Meet Performance Objectives  

the WBDG Functional / Operational Committee



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

  • 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

Review "Lessons Learned" to leverage corporate knowledge and assure past mistakes are not repeated

Institute a Project Delivery Quality Assurance (QA) Program

Computer monitory display of Environmental Management System

This Environmental Management System (EMS) enables facilities engineering personnel to maintain comfort and ventilation levels at the high standards set by the stakeholders at the beginning of the project.

  • 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

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 and search 'post occupancy evaluation.'
  • Use prototypes to evaluate the performance of designs to be repeated.
  • Assure functional reliability through continued monitoring and analysis, and acting to correct degradation. OMSI (Operations & Maintenance Support Information) is NOT monitoring and analysis. It is the "Operating Manual" so to speak. More

Related Issues

Over the course of 10 years post commissioning, good monitoring, diagnostics and verification remained steady from 100-120% realized estimated savings at the beginnin of the 10 years to 20-24 cents/year saved per dollar spent on retrofit at the end of the 10 year span. Poor monitoring, diagnostics and verification declined from 80-100% realized estimated savings at the beginning of the 10 years to 8-16 cents/year saved per dollar spent on retrofit at the end of the 10 years. The average is set at 145% for continuous commissioning.

Savings from Continuous Commissioning Program in laboratory building at Texas A&M University

Relevant Codes and Standards

  • ASTM Standards on Whole Building Functionality and Serviceability (2009)

Additional Resources


Building Types / Space Types

Applicable to all Building Types and Space Types

Design Objectives

Accessible, Aesthetics, Cost-Effective, Productive, Safe / Secure, Sustainable





  • 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.