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Meeting performance objectives is a sustained effort from inception and planning, through turnover and operation, to assure the delivery of a project that satisfies all of the owner's functional requirements for the building and psychological requisites for space users. Total Building Commissioning (TBCx) is one such quality assurance process that takes all the systems of the "Whole Building" into account to assure that the building performs as intended. There are many aspects involved in assuring performance objectives are met; from assembling a qualified project delivery team; to adequately coordinating team member roles and responsibilities to instituting systematic quality assurance programs. See WBDG Building Commissioning.
The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) NIBS Total Building Commissioning Program is currently working with industry organizations to develop HVAC commissioning guidelines for various systems and assemblies.
The ability of a building to perform in a way that fully meets an owner's functional expectations and the psychological needs of its users—both qualitative and quantitative—requires a coordinated effort by a multi-disciplined team of experts who understand and apply a 'Whole Building' design approach.
Some practical ways to approach developing a proactive performance assurance program for a project include:
- Assure that appropriate programming occurs;
- Establish design objectives and priorities that will drive design concepts;
- Review "Lessons Learned" to leverage corporate knowledge and assure past mistakes are not repeated;
- Institute a project delivery quality assurance (QA) program;
- Understand the role of Facility Management and Operations; and
Assure that Appropriate Programming Occurs
- Facilitate discussions with key stakeholders in establishing project requirements and goals.
- Facilitate a high level of communication between project team members during programming and throughout the facility development process.
- Identify mission critical programs and requirements.
- Clearly describe all functional needs and design intents.
- Communicate owners' special knowledge of what works well and what does not.
- Document all performance expectations.
- Address information technology (IT) and communication needs—both current and future.
- Incorporate infrastructure capability in the present that will accommodate and adapt for the programmatic needs of the future.
Establish Design Objectives and Priorities that will Drive Design Concepts
- Set performance goals for both building envelope and building systems.
- Look for unique aspects of the project to feature and enhance.
- Reconcile conflicting priorities (i.e. physical security vs. fire safety needs).
- Define qualitative and quantitative performance measures (e.g., design for sustainability, maintainability, functionality, etc.)
Review "Lessons Learned" to leverage corporate knowledge and assure past mistakes are not repeated
- Several organizations have compiled "Lessons Learned" on past projects and related information that are available in the following resources.
- GSA Lessons Learned Public Buildings Service, Office of Facilities Management and Services Program
- GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool
- NAVFAC Facility Quality Survey [requires NAVFAC account access]
- Comprehensive Facility Operation & Maintenance Manual
- VA Technical Information Library
- VA Design Alerts & Quality Alerts
- Establish systems design criteria that match the owner's maintenance capabilities
Institute a Project Delivery Quality Assurance (QA) Program
- Conduct thorough owner reviews of A-E designs and documentation.
- Track critical decisions to focus on design intents.
- Establish owner's measurable quality standards and metrics for performance expectations.
- Identify owner's tests and certification expectations.
- Hire an owner's representative, if necessary, to oversee performance assurance.
- Focus enhanced performance assurance measures on mission critical systems and features. Use the building commissioning process, as appropriate.
- Include training of facility operators on the interdependent function of systems integration.
Understand the Role of Facility Management and Operations
- Involve O&M staff in all design phases. See WBDG Aesthetics—Engage the Integrated Design Process.
- Bring forward special knowledge and experiences of O&M staff into the design phases.
- Anticipate what it will take to maintain and operate the facility. See WBDG Sustainable—Optimize O&M Practices.
- Perform energy analysis in design phases; make sure operating budgets are addressed. See also WBDG Sustainable O&M Practices.
- Consider the unique aspects of operations and maintenance for historic structures. See WBDG Operations and Maintenance for Historic Structures
- Include O&M stakeholders as partners in the performance optimization program.
- Document O&M procedures that contribute to optimal facility performance.
Use Facility Performance Evaluations (FPE's)
- Seek feedback from users and include it in performance optimization efforts through Post-Occupancy Evaluations. AIA has post occupancy evaluations. Go to www.aia.org and search 'post occupancy evaluation.'
- Use prototypes to evaluate the performance of designs to be repeated.
- Building Information Modeling, which includes systems information
- Building Commissioning procedures
- Total Building Commissioning
- Re-commissioning and Retro Commissioning
- Continuous Commissioning
- Computer-Aided modeling for predicting performance
- International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP)
- Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM)
Relevant Codes and Standards
Building Types / Space Types
- Adding Value to the Facility Acquisition Process: Best Practices for Reviewing Facility Designs by Ralph S. Spillinger in conjunction with the Federal Facilities Council, Standing Committee on Organizational Performance and Metrics, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000. Report #139.
- Architecture in Use: An Introduction to the Programming, Design and Evaluation of Buildings by Theo JM van der Voordt and Herman BR van Wegen. New York: Elsevier, 2005.
- ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005: The Commissioning Process
- ASHRAE Guideline 1.1-2007: HVAC&R Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process
- Assessing Building Performance by Wolfgang Preiser and Jacqueline Vischer. New York: Elsevier, 2005.
- Federal Facilities Council (FFC) Technical Report No. 145, Appendix A, Functionality and Serviceability Standards: Tools for Stating Functional Requirements and for Evaluating Facilities.
- Journal of Architectural and Planning Research (Vol. 1-18) edited by Andrew Seidel. Locke Science Publishing Co.
- Learning From Our Buildings by the Federal Facilities Council. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002.
- NIBS Guideline 3-2012: Building Enclosure Commissioning Process BECx
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
- Building Commissioning Association (BCA)
- International Facility Management Association (IFMA)
- National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS)
- GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool (SFTool)—SFTool's immersive virtual environment addresses all your sustainability planning, designing and procurement needs.
- Building Commissioning: Ensuring High Performance Green Buildings—Building Commissioning helps prevent building failures and optimizes performance by creating a documented process that ensures quality throughout programming, design, construction and operation. This course provides an overview of building commissioning and includes model documents for requests for qualifications, contracts, and training protocols.