Specifying Commissioning Using SpecLink

SpecLink commissioning provisions are based on the assumption that an independent Commissioning Authority will be engaged to prepare the Commissioning Plan, Commissioning Schedule, and the Training Plan; conduct reviews of the O&M data; prepare and approve Prefunctional Checklists; and prepare Functional Test procedures and witness Functional Tests. The Contractor is responsible for startup reports, filling out and submitting the Prefunctional Checklists, and performing Functional Tests on each item to be commissioned. Utilizing this procedure would achieve the commissioning prerequisite and credit for LEED Certification.

Prefunctional Checklists are detailed forms that the Contractor must fill out, verifying that the work is installed in accordance with the Contract Documents and the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions and that it receives adequate operational checkout prior to startup. These are usually more detailed than manufacturers’ typical startup checklists because they include prerequisites and related issues that the manufacturers are usually not concerned with.

Functional Tests are live tests on the fully checked out, started up, and operational systems and equipment, to verify and document that functional performance is in accordance with the Contract Documents. The Commissioning Authority prepares step-by-step test procedures for the Contractor and forms to document the tests, for the Commissioning Authority’s own use.

The responsibilities defined in these sections are based on the Model Commissioning Specifications of Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. (PECI), which were developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The Model Specifications can be found at www.peci.org/library/mcpgs.htm. Much of the content of the Model Specifications is included in the new and existing SpecLink sections listed above, although the organization has been modified to fit the existing SpecLink section organization. One particular exception, though, is that we did not add the sample Prefunctional Checklists or Functional Test procedures to SpecLink, but instead have referenced the PECI website for the Contractor’s information.

These sections allow for the probability that the Commissioning Plan, Prefunctional Checklists, and Functional Test procedures are not complete at the time of award of the construction contract. The main reason for this is that the preparation requires a considerable amount of work, customized to the particular building systems that are specified. In addition, a certain amount of that customization must wait until the actual equipment to be installed has been identified. To compensate for lack of information at bid time, the specifications call for a detailed list of all Checklists and Test procedures to be included in the specification and references samples for more information. Despite this, the Contractor may still not know exactly what must be done. The more completely the scope and extent of Functional Testing can be defined in the contract documents, the less likely change orders may be necessary. Functional Testing can be added to any section where it would be applicable.

Specifying Commissioning:

Step 1 - Edit the General Requirements: Two non-printing checklists are included ( * ) to aid in establishing the proper contractual relationships, submittal procedures and timing. Read 01 9113 (01810) General Commissioning Requirements and 01 9114 (01815) Commissioning Authority Responsibilities. The Master Text Copy of these will include the non-printing checklists. Then execute the checklists and review the result.

Step 2 - Specify the Scope: The scope of the work to be commissioned must be defined, either by using the list in Section 01 9113 (01810), or by mentioning commissioning in every section that applies.

Step 3 - Provide Enough Detail on Functional Testing: Testing the HVAC control system is defined in Section 23 0800 (15012). Other Functional Tests should be defined in the section where the equipment is specified. PECI’s Model specifications (see below) include some samples. If it’s too hard to define Functional Test procedures prior to issuing bidding documents, Section 01 9113 (01810) includes two alternatives that give the Contractor some idea of the degree of detail anticipated:

  • a list of the Test procedures to be developed, and
  • reference to the PECI sample test procedures on the web.