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.

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.

Total Building Commissioning (TBCx) is one 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) Commissioning Industry Leaders Council (CxILC) is currently working with industry organizations to develop HVAC commissioning guidelines for various systems and assemblies.


Some practical ways to approach developing a proactive performance assurance program for a project include:

Each of these topics is explored in more detail below.

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

Worker using an electronic to monitor interior construction

Electronic devices and tools can be used to design as well as construct and monitor and manage facilities once they are operational.

Institute a Project Delivery Quality Assurance (QA) Program

  • At the beginning of a project, document the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR). This document describes the project needs in terms of measureable quality standards and metrics for performance. The OPR will align with the goals, needs, and priorities established during the programming phase.
  • Hold design progress meetings on a regular basis. This helps the design to progress appropriately and facilitates communication among the owner, the design team, and other stakeholders.
  • Conduct periodic design reviews. Typical milestones for review occur during programming, schematic design, design development, and the construction document phase. Participants in the design review process should include the owner and/or owner's representatives, maintenance and operations personnel, as well as the design team. The review participants need to possess appropriate design and technical expertise necessary to review the design and offer input.
  • Hire an owner's representative, if necessary, to oversee performance assurance. The owner's representative should participate in design meetings and reviews. Some owners, such as state and federal agencies, large school districts, and other government entities, may have in-house representatives. If in-house representation is not available, consider hiring an owner's representative with design and construction knowledge.
  • Create a system to track design decisions. Communicate/distribute the decisions to all project team members.
  • As the design progresses, identify materials testing and project certification requirements. Include testing and certification requirements in the construction documents.
  • Also during the design phase, determine if the building will be commissioned. Identify the systems to be commissioned, procedures to be followed, and tests to be used in the commissioning process.
  • Prior to handing the building over to the owner, train facility operators on the building systems and interdependent functions.
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.

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

Additional Resources