2018 Cx Market Survey

Analysis and Charts Courtesy of National Resources Canada

National Resources Canada (NRCan) conducted a pair of interrelated Cx market surveys in the spring of 2018, to assess the current uptake of new construction (NCCx) and existing building (EBCx) Cx services across the commercial sector. One survey targeted Cx practitioners, the supply side of this market, while the other addressed current or potential Cx customers, the demand side. In collaboration with the Western and Eastern Canadian Chapters of the Building Commissioning Association (BCxA), the surveys assessed the size, staff demographics and business activities of participating firms, while also seeking opinions on Cx business issues, barriers and future prospects.

The intention of these two surveys was to inform and enhance the development of government programs that could potentially stimulate Cx uptake in Canada, creating a baseline to assess programming efficacy. They were undertaken to gain a better understanding of the current state of the commissioning profession, market penetration of Cx services across Canada, and impressions held by both Cx practitioners and customers about the value and quality of Cx delivery. Key findings include:

  • It was not possible to ascertain the exact market penetration of either new or existing building Cx in Canada, but owners who have tried Cx/RCx generally seem satisfied with the results, are willing to do more projects and are willing to recommend it to peers.
  • A fundamental lack of understanding of Cx, among customers who have not tried it, continues to be the most significant barrier to Cx uptake in the market; greater effort by its proponents is therefore needed to clarify Cx principles, process and value.
  • Among those who do understand Cx, most generally understand its value, but projects may nonetheless be impeded by capital/operational budget conflicts.
  • New building Cx presently appears to be a more accepted practice than EBCx (RCx); while certain firms are focused on the existing side, Cx for new construction is generally driving the majority of business for Cx firms.
  • The building market benefits from a strong diversity of Cx firms and services. This diversity is likely a strength – but quality and consistency of service delivery will be crucial to ensuring continued market growth of Cx as a service offering.
  • Cx firms are generally stable or growing, but at the same time see adding and developing staff as a key challenge; this issue may be compounded by the reality of an aging demographic in many firms. These issues combine to suggest greater priority is needed on the recruitment, training and professional development of new entrants to the Cx profession.

Challenges and Changes Over a 5-Year Horizon

The most common themes that emerged from the responses include:

  • EBCx remains a relatively “untapped” market area with great potential – a significant opportunity exists for greater market uptake of EBCx;
  • There is a sense that potential customers are seeking greater assurance of quality and consistency of Cx services, which could be aided through the introduction of a Cx practitioner certification or accreditation in Canada. Noting that the American market features a few competing certifications, the Canadian solution would ideally be to have just one, mutually accepted certification.
  • Desired trends include less paperwork; more quality/less commoditization; increasing data analytics; and succession planning as senior providers retire.
  • Related to the above, recruitment, training, professional development and opportunities to provide experience for entrants to the Cx profession are all crucial needs to be addressed.

Barriers to Commissioning

Both surveys pursued the question of perceived barriers to broad uptake of commissioning services within the industry.

Why Potential Customers Have Not Tried New Construction Cx (NCCx)

Why Potential Customers have not tried Existing Building Cx (EBCx)

NRCan presented preliminary results of both surveys to Canada’s National Conference on Building and Facility Operations in June 2018. Audience members (largely commissioning practitioners, along with general contractors, facility managers and utility and government officials) generally concurred that these findings reflected their own impressions of the current Cx profession and market. There was further agreement that the results of this and future surveys would help them to clarify and prioritize “messaging” about Cx and its value.

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