“Over the years, there have been many confusing messages about commissioning – exactly how and when it should take place – and what the best practices are for new construction commissioning and retro-commissioning. Now, with the BCxA’s professional development programs that are held throughout the year and its nationally-recognized certifications, tools and market outreach, the BCxA has accelerated best practices and promoted networking and cross-industry collaboration.”

Michael Chelednik, AIA, URS Corporation, BCxA Regional Representative

The Building Commissioning Association (BCxA) promotes building commissioning practices that maintain high professional standards, and fulfill building owners’ expectations. Believing that diverse and creative approaches to commissioning benefit our profession and it’s clients, BCxA focuses on identifying critical commissioning attributes and components, rather than attempting to dictate a rigid commissioning process. Because the scope of commissioning varies between projects, BCxA defines the basic purpose of commissioning as follows, in order to clarify context for these Essential Attributes.


It is BCxA’s premise that, “The basic purpose of building commissioning is to provide documented confirmation that building systems function in compliance with criteria set forth in the Project Documents to satisfy the owner’s operational needs. Commissioning of existing systems may require the development of new functional criteria in order to address the owner’s current systems performance requirements.”

BCxA considers the following attributes to be so fundamental to effective building commissioning hat all members agree in writing to adhere to them whenever they serve as a project’s Commissioning Provider:

  1. The Commissioning Provider (CxP) is in charge of the commissioning process and makes the final recommendations to the owner regarding functional performance of the commissioned building systems.
  2. The CxP is an objective, independent advocate of the Owner. If the CxP’s firm has other project responsibilities, or is not under direct contract to the Owner, a conflict of interest exists. Wherever this occurs, the CxP discloses, in writing, the nature of the conflict and the means by which the conflict shall be managed.
  3. In addition to having good written and verbal communication skills, the CxP has current engineering knowledge, and extensive and recent hands-on field experience regarding:

• Building systems commissioning,

• The physical principles of building systems performance and interaction,

• Building systems start-up, balancing, testing and troubleshooting,

• Operation and maintenance procedures, and

• The building design and construction process.

  1. For each project, the commissioning purpose and scope are clearly defined in the CxP contract.
  2. The CxP recommends the commissioning roles and scope for all members of the design and construction teams be clearly defined in:

    • Each design consultant’s contract,

    • The construction manager’s contract,

    • General Conditions of the Specifications,

    • Each division of the specifications covering work to be commissioned, and

    • The specifications for each system and component for which the suppliers’ support is required.

  1. Each project is commissioned in accordance with a written commissioning plan that is updated as the project progresses. The commissioning plan:

    • Identifies the systems to be commissioned,

    • Defines the scope of the commissioning process,

    • Defines commissioning roles and lines of communications for each member of the project team, and

    • Estimates the commissioning schedule.

  1. On new building commissioning projects, the CxP reviews systems installation for commissioning related issues throughout the construction period.
  2. All commissioning activities and findings are documented as they occur. These reports are distributed as they are generated, and included in the final report.
  3. The functional testing program objectively verifies that the building systems perform interactively in accordance with the Project Documents. Written, repeatable test procedures, prepared specifically for each project, are used to functionally test components and systems in all modes of operating conditions specified for testing. These tests are documented to clearly describe the individual systematic test procedures, the expected systems response or acceptance criteria for each procedure, the actual response or findings, and any pertinent discussion.
  4. The commissioning authority provides constructive input for the resolution of system deficiencies.
  5. Every commissioning project is documented with a commissioning report that includes:

    • An evaluation of the operating condition of the systems at the time of functional test completion,

    • Deficiencies that were discovered and the measures taken to correct them,

    • Uncorrected operational deficiencies that were accepted by the owner,

    • Functional test procedures and results,

    • Reports that document all commissioning field activities as they progress, and

    • A description and estimated schedule of required deferred testing.