- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 19 Mar 2018
Commissioning building systems
‘…the advancement of a fixed building service after all or part of the system has been installed, replaced or altered. The system is taken from a state of static completion to working order. Testing and adjusting, as necessary, ensure that the whole system uses no more fuel and power than is reasonable in the circumstances, without compromising the need to comply with health and safety requirements.
'For each system, commissioning includes the following: setting-to-work; regulation (that is, testing and adjusting repetitively) to achieve the specified performance; calibration, setting up and testing of the associated automatic control systems; and recording of the system settings and the performance test results that have been accepted as satisfactory.’
- Heating, cooling and ventilation systems.
- Water supply and sanitation.
- Fire detection and protection systems.
- Information and communications technology (ICT) systems.
- Security systems.
- Facilities management systems.
- Process plant.
- Lifting equipment and escalators.
- Acoustic and vibration appraisals.
The contract documents should set out:
- Who will be responsible for commissioning different building services.
- What methods, standards and codes of practice are to be used.
- What should happen to test results.
- Whether commissioning is to be witnessed and if so, whom.
- The documentation that is required.
- Provide general information about the project.
- Identify the commissioning team members for each stage of the commissioning process.
- Define roles and responsibilities for each commissioning team member.
- Identify the systems to be commissioned.
- Create a schedule of commissioning activities for each stage of the process.
- Establish documentation requirements associated with the commissioning process.
Commissioning activities may include:
- Ensuring client access and providing client training and demonstrations.
- Completing operating and maintenance manuals, record drawings, software and test certification.
- Obtaining statutory approvals and insurance approvals.
- Manufacturers work testing.
- Component testing.
- Pre-commissioning tests.
- Set to work: this is the process of switching on (i.e. setting to work) items such as fans and motors to ensure that they are operating as specified (for example checking that fans are turning the right way).
- Balancing: this follows setting to work and involves looking at whole systems (rather than individual components) to ensure that they are properly balanced (i.e. water is coming out of all the taps at the correct pressure, air is coming out of the correct diffusers, etc).
- Commissioning checks and performance testing.
- Post commissioning checks and fine tuning during occupancy.
NB: The building regulations require that a commissioning notice is given to the relevant building control body (BCB) confirming that commissioning has been carried out according to a procedure approved by the Secretary of State. See Commissioning notice for more information.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Advantages of shell and core.
- BREEAM seasonal commissioning.
- Client commissioning.
- Commissioning documents.
- Commissioning notice.
- Commissioning plan.
- Commissioning planning.
- Commissioning v testing.
- Corrosion in heating and cooling systems.
- Handover to client.
- Initial commissioning case studies.
- Migration strategy.
- Practical completion.
- Seasonal and continuous commissioning.
- Soft landings.
Featured articles and news
Six things civil engineers could do to ensure the success of projects.
Dublin housing crisis restricts employers' ability to recruit, according to new U+I research.
Intricate inlays and beautiful patterns can be created with waterjet cutting.
Two historic quarries in environmentally sensitive areas were reopened to repair Exeter Cathedral.
The phrase ‘time at large’ describes the situation where there is no date for completion, or it has become invalid.
The Maldives is under threat from climate change. Read this report from BRE on their potential involvement in the region.
MHCLG update states there are still 124 private high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding and no remediation plan.
Starting a new built environment degree? We have a wide range of resources aimed at students.
Former railway chief James Blake says trust and control are key to successful infrastructure projects.
Do you know your Rococo from your De Stijl, your Gothic from your Post-modernist?