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Table of Contents:  

Section 1-7: Commissioning

Section 1-7: Commissioning

1-7-00  Policy
10  Procedures
20  Guidance and Information (Reserved)
30  Reporting Requirements (Reserved)

1-7-00 Policy

In accordance with HHS policy, NIH will develop, implement and maintain a commissioning procedure for all new and renovated facilities that meet or exceed the HHS Capital Investment Review Board threshold ($10M). The NIH may determine that other facilities should be commissioned based on the complexity and nature of the facility.

Commissioning is the process of making sure all building systems are working before occupants move in.  It involves making sure all systems are: installed properly and perform according to design; cost effective; meet the users’ needs; adequately documented and well understood by operators.  Commissioning serves to accomplish the following goals:
• Reduced number of deficiencies at completion.
• Lower utility costs attributable to efficiently operating systems.
• Lower maintenance costs due to properly trained maintenance crew.
• Higher productivity of the building occupants because of properly balanced ventilation system.
• Design for maintainability.
• Reduced outages and downtimes due to better diagnosis of failures.
• Well documented and successful system tests.
• All building systems perform in accordance with the design requirements.

1-7-10 Procedures

A. NIH Commissioning Philosophy and Requirements:
NIH requires Commissioning (Cx) for all projects.  The level or scope of commissioning for any single project shall be determined by the complexity of the project.  The NIH Model Commissioning Guide, to be published in 2011, will contain complete, detailed commissioning requirements.  Commissioning is a comprehensive process for ensuring that:

• All building systems are installed and perform according to the design intent.
• Systems are efficient, cost effective and meet the user’s operational needs.
• The installation is adequately documented.
• The operators are adequately trained. 

The requirements in the NIH Model Commissioning Guide cover each phase of the project from the planning phase through warranty for all types and sizes of buildings, occupancies, and systems.  They apply to new buildings, as well as renovations and expansions. NIH Cx requirements shall occur parallel to established conventions ensuring design and construction quality.  Cx shall provide monitoring and review of these conventional processes, and add supplemental processes for additional assurance of optimal performance. 

Cx entails coordinating the efforts of the various parties involved in the design, construction, use, and operation of a facility to achieve an optimal facility.  It is more comprehensive than conventional construction phase quality control activities such as construction observation, start up, and testing, adjusting and balancing.  NIH Cx focuses on the dynamic systems in the facility, such as the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and security systems.  Although Cx is performed on some static systems, the need for Cx is more substantial on the dynamic systems.  Other DRM requirements can often assure an adequate level of construction quality for the static elements.

The Cx activities shall be included in the project schedule.  Effective planning and a strong commitment to maintenance of a detailed, integrated project schedule will shorten the impact Cx has on the project duration.  Planning and budgeting for Cx shall begin at the onset of a project.  A Government selected independent third party commissioning authority (CA) is required and shall be funded by the project. The CA facilitates and assists other parties in the Cx process but does not direct work or approve/accept materials, systems or equipment.  The CA makes recommendations to the appropriate party who directs work, approves or disapproves work, etc. The scope and budget of development managers (DM), A/E’s, construction managers, construction contractors and all other entities involved with the project will be impacted by Cx. 

Maintenance, safety and institute personnel, and others will also be involved in the Cx and will need to plan adequate resources from the beginning of the process.  Roles and responsibilities are outlined below. Although the NIH Model Commissioning Guide provides detailed roles and responsibilities of the individual members of the project team, it is important for the A/E to be aware of the roles and responsibilities of different parties involved in the Cx process.

 A.1 Cx Process during Different Project Phases:
The following information highlights some of the critical roles and responsibilities of different parties involved in the Cx process during different project phases.  This is not a comprehensive list but only meant to make parties aware conceptually:

Programming Phase: During the programming phase, the project team, including facility users, outlines the functional requirements of the facility and documents the scope of Cx. Cx sequence shall include:

• Inclusion of Cx requirements in all project related contracts.
• Inclusion of credentials related to Cx in selection criteria.
• Inclusion of Cx in the project budget.
• Documentation of project requirements in a format that is transferable to the Cx documentation.

Conceptual Design Phase:  During the conceptual design phase, the project team, including facility users, forms the basis of design (BOD) and room data sheets (RDS), and begins Facility Guide.  Cx sequence shall include:

• CA appointment.
• CA development of the initial Cx Plan.
• CA review of the BOD and RDS, and participation in Facility Guide.

Schematic Phase:  During the schematic phase, the concepts of the project are developed to the point of schematic and single line drawings.  The Cx sequence shall include:

• Identification of the Cx team and onset of participation in the Cx process.
• CA performance of the following:
o Conducts the Cx kick off meeting,
o Reviews schematic designs and design criteria, and
o Produces preliminary versions of Cx specification sections.
• Naming conventions to be used on project equipment established and or directed by operators.

Construction Documents Phase: During the construction documents phase, detailed design is accomplished and the contract documents are prepared for bidding.  This phase may consist of multiple subphases.  Cx sequence shall include:

• A/E response to all schematic phase comments, development of Systems Matrix in concert with developing the specification and submittal of draft specification electronically.
• Operators review and comment on Systems Matrix and other documents.
• CA development and completion of specifications on Cx requirements, completion of Cx plan and design phase version of the Facility Guide, review of other construction phase submittals, and development of a summary document that will track the Cx process.
• CA development of Cx precedent diagrams to reflect Cx tasks and how to most effectively sequence systems turn over to minimize the Cx impact on the schedule.
• CA development of the design phase version of the Facility Guide.
• A/E update of the BOD.
• A/E response to all design review comments including Cx comments.

Bidding Phase: During the bidding phase, installation or construction is competitively bid and contractors/subcontractors are selected.  Cx sequence shall include technical support provided by CA.

Construction Phase: During the construction phase of the project, the facility is built.  Systems and equipment are installed and started.  Contractor provides submittals, does testing, etc.  Contractor/Vendors conduct equipment specific training.  Cx sequence shall include:

• Designation of a Cx Coordinator (CxC) by all major subcontractors and operators to represent them in the Cx process.
• Cx kick off meeting conducted by CA.
• Incorporation of Cx tasks in detailed project schedule and presentation of an updated schedule at each Cx progress meeting by the contractor.
• CA review and comment on shop drawings and other submittals, inspections and attendance of meetings, and production of detailed project specific pre-functional and functional testing procedures.
• Supplementation of the pre-functional procedures developed by CA with contractor-provided submittals, and contractor-provided training plan for review by CA and operators.
• CA and operators’ review and approval of start up protocol. 
• Submittals of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) portions of the Facility Guide and Temporary Conditioning Plan by the contractor for review by A/E, CA, and operators.
• Witnessing of close in inspections by operators, CA, and PO.
• Recordation of all nameplate data by the contractor.
• Training provided by the contractor.
• Design Intent and Systems Overview Training by the A/E with assistance from CA.

Acceptance Phase: During the acceptance phase, the facility and its systems and equipment are inspected, tested, etc.  Most of the formal training occurs during this phase, generally occurring after the construction phase is complete.  The A/E and contractor finalize “as built” record documentation.  Approved functional completion marks the end of this phase.  Cx sequence shall include:

• Establishment of trending and monitoring as applicable for systems by the contractors.
• Spot check start-ups and balancing by CA and the operators.
• Functional Operational Systems Test (FOST) directed/conducted by CA, in which most parties also participate to some degree, primarily for initial samples.  Continued activity with FOST performing repetitive samples by CA and operators.
• FOST documentation by CA, recommendations of acceptance as applicable, and up-date of FOST status on Cx summary document.
• Development and performance of commissioned systems training by CA.
• Completion of record documentation and submittal for approval by the contractor and A/E.
• Remedies issuance to issues that caused failure of FOST’s and CA retests by the contractor.

Endurance Test Phase:  During the endurance test phase, equipment is run continuously, monitored and trended.  This phase is applicable to critical occupancies such as BSL-3, vivaria, data centers, and other areas as directed by the Project Officer.  Cx sequence shall include:

• CA ensures monitoring is in place and functional throughout this period.
• Use the space by occupants to confirm functionality.
• Proper operation of the facility throughout this period.

Warranty Phase: The warranty phase includes the early occupancy of the building through the end of the warranty period, and at least into the opposite season from when it was initially tested.  The contractor performs warranty service, corrects deficiencies, and finalizes record documentation to reflect actual conditions at the end of the warranty period.  The operators work with the CA and the A/E to fine tune the facility to meet actual occupancy.  Cx sequence shall include:

• Onset of warranty upon completion of the acceptance phase.
• Submittal of final Cx report by CA, and addition to Facility Guide important lessons learned, changes made, etc.
• Maintenance of log of warranty calls which tracks diagnosis and resolution by contractor.
• Operator initiated warranty calls, as necessary.
• Record documentation is updated, as necessary.
• Performance of opposite season testing by CA.
• Documentation of issues and problems with the facility by the operators.
• Occupants’ use of the facility.

Renovations or modifications to the facility, if done, in conformance to the limitations dictated in the Facility Guide.
(508 compliant) 



This page was last updated on May 23, 2013