COMMISSIONING PLAN | What, Why, When, How with Template

May 22, 2023 |

A Commissioning Plan is a written document outlining the steps, tasks, activities, and responsibilities to be conducted and adhered to, ensuring that the overall project commissioning process is understood and delivered by all parties involved.

Usually created by the Commissioning Agent or General/Main Contractor, it is used as an aid to guide the team, ensuring that a building’s systems are programmed, sequenced, strategized, designed, installed, tested, verified, documented, handed over, and operating in line with the Owners Project Requirements [OPR].

The document will cover the following:

  • The process to be adopted,
  • Tasks and activities,
  • Team structure,
  • Responsibilities of the team members,
  • Communication channels,
  • Documentation,
  • Reporting,
  • Training,
  • Commissioning programme/schedule.
Building Commissioning Plan Explanation, Example and Template

🟩 Other Names for a Commissioning Plan

Through the years, we have heard and come across other terms that reference the document, such as:

  • Cx Plan
  • Testing and Commissioning Plan
  • HVAC Commissioning Plan
  • AC Commissioning Plan
  • Building Commissioning Plan
  • MEP Testing and Commissioning Plan
  • LEED Commissioning Plan
  • Total Building Commissioning Plan

These are all the same document.

🟩 Why write a plan?

There are a few reasons to write a Cx Plan:

  • to ensure that the whole project team involved in the commissioning process fully understands their roles and responsibilities, ensuring that its a success and the building, upon handover, is designed, installed, tested, verified, documented, and operating in line with the Owners Project Requirements [OPR],
  • to meet Green Building expectations, such as LEED if being utilized on a project, as it usually is a requirement under the commissioning requirements section,
  • to meet client-specific requirements, mainly if they stipulate commissioning processes such as ACG, ASHRAE, BCxA, BSRIA, CIBSE, NEBB. A commissioning plan forms part of those requirements.
Commissioning Plan Template [MS Word]

To ensure that project commissioning is delivered to a high standard, a quality detailed Commissioning Plan is required.

It provides and helps the project to understand, control, and complete the required tasks from the process, documentation, programming, reporting, meetings, workshops, handover, etc including clearly defining the responsibilities of each party involved [Client, CxA, Designer, Main/General Contrator]

It's useable from the minute you open it.

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Buy Here | $19.99

🟩 Responsibility Matrix

To create, write, update and approve the commissioning plan, several people and consultants will be involved, depending on the stage as noted below:

Pre-Design Stage Cx PlanCxAWrite
MEP DesignerConsulted
General/Main ContractorConsulted
MEP ContractorInformed
Design Stage Cx PlanCxAUpdate
MEP DesignerConsulated
General/Main ContractorConsulted
MEP ContractorInformed
Construction Stage Cx PlanCxAApprove
MEP DesignerConsulated
General/Main ContractorUpdate
MEP ContractorInformed
Handover Stage Cx PlanCxAApprove
MEP DesignerConsulted
General/Main ContractorUpdate
MEP ContractorInformed

🟩 When is it Issued and Updated?

As can be seen in the responsibility matrix above, the plan will be created, written, and updated at the following times [in line with the overall project commissioning process]:

Cx Pre-Design StageTo be written along side the development of the Owners Project Requirement Document [OPR] and Basis of Design [BOD].

At this stage the document will detail the baseline of the overall process that will be developed over the next stages.
Cx Design StageThe document will be developed further from the Pre-Design Stage.

Adding more detailed information and expanding on the overall process and requirements, based on the overall design and anything that may require changes from the commissionability reviews etc.
Cx Construction StageAs the general/main contractor develops their construction information, the plan will be updated to reflect this stage of the project.

Team organigrams are finalized, agreement on documents and strategies etc.
Cx Handover StageDuring the final stage of the commissioning process the 'final' cx plan is updated and issued within the overall handover documentation / operating and maintenance manuals.
Other articles that we have written and are referenced here that can be read:

BUILDING COMMISSIONING | Why it’s Important & Benefits…

4 DIFFERENT TYPES | of Building Commissioning
THE COMMISSIONING PROCESS | Explained [with download flow]


TRAINING MANUAL | for Operational Staff at Handover [with template]

🟩 How Do You Write and Develop a Cx Plan?

The best way to write and develop the plan is to use a template, but if this is not available and you are starting from scratch, you can use the five steps below:

🟧 Step 1: Understand Responsibilities

Using the ‘Responsibility Matrix’ above, complete the table with the ‘actual’ project requirements.

This will allow you and the project to understand who is doing what and when clearly.

🟧 Step 2: Commissioning Plan Template Format

The next step is to create the ‘Index’ of the document, detailing what is expected to be included within the final document.

🚀 The ASHRAE Commissioning Process document can be referred to for this or use the template below, which uses it as a base and adds more specific items that we feel are needed to be covered.

3Project Information
6Important Information
7Commissioning Team Information
8General Communication
9Commissioning Process Activities / Roles and Responsibilities
9.1Stage 1: Pre-Design Stage & Responsibilities
9.2Stage 2: Design Stage & Responsibilities
9.3Stage 3: Construction Stage & Responsibilities
9.3.13a. Pre-Construction
9.3.23b. Construction
9.3.33c. Commissioning
9.4Stage 4: Occupancy & Operations Stage & Responsibilities
9.5Stage 5: Continuous Commissioning
10Commissioning Documentation
10.1Code/Guides & Standards
10.2Project Specifications
10.3Project Drawings [Layouts/Schematics]
10.4Project Control Logics
10.5BMS Points List
10.6BMS Graphics
10.7Discrimination Study Report
10.8Arc Flash Report
10.9Project Fire Report
10.1Project Fire Cause and Effect Matrix
10.11Commissioning Plan
10.12Commissioning Specification
10.13Documentation Review and Sampling Rate
10.14Commissioning Documentation Numbering System
10.15Electronic Filing Systems
10.16Hard Copy Filing Systems
10.17Calibration Certification
11Factory Testing
11.1Factory Testing Witnessing and Sampling Rate
11.2Factory Testing Method Statements
11.3Notification of Factory Test
11.4Factory Testing Reporting
12Pre Commissioning
13Functional Testing
13.1Functional Test Witnessing and Sampling Rate
13.2Functional Testing Method Statements
13.3Notification of Functional Test
13.4Functional Retesting
13.5Commissioning Certification
14Systems Requiring to be Commissioned / Tested
15Training Plan & Records
16Peak Season Testing
17Building Integrated Testing
18Warranty Review
19Lessons Learned
20Commissioning Programme
20.1Commissioning Programme and Sequence of Works
20.22 Week Look Ahead
20.3Daily Schedule
20.4Early Handover of Areas
20.5Recovery Programme
21Commissioning Meetings
21.1Commissioning Kick-Off Meeting
21.2Commissioning Bi-Weekly Meeting
21.3Weekly Commissioning Meeting
21.4Construction Meetings
22Commissioning Workshops
22.1Documentation Numbering Workshop
22.2Controls Logic / Sequence of Operation Workshops
23Commissioning Reports
23.1Weekly Progress Reports
23.2Monthly Progress Reports
23.3Final Commissioning Report
23.4Systems Manual
23.5Building Log Book
24.1Commissioning Risk Register
24.2Commissioning Issues Log
24.3Request for Information Log
24.4Variation Log
24.5Asset Register Log
25Resource Levels
Appendix AOwner's Project Requirements [OPR]
Appendix BBasis of Design Document [BOD]
Appendix CProject Specifications
Appendix DCommissioning Team Organigram
Appendix ECommissioning Process Flow Chart
Appendix FCommissioning / Construction Check Lists
Appendix GCommissioning Stage Sign-Off Certificates
Appendix HDrawing Register
Appendix IControl Logic Register

🟧 Step 3: Obtain Information

The following information should be obtained and reviewed to allow the information to be correct, relevant, and specific for the Project and inclusion within the Commissioning Plan.

The information should be pretty easy to obtain and can usually be located in,

  • the tender,
  • the schematic design,
  • the detailed design,
  • commissioning studies, and
  • reviews

Below is a table detailing the main items of information that could be referenced, the reason why we reference it, and where the information can usually be found:

IDInformationReasonWhere to find
1Commissioning Process the Construction is requiringTo allow the Commissioning Process to be written and determinedOwner's Project Requirements Document [OPR]
2Building Type and informationTo complete the information about the projectOwner's Project Requirement Document [OPR]
3Project SpecificationsFor general reviewFrom MEP&F Designer
4Owner’s Project Requirements [OPR]For a general review of the Owner’s expectationsFrom the Client Team,

But should be within Commissioning Consultant documents
5Basis of Design DocumentTo understand what the MEP&F design is based uponFrom Design Team,

But should be within Commissioning Consultant documents
6Layout DrawingsFor a general review of systems etcMEP&F Designer
7Schematic DrawingsFor a general review of systems etcMEP&F Designer
8Control Logic and Sequence of Operation of Plant / EquipmentFor a review of how systems will operateDrawings

The sequence of Operation Matrix

MEP&F Designer
9Project Programme and DatesTo allow initial Commissioning Programmes etc to be developedGeneral Project Programme



Project Manager
10Project Team Information/Contact detailsTo allow completion of the roles and responsibilities and contact information etcContact Schedules

Spread Sheets


Project Manager
11Documentation ProtocolsTo allow understanding of the project process expectations for issuing and reviewing documentsOPR

Project Protocol Documents


Project Manager
12List of equipment to be Factory TestedTo allow inclusion in the documentOPR

MEP&F Specifications
13% of Witnessing Expected for all Systems and EquipmentTo allow detailing of requirementsOPR
14Owner Novated Contractors or VendorsTo include for referenceOPR
15Specific Document Numbering RequirementsTo ensure all documents relating to Testing and Commissioning are noted for reference.OPR

Project Protocol Documents
16Requirements for any Peak Season TestingTo allow to be includedOPR

MEP&F Specification
17Building IST Testing RequirementsTo allow to be includedOPR

MEP&F Specifications
18Building Enclosure Testing RequirementsTo allow to be includedOPR

MEP&F Specifications

Green Building Requirements
19Any LEED / Green Building RequirementsTo allow to be included and adjust any commissioning requirements to coverOPR
Buy All 122No. Site Commissioning Documents

We have been asked several times to create a complete document package covering everything we have uploaded to the site.

So it's taken some time, but here it is....122No. Documents for you to download in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel & PDF Formats.


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🟧 Step 4: Review the Information

Once all the information has been gathered, it is then that we can start to review it and start to write the Cx Plan.

The aim here is to evaluate/review the information making notes and observations of anything that will help.

We use the following order of review, which allows us to complete the Sections as noted [from Step 2 above]:

IDInformation ReviewedSection of Cx Plan
1Owner's Project Requirements [OPR]3.0 - Project Information

4.0 - References

6.0 - Important Information

9.0 - Commissioning Process

10.1 - Code/Guides/Standards

10.4 - Project Controls

10.5 - BMS Points

10.6 - BMS Graphics

10.7 - Fire Cause and Effect Matrix

10.13 - Document Sampling Rate

10.14 - Numbering Systems

10.15 - Electronic Filing Systems

10.16 - Hard Copy Filing Systems

11.0 - Factory Testing

11.4 - Factory Testing Report Format

13.1 - Functional Testing Witness and Sampling

15.0 - Training Requirements

20.0 - Project Programme

Appendix A - Owner's Project Requirements
2MEP&F Designer Project Specifications4.0 - References

6.0 - Important Information

10.1 - Code/Guides/Standards

10.2 - Project Specifications

10.5 - BMS Points List

10.6 - BMS Graphics

10.10 - Fire Cause and Effect Matrix

11.0 - Factory Testing

14.0 - Systems to be Commissioned

15.0 - Training Requirements

18.0 - Warranties

Appendix C - Project Specifications
3Basis of Design Document4.0 - References

6.0 - Important Information

10.1 - Code/Guides/Standards

10.5 - BMS Points List

10.6 - BMS Graphics

10.10 - Fire Cause and Effect Matrix

11.0 - Factory Testing

14.0 - Systems to be Commissioned

15.0 - Training Requirements

18.0 - Warranties

Appendix B - Basis of Design Document
4Schematic Drawings, Layout Drawings, Control Logics6.0 - Important Information

10.3 - Project Drawings

11.1 - Factory Testing

11.2 - Factory Testing Method Statements

12.0 - Pre-Commissioning

13.2 - Functional Testing Method Statements

14.0 - Systems Required to be Commissioned

15.0 - Training Plan and Records

16.0 - Peak System Testing

17.0 - Building Load Testing

20.1 - Commissioning Programme & Sequences

22.2 - Control Logics/Sequence of Operation Workshops

24.5 - Asset Register Log

Appendix F - Commissioning/Construction Checklists

🟧 Step 5: Write the Plan & Issue

Once all the information has been reviewed and notes made, proceed to write the plan.

Once the Owner/Client Team accepts, issue to the project/contractors via the Tender Documents or, if the Commissioning Consultant is not involved in the project’s early stages, issue via document issuing protocols.

Ensure the document is updated throughout the project in line with the above section ‘When is it Issued and Updated’.

🟩 Word or Excel?

Depending on the project’s preferences, either software can create the Commissioning Plan.

We usually create in Microsoft Word as it is more manageable and formatting is much easier.

⬜ Commissioning Plan Template and Download

To help us expand the site and create more resources, we created the documentation below in [Microsoft Word] for download.

Click the ‘Buy Here‘ button to purchase the fully editable copy of the document below, which can be used immediately.

You will direct to our shop page.

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