What is in this article?:
The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) details high-performance-building strategies, including energy conservation and commissioning (Cx).
The handover of a finished building to the operations-and-maintenance (O&M) staff is critical. Chapter 9 of the IgCC has extensive requirements for building handover. One important facet is the definition of, and requirement for, pre- and post-occupancy Cx reports. The IgCC requires that the reports address items in an extensive multidisciplinary list. The list consists of some 60 systems and subsystems, from site management to HVAC, that require a pre- or post-occupancy report. These reports must be accepted by the code official for a certificate of occupancy to be issued.
Post-occupancy Cx has been slow to gain acceptance in the United States, despite overwhelming evidence of its positive effects. The IgCC requires that a post-occupancy Cx report be provided to an owner within 30 months. A post-occupancy Cx report addresses IEQ, landscape, sites, natural resources, topsoil and vegetation, percolation (drainage), stormwater management, vegetative roofs, interior and exterior lighting and controls, and more.
Section 904 of the IgCC describes the requirements of an O&M owner education manual. The description is extensive in scope and detail.
The IgCC is an important first step in holistic high-performance-building design and operation. However, it does not take advantage of proven Cx tools developed by others. Specifically, the Cx aspects of the code would be improved by:
- Providing clear direction to make systems “commissionable.” It is imperative that systems and equipment be designed to be commissioned, as Cx is the first step in a permanent preventive-maintenance plan. Design for Cx should be incorporated into the IgCC.
- Mandating an OPR document and a submittal review by the CxA.
- Requiring a schedule showing Cx milestones no later than halfway through design (100-percent design-development plans). This schedule should include the early completion of HVAC controls and lighting controls so they can be tested and verified in a timely manner.
- Including manufacturers or authorized representatives in the Cx process. This requirement should be included in Cx plans and preliminary schedules developed during design (as described above).
- Making more specific requirements for tests related to IEQ, including particulate-gas-phase, light-level, and noise testing.
- Recommending for projects over 10,000 sq ft that the CxA be contracted directly to the owner/owner’s representative and have no part in design or construction. The CxA may establish communications channels with others; however, all communication should be direct with the owner, with others copied.
- Mandating the review of submittals by the CxA and the incorporation of specific submittal parameters into prefunctional and functional tests.
- Defining the issues log—the primary tool for keeping team members informed—in more detail and requiring that it be updated and distributed at least weekly.
- Defining the systems manual required by the IgCC in more detail.
- Including more detailed measurement and verification requirements for the life of a building.
A longtime member of HPAC Engineering’s Editorial Advisory Board, Ron Wilkinson, PE, LEED AP, CPMP, is the author of the first commissioning training program for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction and Major Renovations Green Building Rating System, the chair of the commissioning advisory committee of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment, and the recording secretary for ASHRAE Guideline Project Committee 0.2/1.2, The Commissioning Process for Existing Building Systems and Assemblies/The Commissioning Process for Existing HVAC&R Systems. An ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer and an AIA Continuing Education Lecturer, he has spoken on commissioning practices internationally.
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MORE BY THIS AUTHOR
Selected articles and columns on commissioning by Ron Wilkinson, PE, LEED AP, CPMP, appearing in HPAC Engineering:
- “New York City’s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan,” January 2012, http://bit.ly/Wilkinson_0112
- “The Case for Commissioning Existing Buildings” (Managing Your Facilities column), April 2011, http://bit.ly/MYF_0411
- “Commissioning for Schools,” November 2010, http://bit.ly/Wilkinson_1110
- “Commissioning Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them” (Engineering Green Buildings column), October 2010, http://bit.ly/EGB_1010
- “Commissioning and the IGCC” (Engineering Green Buildings column), August 2010, http://bit.ly/EGB_0810
- “LEED Commissioning: The Old and the New” (Engineering Green Buildings column), April 2010, http://bit.ly/EGB_0410
- “Existing-Building Commissioning,” December 2009, http://bit.ly/Wilkinson_1209
- “LEED and O&M Budgets” (Engineering Green Buildings column), October 2009, http://bit.ly/EGB_1009
- “LEED Commissioning for New and Existing Buildings,” February 2008, http://bit.ly/Wilkinson_0208