Described + Tasks | LEED ENHANCED COMMISSIONING

December 29, 2022 |

LEED Enhanced Commissioning is a process completed under the U.S Green Building Council Pre-Requisite V4 BD+C New Construction, with its aim being the same as the Fundamental Commissioning purpose – ensuring that any systems related to energy, water, indoor environmental quality, and durability, upon handover, have full documented proof that they are designed, installed, set up, and operating as per their original design intent.

Within the guidelines of LEED there are a total of 2-6 points that can be gained from deploying and delivering an Enhanced Commissioning Process, 3 to 4 points are awarded by delivering the fundamental + enhanced process, 4 points for deploying a fundamental, enhanced and monitoring-based commissioning strategy, and 2 points can be gained from conducting envelope commissioning.

The commissioning process should be based upon and follow the ASHRAE Guideline-0 and ASHRAE Guideline-1.1 documents.

To read more on LEED Fundamental Commissioning see our article 'Described + Tasks | LEED FUNDAMENTAL COMMISSIONING'

What is the purpose of the LEED Enhanced Process?

The purpose of the LEED Enhanced Commissioning Process is to ensure that from the outset of the pre-design stage till 10 months after handover and seasonal testing – the reviewing, commissioning, training, setting up, and future operation of the building’s equipment and systems are carried out in a process-driven and methodical manner.

Then, upon handover to the facilities team, the building’s systems are operating efficiently and fully in line with the previously agreed design requirements, monitoring-based systems [if being used] are reporting the correct data, and there is documented proof of training.

Also, there are requirements to ensure that the building envelope is evaluated.

How many points does it provide?

Depending upon the options and paths driving for, LEED Enhanced Commissioning provides between 2 and 6 points.

TaskPoints Awarded
Enhanced Commissioning3 Points
Enhanced & Monitoring-Based Commissioning4 Points
Envelope Commissioning2 Points

What systems are covered under enhanced commissioning?

Not all systems that are installed within the building are to be included in this delivery. Below are details of the systems and items that should be covered:

  • Renewable Energy Systems
  • Domestic Hot Water Systems
  • Lighting Controls
  • Heating Systems
  • Ventilating Sytems
  • Air Conditioning Systems
  • Refrigeration Systems
  • Monitoring Based Commissioning [MBCx]
  • Building Envelope

Who are the parties involved in and responsible for the enhanced commissioning process?

While the complete construction project team has some input and responsibility to deliver the process, the overall responsibility to ensure it is done will usually fall to the client and independent commissioning agent [CxA]

When should the Commissioning Authority be employed?

The independent commissioning authority should be employed by the client no later than the project’s design development phase.

What is the selection procedure for employing a Commissioning Authority?

 When employing the CxA the client should ensure that the company and engineers working on the project are experienced in delivering a full commissioning process.

There are certain requirements stated by LEED Enhanced, being:

  • The CxA company and Engineers must be fully experienced with the Commissioning Process from the design stage to 10 months after occupancy. The experience should cover two projects with similar scopes and sizes.
  • The CxA can be one or all of the following:
    • A qualified employee of the owner/building operator,
    • An independent consultant,
    • An employee of the design or construction company, but who is not part of the projects design or construction team,
    • A disinterested contractor of the design or construction team.
    • For projects smaller than 20,000 square feet [1,860 square meters], the CxA can be a qualified design or construction team member.

What Steps need to be completed?

Between the client team and the commissioning agent [CxA], the following minimum tasks and activities should be completed to ensure that an enhanced commissioning process is delivered and adhered to; after these tasks, we detail the monitoring-based commissioning expectations and envelope commissioning:

Enhanced Commissioning Expectations [3-4 Points]

Delivering this stage is enough to gain 3-4 points under the LEED requirements.

| Step 1 – Develop the Owners Project Requirement Document

Completed by the Client and CxA, the objective of the Owners Project Requirement Document or [OPR] is to provide the basis from which all design, construction, acceptance, and operational decisions are made; it should be agreed upon and in place before the Basis of Design Document [BOD] being written, Commissioning Plan and other Commissioning / Project Documents.

Ensure to include the Building Enclosure/Envelope commissioning requirements. This is to be completed in line with the following documents:

To read more on this, see our article 'OWNER'S PROJECT REQUIREMENT | [OPR] What is it?'

| Step 2- Develop the Basis of Design Document

Sometimes referred to as the BOD and completed by the MEP Designer, it is a document created at the beginning of a project by the design team to document that the projects concept, calculations, decisions, products, equipment, system selections, regulations, standards, codes, and guidelines meet the Owners Project Requirement Document [OPR].

To read more on this, see our article 'BASIS OF DESIGN | [BOD] How to Write'

| Step 3 – Review and Approve the OPR & BOD

The commissioning agent [CxA] should ensure that the Owners Project Requirement and Basis of Design Document is reviewed and approved by the team.

| Step 4 – Complete Design Review

The commissioning authority should ensure that the commissioning team completes a full review of the design to ensure that once the systems are built, they can be commissioned and set up in line with the design requirements.

| Step 5 – Write the Commissioning Plan

The commissioning agent will write and issue the commissioning plan.

This document aims to set out to all parties the commissioning process, activities, strategies, sequences, project schedules, documentation, and responsibilities for a project from the outset. It will usually be created and maintained/updated by the Commissioning Provider/Authority [CxP/CxA].

Once the Plan is issued, the project’s commissioning element will be managed quite effectively via clear goals and processes.

To read more on this see our article 'COMMISSIONING PLAN | What, Why, When, How with Template'

| Step 6 – Incorporate Commissioning Requirements into the Construction Documents

The commissioning agent should ensure that prior to the issue of the construction documents to the general/main contractor, they clearly convey the commissioning requirements.

The best way to do this would be to ensure the following are included:

  • The Commissioning Plan,
  • The Commissioning Specifications,
  • A clear understanding of the Commissioning Process from Pre-Design to Continuous Commissioning,
  • A detailed Commissioning Process Flow Chart,
  • Commissioning Activities and Task Responsibility Matrix,
  • List of Systems and Equipment that should be Factory Tested,
  • List of Systems and Equipment that should be Site Tested,
  • Expectations to the Creating, Issuing, and Maintaining the Commissioning Documentation for Handover,
  • Systems Manual requirements,
  • Operating and Maintenance Manual requirements,
  • Operator Training requirements.
  • Occupant Training requirements.

| Step 7 – Develop the Construction Checklists

Part of the Commissioning Process as noted by ASHRAE Guideline 1.1, is for the project to create and complete 3 types of checklists throughout the activities:

  • Pre-Design Checklists
  • Design Checklists
  • Construction Checklists.
To read more on these checklists, see our article 'COMMISSIONING CHECKLISTS | the 3 types explained and listed'.

Within this article are examples of many construction checklists that can be used.

| Step 8 – Review Contractor Submittals

A full commissioning ability review of all submittals made by the contractor and vendors should be completed by the Commissioning Agent, items that should be covered include:

  • Design Drawings
  • Layout drawings,
  • Schematic Drawings,
  • Detail Drawings,
  • Plant and Equipment Schedules,
  • Material/Technical Submittals,
  • BMS Points List,
  • Discrimination Study,
  • Method Statements,
  • Testing Procedure,
  • Work Permits,
  • Plant Settings,
  • Final Testing Data,
  • O&M Manual,
  • As-Built Drawings
  • Seasonal Testing Documents

| Step 9 – Develop and Manage all Functional Testing Procedures

The Commissioning Agent/Main/General Contractor should ensure all Functional Testing Procedures or Factory/Site Acceptance Method Statements are written and issued for review/approval when required in the relevant commissioning process step.

To understand more about this requirement see our article 'HOW TO WRITE | A Method Statement'

| Step 10 – Verify and Witness System Tests

Once all the relevant method statements and functional testing documents are approved, the Commissioning Agent should ensure that they verify that the testing has been conducted in line with the requirements.

Verification can be done via three methods:

  • Physical onsite verification as per the project sampling rates.
  • Documentation review, after testing, has been completed.
  • Hybrid of both part physical and part documentation.

| Step 11 – Maintain Issues Register

The CxA should ensure that all commissioning observations/issues are captured on an issues register and fully managed to completion/closeout before handover.

This register can also be a valuable reference for the lessons learned document that would usually be produced and completed at the end of the building commissioning process.

To understand more about Commissioning Issue Logs see our Article: COMMISSIONING ISSUES LOG | Explained wiht Template

| Step 12 – Write and manage Weekly / Monthly / Final Reports

Weekly / Monthly Reports

To keep the client and project/construction team up to date throughout the project, the CxA should write and issue regular commissioning reports.

It would usually be expected that in the early stages of the project, Monthly Reports would be issued when the project commissioning activities get busier, and a Weekly and Monthly Reports would be issued.

Final Commissioning Report

will be written and issued by the commissioning agent [CxA] and is created to provide a full historical document of the commissioning process for any future reference needed for the building’s operation.

If would like more information on this report, its format, and what should be included see our article 'COMMISSIONING REPORTS | Final Commissioning Report'

| Step 13 – Create a Systems Manual

The commissioning authority should manage, write and issue a ‘Systems Manual’ that contains the information necessary to operate the building efficiently.

The manual should include the following:

  • The sequence of operations and control logic for the building and its systems,
  • The building occupancy schedule,
  • All running equipment timers and schedules,
  • Settings and setpoints for all HVAC equipment include any differences between the seasons and days of the week.
  • Lighting levels throughout the building;
  • Minimum outside air requirements;
  • A description of the mechanical and electrical systems and equipment within the building and how they operate;
  • Include a preventive maintenance plan for building equipment,
  • Periodic commissioning requirements include all expected ongoing commissioning tasks, continuous commissioning, and monitoring-based commissioning tasks for the facilities.

| Step 14 – Verify Operator and Occupant Training Delivery

Throughout the project, the client team and commissioning agent should ensure that all training has been planned and delivered in line with the project requirements.

The training will be aimed at the building operator and occupants to ensure that they fully understand how all equipment and systems operate upon handover of the facility.

To read more on training and see a Training Manual Template see our article: 'TRAINING MANUAL | for Operational Staff at Handover [with template]'

| Step 15 – Plan and Manage the Delivery of Seasonal Testing

Depending upon where in the world and what time of year the initial commissioning works are completed, the installed equipment may not have been fully commissioned or proven.

This could be that the heating system was commissioned in the summer or the air conditioning in the winter.

Where this happens, there will usually be a requirement for additional testing to be completed during the high load months, referred to as ‘Seasonal Testing or Peak Load Testing.

This work should be specified and planned out from the beginning of a project as it can considerably impact the systems, mainly if the building is occupied; permits will usually be required. Resources must be called back to the project to complete the work.

| Step 16 – Develop an Ongoing Commissioning Plan

The commissioning agent should write and issue the building operations team an ‘ongoing commissioning plan’ [OCx] for the facility.

This plan should focus on energy usage reduction by optimizing and sustaining the performance of the building via investigation, analysis, and monitoring of the building’s systems.

Other areas that are also reviewed are the occupant’s comfort.

To complete the work will usually use a manual method or make it a lot more efficient and accurate by using a ‘fault detection/monitoring based commissioning system’ [MBCx].

| Step 17 – Complete 10-month Review

This review is completed ten months after the handover of the project and within the defects liability/warranty period to understand the following:

  • That the energy usage of the building is in line with the original design or if any investigations need to be conducted,
  • All settings set points, and timers align with the original requirements. If not, understand why have been changed,
  • Review of BMS trends and note / investigate any findings,
  • Interview the building operations team to understand if there are any items needing to be addressed,
  • Interview some of the occupants to understand if there are any issues from a users point of view,
  • Review the original project issues register to ensure all items have been closed out.
  • Update the System Manual with any findings or changes that have been made.

Any items noted should be addressed and closed out with the original construction and design teams before the project liability period concluding.

Enhanced + Monitoring-Based Commissioning [4 points]

Delivering an enhanced and monitoring-based commissioning process will gain 4 points from the LEED process.

The above tasks, 1 to 17, should be planned and completed, plus the below.

| Step 18 – Develop a Monitoring-Based Commissioning Process

A ‘monitoring-based’ commissioning strategy should be deployed to allow an accurate understanding of the facility’s performance and energy consumption.

To ensure there are no scope gaps or discrepancies, the commissioning agent should ensure that all requirements covering the design, installation, integration, setting up, commissioning, and future running and analysis of the system is fully covered and included within the commissioning/construction documentation.

When developing this document, the following should be considered:

  • How the data is to be accessed,
  • Who owns the data,
  • Roles and responsibilities of the construction team and any future consultants, covering the design, installation, integration, setting up, commissioning, and future running, reporting, and analysis of the system,
  • List of client key performance indicators [KPI],
  • List of systems to be monitored,
  • What is to be measured, and what requirements [points, meters, timers, settings etc],
  • How often is the data to be logged within the system,
  • Tolerance of the systems and points being monitored,
  • Examples of rules and algorithms,
  • Expected usage information [water, gas, electric],
  • What systems and information will be used to evaluate performance,
  • How will staff be trained,
  • Security and access requirements to the systems,
  • Reporting formats,
  • How often will reports be provided,
  • Process for understanding if, once any savings or issues have been noted, how they will be evaluated, cost, and approved.

Envelope Commissioning [2 points]

To ensure that the building enclosure has been designed and installed with minimal leakage and issues, building enclosure commissioning [BECx] can be a requirement.

Building enclosure commissioning is similar to the systems and equipment process under the NIBS Guideline 3-2012 Building Enclosure Commissioning Process.

The following tasks should be completed to gain the points and ensure that the enclosure has been appropriately commissioned.

| Step 19 – Review contractor submittals

The commissioning agent should oversee and manage that all of the submittals relating to the building enclosure are reviewed, commented upon, and approved before work starts.

As this type of work is quite specialist and usually requires a different skill set than the commissioning agent would usually have, with this in mind, they would usually manage this process by seeking advice and input from the relevant consultants on the project [facade/structural/architects, etc.].

| Step 20 – Ensure Included within the System Manual

Within the Systems Manual to be delivered under the fundamental/enhanced process, ensure the building envelope commissioning information has been included with the correct detail.

| Step 21 – Verify Operator and Occupant Training Delivery

Throughout the enclosure commissioning process, the client team and commissioning agent should ensure that all training has been planned and delivered in line with the project requirements.

The training will be aimed at the building operator and occupants to ensure that they fully understand how all equipment and systems operate upon handover of the facility.

| Step 22 – Plan and Manage the Delivery of Seasonal Testing

Depending upon where in the world and what time of year the initial enclosure commissioning works are completed, it may not have been fully commissioned or proved.

This could be because the initial commissioning was completed in the summer or winter.

Where this happens, there will usually be a requirement for additional testing to be completed during the high/low load months, referred to as ‘Seasonal Testing or Peak Load Testing.

This work should be specified and planned out from the beginning of a project as it can have a considerable impact on the systems, mainly if the building is occupied, permits will usually be required, and resources will need to be called back to the project to complete the works.


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