Qualification and Certification

The commissioning industry is undergoing significant change as the market matures and commissioning becomes a standard part of the building design and construction process.

Commissioning Industry Background

  1. Commissioning is being written into codes and standards and is being mandated by private and public entities alike.  Commissioning is rapidly becoming a standard part of the building design and construction process, and this transition will be accelerated with future code requirements.
  2. BCxA and other industry organizations have recognized that there are insufficient numbers of truly qualified personnel who can lead the commissioning process to meet the current and projected need. The demand for qualified personnel will only accelerate with the establishment of new codes and standards.
  3. Current existing industry contractor and professional licenses do not adequately address commissioning, nor confirm that a licensee has the qualifications, experience, or knowledge to successfully lead and manage the commissioning process.
  4. In an effort to establish recognized qualification standards for commissioning providers, several organizations have created commissioning certifications; however, these certifications vary significantly in rigor and requirements, creating confusion for those in the industry and those procuring commissioning services.
  5. The commissioning process is increasingly being applied to the entire building, and commissioning-related expertise is needed in all system types, including those as diverse as the building enclosure, tele/data systems, elevators and life safety systems. This increasing technical breadth and depth required for commissioning these systems creates a need for discipline/system specific commissioning expertise and standards in all the major building disciplines.
  6. The lack of experienced and skilled personnel to lead the commissioning process; the issue that companies are providing commissioning services without experienced personnel and quality processes and procedures; the need for discipline/system specific commissioning technical expertise/standards; and confusion surrounding commissioning certifications; could lead to buildings that do not meet their performance expectations, and result in damage to the reputation of the Commissioning Industry.

BCxA Position on Certification

The BCxA supports the establishment of a unified nationally recognized certification organization to establish minimum qualifications and standards for those who direct and manage the total building commissioning process (the Commissioning Authority).  This national body would work with other organizations within a specific discipline (i.e. electrical, building enclosure, lighting, etc.) to establish nationally recognized certifications to ensure the qualification and technical competence of commissioning specialists for each of the major disciplines. In addition to certifications of individuals who lead the commissioning process, it is recommended that a firm certification be established for firms engaged in the practice of commissioning.

The BCxA and other organizations recognize that there are a limited number of commissioning professionals who are fittingly experienced and qualified to lead the commissioning process, and therefore recommend that careful consideration of the impact to the public good be made before restricting those who have demonstrated qualification from being eligible to practice until such time as a unified national certification is established.

BCxA Commissioning Authority Qualification Statement

It is the position of the Building Commissioning Association that the commissioning process should be led by individuals qualified and experienced in the role of the Commissioning Authority. Commissioning is a professional service that requires skill, knowledge, ethics, and creativity and should be performed by a formally certified member of a professional commissioning body. Commissioning services should be procured utilizing a qualifications based selection process. The provider of this service must practice the commissioning profession ethically and responsibly, with a standard of care consistent with industry standards and the BCxA’s Essential Attributes.   The commissioning process must also include personnel with expertise and experience in the design, construction, testing, operations, and maintenance of the various systems and assemblies included in the project.  The commissioning process shall be executed in a manner consistent with relevant statutes and laws.

The BCxA recognizes the qualifications of the Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) as an individual who has demonstrated experience in implementing the Commissioning Process. A qualified Commissioning Authority will have successfully led the commissioning effort for projects of similar scope and complexity, maintain a certification from a professional commissioning body, and therefore would have met the following certification prerequisites:

    1. Minimum of three continuous years as commissioning provider in a lead role.
    2. Four-year undergraduate degree or higher in a building science field (relevant experiences may be utilized to substitute education).
    3. Have served as the lead commissioning provider for three qualifying projects, from the design/planning phase through the completion of the construction/hand-off phase.  The lead commissioning provider role to be confirmed by project Owner certification and references.
    4. Pass an examination on the commissioning process and related fundamentals, demonstrating knowledge of the commissioning process and design, construction and operations and maintenance fundamentals.
    5. Maintain good standing within the industry and undertake continuing education in the commissioning, design, construction and operations industry.

Commissioning Industry Call for Action

    1. The Commissioning Industry is reaching consensus on the elements of a successful Commissioning process for both new and existing buildings.  ASHRAE Guideline 0 has become the consensus guideline for commissioning new construction and major renovation projects.
    2. Two major national efforts to define the Knowledge, Skill & Ability (KSA’s) of a Commissioning Authority have recently been completed.  These efforts provide a sound basis for the development of a national Commissioning Authority Training and Certification Program.
    3. The process of incorporating commissioning into building codes is underway at a variety of levels and the authorities having jurisdiction will need to define who is qualified to perform the commissioning services.
    4. Now is the time to join the effort to create a unified commissioning industry that strives to maintain the highest standards of quality, and a coherent industry commissioning certification strategy. The BCxA is reaching out to other key industry stakeholders with the goal of increasing industry alignment and reaching consensus on the qualification and certification requirements of the Commissioning Authority.

Approved by the Building Commissioning Association Board of Directors 6/28/2012