and Vancouver Police Facility

VANOC and Vancouver Police Facility

The Vancouver Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee (VANOC) who organized and staged the 2010 Winter Olympic Games required 200,000 sq ft of office space to house up to 1,200 employees and host partners. VANOC selected an existing building on the outskirts of the City of Vancouver for this purpose. The office space and the existing building mechanical and lighting systems had to be retrofitted to suit the special needs of the Olympic organizers, who chose Western Mechanical Services to provide commissioning services for the updated building systems.

Western Mechanical Services worked closely with VANOC to ensure and verify that their special requirements from the systems were achieved. Some of the measures adopted to obtain LEED certification included ensuring proper air quality during construction, special zone controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and proximity lighting were implemented and verified during the commissioning process. One feature used to reduce energy costs was to automatically shut down some of the lighting in rooms when they were not occupied. The building system renovations had to be completed within a tight time frame which created special challenges for all those involved, including the commissioning team.

After the 2010 Olympic Games were completed, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) moved into the facility.

Vancouver Transit Building

Vancouver Transit Building

Western Mechanical Services was retained by Translink to provide the commissioning services for the environmentally friendly $ 37 million Vancouver Transit Centre, completed in 2006 as a LEED Project. This facility houses the second largest and most modern electric trolley fleet in North America. It replaced the Oakridge Transit Centre, located at 41st Avenue and Oak Street in Vancouver. It is operated by the Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of Translink.

The Centre is also used as a training facility for all Coast Mountain services and has a cafeteria that is open to the public. The building has a recycled water bus wash and an onsite wastewater treatment plant.

The mechanical systems included natural gas hot water heating boilers, variable and constant volume air handling systems, radiant hot water heating panels, fan coil systems, chilled water cooling systems, paint booth ventilation systems and gas controlled exhaust ventilation systems for the vehicle areas with makeup air ventilation systems.

CBC Building


The CBC took on a new look in 2009 when they completed a futuristic $65 million, 25,000 sq ft newsroom addition and renovation to replace the old concrete building that was locally described as “the bunker”. The construction project took three years to complete. One of the main challenges was that the CBC had to remain on air throughout the construction project and any construction noise or vibrations had to be kept within strict limits to avoid interference with taping or broadcasting. Because of the ongoing use of the building, noise and vibration from the building HVAC and electrical lighting systems must be kept within tolerable limits. Western Mechanical Services was retained to provide air and water balancing and to commission the building services to ensure that the performance objectives were achieved.

The CBC project is one of three Silver Award winners in the Vancouver Regional Construction Association Awards of Excellence in the general contractor category for contracts over $40 million.

BMW / Mini Langley Auto Dealership

BMW dealership

The 58,000 sq ft Langley BMW and MINI Dealership opened in August, 2011 and the groundbreaking ceremonies included dedication of a special tree as a commemorative gift to the guests, and a symbol of the environmental significance of LEED-certified eco-friendly sustainable construction with green walls.

The dealership building at Langley Bypass and Glover Road features an expansive, twin elevated showroom, with adequate space to accommodate up to 26 BMW vehicles and seven MINIs and a state of the art service centre. The service drive-in area is able to serve six customer vehicles and has a see-through service and parts facility and onsite parking for 165 vehicles.

Western Mechanical Services is pleased to have been chosen to provide the commissioning services for the building systems as required to qualify for LEED Silver certification.

BCGEU Fraser Valley Administration Office


When the British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU) planned for their new Fraser Valley Headquarters Building in Langley, they decided to go green and opted for LEED gold status. The building, described as a showplace to green thinking is located on 198th Street in Langley and is home to Fraser Valley Area Office and the union’s Organizing Department.

The building has a great deal of glass and yet the overall energy performance of the building were low enough to meet tough standards comparable to similar energy efficient buildings with less glass, because of reflective coatings and remote control blinds. Light Emitting Diode (LED) light fixtures were utilized and these consume only a fraction of the power of other comparable lighting arrangements. Although the BCGEU invested about 20 % more for the initial building costs the life cycle cost of the structure is expected to be comparable because of reduced operating and maintenance costs.

Western Mechanical Services participated in this green building project by providing the fundamental and best practice commissioning services.

St Paul’s Hospital iCapture Gem Project

St Paul's Hospital

Western Mechanical Services was hired by Civil Construction, the General Contractor to carry out the commissioning services for the GEM facility at St Pauls Hospital in Vancouver. Through the iCapture Program, St Pauls Hospital carries out cardiovascular and pulmonary research.

The GEM facility included laboratory space to house conventional and transgenic animals with Holding Rooms, Procedure Rooms, Laboratories, Reverse Osmosis Room, Anterooms, Staff Offices, Loading / Receiving, Cage Wash and Staff Support Areas.

The mechanical systems included variable air volume air handling systems with variable frequency drives for the fan motors, steam humidifiers, HEPA filtration systems, two plenum mounted exhaust fans mounted in parallel. Heat recovery coils filled with propylene glycol were provided in the exhaust and outdoor air intake ductwork to transfer heat from the exhaust air to the outdoor ventilation air.

A Triatek pressure controller with internal sensor monitors the pressure differential within several critical areas relative to the corridor pressure and modulates exhaust Venturi valves to maintain a specific positive or negative pressure in each area.

An energy management system controlled the air flow to certain areas when they were unoccupied to optimize the usage of energy.

Western Mechanical Services was also chosen to provide the air and water balancing and operation and maintenance manuals for this project.

Olympic Curling Venue – Hillcrest Community Center Olympic and Legacy Modes


Western Mechanical Services provided the commissioning services and worked along with other LEED experts, professionals and building trades and suppliers to verify that the specific design objectives relating to provide, optimization of energy performance and indoor air quality, thermal comfort, outdoor air ventilation and a significant reduction in water usage were achieved.

During the 2010 Winter Games the Vancouver Olympic Centre, a green and sustainable facility was home to curling and wheelchair curling events and was designed to be later converted into a community centre, ice rink, curling club, library preschool field house and offices. Heat rejected from the ice slab cooling was utilized to heat the building, aquatic centre, community centre and to run the air conditioning. Ground water and roof drainage were reclaimed to provide water supply for plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems.

The multi-phased project included a 6,200 m² aquatic centre, leisure pool, seasonal outdoor pool, 70-person hot pool, steam room and sauna and an adjacent fitness centre with state-of-the-art equipment.

Killarney Ice Rink

Killarney Ice Rink

Killarney Ice Rink 49th and Kerr Vancouver (LEED Gold Project)

The new community rink at the Killarney Community Centre, which opened in the spring of 2010 was one of the venues for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The rink was used for short-track speed skating training sessions and after the Olympic Games was converted for community recreation use.

The project was built to high environmental standards to achieve LEED* Gold certification in keeping with the Park Board’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. Some of the energy related and environmental design features included a 30% reduction in water use by using water efficient toilets, reclaiming of excess heat from ice slab cooling to provide heat for the building and pool, environmental tobacco smoke control, elimination of HCFC and Halons in HVAC equipment, high level of thermal comfort, carbon dioxide monitoring, ventilation and lighting provided at optimum energy efficiency, achieving a 38 % reduction. The under-floor piping used to cool the Olympic-size portion of the ice surface was repurposed to carry hot water to warm the concourse and spectator areas.

A special Award for Excellence in Green Building Practices, a one-time award was presented to the architects who, as a group, developed the largest set of simultaneously constructed, single project, low environmental impact facilities in history. Another award was presented to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) in recognition of its leadership in the sustainable building movement

Western Mechanical Services is pleased to have taken part in this project by working together with the design and construction teams to provide the fundamental and best practice commissioning services

Latter-Day Saints Temple – Langley BC

LDS temple

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints constructed their first LDS Temple in British Columbia in Langley BC. The building is considered a showcase and is utilized by 22,000 B.C. and northern Washington church members for marriages, baptisms and religious instruction and special care was taken to ensure the building acoustics were excellent. Extremely high standards were set for all aspects of design and construction and the project required three years to complete.

Described as a “regal building,” the $30 million, 28,000-square-foot temple structure has a distinctive illuminated 37-metre-tall Rheinzink-cladded spire topped with a gold-plated angel. Quality for the building was the prime consideration and meticulous planning throughout the design and construction phases was required. Longevity and high seismic standards were other important considerations in the planning for this project as was the ability to withstand the unique climate conditions on the Lower Mainland.

The mechanical systems were designed to extremely high standards, to ensure that the HVAC systems did not compromise acoustics. To achieve the design objectives, the design and installation of the ductwork and associated acoustical treatment required special care. Special care was taken to achieve a building where there were no distractions from humming light fixtures, vibrating mechanical equipment or noticeable air noises. Special bathroom fixtures were required to achieve the desired conditions in the building.

Western Mechanical Services worked with the other professionals and trades to achieve the stringent quality control demanded by performing the commissioning services required to verify the performance of the building systems as well as the air and water balancing.

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