Like other quality processes, commissioning is about documenting the expected outcomes at the early project stages, and then infusing a process that communicates and binds the project stakeholders to those outcomes. For construction projects, this encompasses detailing and documenting the owner’s goals during the conceptual phases of the project. Those goals are then communicated, incorporated, and confirmed during the design development, installation, start-up, and acceptance phases of the project.
Picture, in your mind's eye, five progressively smaller concentric circles of various colors. The smallest circle in the center is solid red. You are given a bow and arrow and placed fifty feet away and asked to hit the target .............. Instinctively, you know that the expected outcome is that you aim toward the smallest, red circle.
Now consider a target of random shapes, sizes, and colors and you are given the same instruction.............. Do you know where to aim?????
Like this second situation, every building is unique. A group of exclusive stakeholders are assembled to design and construct the building while the goals and expected outcomes differ for each project. You may still have the tools (i.e. bow and arrow) and can aim just like you did on the last project ….... but chances are that the various stakeholders will aim toward different target points and the owner will end up with a facility that falls short of their expectation.
Commissioning helps to align all project stakeholders toward the same target.
The commissioning process does not need to be intrusive. A skillful Commissioning Authority integrates themselves with the project stakeholders. They become part of the team to implement a quality process that consistently communicates the owner’s goals, monitors the project, and tests its performance. In fact, many aspects of the commissioning process are already incorporated into a normal construction project. It is, however, those few items that are either overlooked, uncoordinated, or pushed aside that de-rate building performance and increase both first and operating costs.
A solid quality process that brings together disparate project stakeholders to deliver a project that performs as intended and provides the knowledge to maintain/improve performance over the facility lifecycle is a value add to any project. Heightened performance and reduced operating costs usually cover the cost of Commissioning within the first year of a building's operation.