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

Last Updated: August 29, 2023, by

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.

🟩 Why write a Commissioning 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.

🟩 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.

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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🟩 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:

Task/ActivityRoleResponsibility
Pre-Design Stage Cx PlanCxAWrite
OwnerApprove
MEP DesignerConsulted
General/Main ContractorConsulted
MEP ContractorInformed
VendorsInformed
Design Stage Cx PlanCxAUpdate
OwnerApprove
MEP DesignerConsulated
General/Main ContractorConsulted
MEP ContractorInformed
VendorsInformed
Construction Stage Cx PlanCxAApprove
OwnerInformed
MEP DesignerConsulated
General/Main ContractorUpdate
MEP ContractorInformed
VendorsInformed
Handover Stage Cx PlanCxAApprove
OwnerInformed
MEP DesignerConsulted
General/Main ContractorUpdate
MEP ContractorInformed
VendorsInformed

🟩 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]:

StageInformation
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]

OWNER’S PROJECT REQUIREMENT | [OPR] What is it & Template

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.

πŸš€ 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.

SectionDescription
1.0Introduction
2.0Commissioning Delivery Overview
3.0Project Information
3.1.Roles
4.0Important Information
4.1Delivery Basis of Commissioning
4.2Developer/Main Contractor 3rd Party Commissioning Company
4.3Electrical Discrimination Protection Setting Study
4.4Regulations/Standards & Codes
4.5Guides/Good Practice
5.0Commissioning Team Information
5.1Owner Commissioning Team
5.2General Contractor Commissioning Team
6.0Communication Protocol
6.1.Stakeholders
6.2.Communication Channels
6.3.Communication Frequency
6.4.Escalation Procedures
6.5.Communication Templates
6.6.Language and Tone
6.7.Communication Review
7.0Commissioning Programme
7.1Fully Integrated and Coordinated
7.22 Week Look Ahead
7.3Daily Schedule
7.4Early Handover of Areas
7.5Recovery Programme
8.0Commissioning Meetings
8.1Commissioning Kick Off Meeting
8.2Design Review Meetings
8.3Controls Integration Meetings
8.4Pre-Construction Meetings
8.5Progress Review Meetings
8.6Functional Performance Testing Meetings
8.7Daily Catchup Meetings
8.8System Integration Meetings
8.9Training and Handover Meeting
8.10Lessons Learned Meeting
9.0Commissioning Reports
9.1Weekly Progress Reports
9.2Monthly Progress Reports
9.3Final Commissioning Report
9.4Systems Manual
9.5Building Log Book
10.0Commissioning Documents
10.1Submittal and Sampling Rates
10.2Numbering System of Documents
10.3Electronic Filing System
10.4Calibration Certification
10.5Documentation Workflow
10.6Types of Documents
11.0Draft List of Documents
11.1Pre-Design / Design Stage Documents
11.2Factory Testing Documents
11.3Pre-Commissioning Checklists & Functional Procedures
11.4Building Integrated Testing
11.5Handover Documents
11.6Others
12.0Electronic Platforms and Software
12.1Electronic Document Management Platform
12.2Electronic Commissioning Platform
13.0Tracking & Registers
13.1Commissioning Risk Register
13.2Commissioning Issues Log
13.3Request for Information Log
13.4Variation Log
13.5Asset Register Log
13.6Commissioning Document Register
13.7Commissioning Progress Tracker
14.0Resource Levels
15.0Factory Testing
15.1Factory Testing Witnessing and Sampling Rate
15.2Equipment to be Factory Tested
15.3Factory Testing Procedure Format
15.4Notification of Factory Test
15.5Factory Testing Report Format
16.0Onsite Works
16.1Sampling Rate
16.2Critical System & Components
16.3Non-Critical System & Components
16.4Pre-Commissioning
16.5Functional Testing
16.6Commissioning Certification
17.0Building Integrated Testing
17.1Building Integrated Testing Script Format
17.2Building Integrated Testing Report Format
18.0Peak Season Testing
19.0Training of Facility Staff
19.1Training Manual Format
19.2Training Roles & Responsibilities
19.3Training Methods
19.4Evaluation and Assessment
19.5Training Records
20.0Lessons Learned
21.0Warranty Review
22.0Commissioning Process Activities/Roles and Responsibilities
22.1Stage 1 - Pre-DEsign
22.2Stage 2 - Design
22.3Stage 3 - Construction
22.4Stage 4 - Occupancy & Operations
22.5Stage 5 - Continuous Operations
23.0Systems Required to be Commissioned
24.0Tools and Instruments
25.0Appendix A - Owners Project Requirements
26.0Appendix B - Basis of Design Document
27.0Appendix C - Project Specifications
28.0 Appendix D - Commissioning Team Organigram
29.0Appendix E - Commissioning Process Flow Chart
30.0Appendix F - Commissioning/Construction Checklists

🟧 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
4OwnerΒ’s Project Requirements [OPR]For a general review of the OwnerΒ’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

OPR

Client

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

Spread Sheets

Client

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

Project Protocol Documents

Client

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
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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 β€˜Buy Hereβ€˜ button to purchase the fully editable copy of the document below, which can be used immediately.

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