Building Commissioning

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Commissioning Services

Building commissioning is a maturing low-cost, low-risk process that could be the single most cost-effective strategy for reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in buildings today.

As a process rather than a set of prescriptive measures, commissioning is a proven way to optimize building systems operations and performance. Whether constructing a new facility or evaluating an existing building, the process adapts to meet the unique needs of each building, owner, operator(s), facility user group(s) and / or occupant(s). DUNE Engineering’s Commissioning Team is well positioned to help ensure your buildings are designed and constructed as intended and that they operate in a way that meets the owner’s project requirements. Overall, a well commissioned building, whether through new or existing commissioning processes, will perform better and use energy more efficiently. DUNE’s Commissioning Team and processes also support the energy-efficient goals of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and other emerging provincial and municipal building energy codes, standards and guidelines such as those put out by CSA, ASHRAE, The Building Commissioning Association (BCxA) and LEED, for example.

In today’s buildings more than ever, facility operations require building systems and subsystem components to work effectively and efficiently and integrate with one another on a monitoring and controllability level. As well, building staff requires increasing knowledge, training and resources to operate and maintain buildings in an optimal fashion. No matter how prudently a building is designed and constructed, if the systems and equipment are not installed, set up and operating as required, the building will underperform. Similarly, through various building fit-outs and systems upgrades or retrofits, building systems continuity is often not in scope or overlooked. With the increasing complexity of interactive and sophisticated control systems, even small problems can have big effects on performance with costly results that trickle down to long-term building operations and energy usage. Additionally, in today’s construction environment, project teams are more cost- conscious than ever and seldom are quality assurance processes adequately budgeted for. Hence, the onslaught of various industry commissioning guidelines and standards. Our professionals at DUNE Engineering are positioned to provide guidance and tailor and execute a comprehensive commissioning program to suit your building needs.

New Building Commissioning (Cx)

is a rigorous quality assurance process with advantages that begin to enhance project delivery as early as conceptual design, and continues through various milestones including detailed design, construction, start-up testing and fine tuning, Owner training, occupancy, and usually through the first year of operation. Commissioning helps ensure and verifies that the new building and its systems are adequately designed, selected, installed, started-up, tested to operate and perform as design intended in accordance with the Owner’s project requirements, and that building staff are properly trained to operate and maintain the systems and equipment with sufficient documentation turned over to operate and maintain the commissioned systems in peak operating condition for years to come. Many commissioning guidelines also require a building systems manual be developed to provide a means to document and thoroughly understand the building operating systems and subsequent system requirements with directions to continue periodic re-commissioning or ongoing commissioning tasks

Existing Building Commissioning (EBCx)

essentially encompasses the terms Re- Commissioning (Re-Cx) and Retro-Commissioning (Retro-Cx). Ongoing Commissioning (O-Cx) is also completed within an existing facility, but is a continual process planned and set up during initial commissioning efforts. You can maintain optimum building performance by commissioning new buildings or retro-commissioning existing buildings and then using re or ongoing commissioning to ensure the persistence of benefits. Regardless of your building’s life cycle phase, it is never too late to start.

Re-Commissioning (Re-Cx)

is a re-optimization process for existing buildings or systems that have already been commissioned with associated documentation retained. The goal of Re-Cx is to ensure the original commissioning benefits persist, and that equipment and systems operate optimally and perform to meet current occupant and operational needs. The original investigative approach is re-assessed and applied to identify operational or performance issues with systems and equipment. The primary outcome of Re-Cx is identifying “low-cost/no-cost” operational improvements given the building’s continued usage in order to maintain comfort conditions with potential energy savings.

Retro-Commissioning (Retro-Cx)

is a commissioning process that applies to existing buildings or systems that were not previously commissioned, and is often completed after space reprogramming or building renovations as obsolete systems can wreak havoc on the building’s energy-using systems. This process seeks to understand, complete documentation and improve how building systems and equipment function together to meet current facility functional requirements and the building’s operating plans. Retro-commissioning processes can also identify and resolve problems that occurred during the initial building design or construction, and address problems that have developed during the building’s operational life cycle.

Ongoing Commissioning (O-Cx)

is a process similar to re-commissioning that maintains building performance on an ongoing periodic basis. Typically planned and set up through initial commissioning efforts, a building systems manual is prepared to provide guidance and to document results. Further review by building operators or specialty vendors may be required.

No matter the approach, DUNE Engineering will tailor a process to assess current operational conditions of energy-consuming systems and controls, identify potential energy-saving measures, pin point easily fixable issues that can be resolved quickly, and coordinate various measures with capital planning to improve overall energy usage by optimizing equipment performance and system integration. So, before proceeding with costly building retrofits, consider Existing Building Commissioning first. Typical “low- cost/no-cost” measures often include fixing control dampers, adjusting primary heating or cooling plant operations, aligning zone temperature set-points, and even eliminating simultaneous heating and cooling. Persistence strategies such as training, monitoring energy bills, energy management information systems and automatic diagnostics are also viable outcomes to maintain building performance.

Fire Protection and Life Safety Integrated Systems Testing 

The CAN/ULC-S1001 IST standard is a requirement in both the National Building Code and the National Fire Code for any new buildings prior to gaining occupancy. The National Building and Fire Codes of Canada have referenced CAN/ULC-S1001 since 2015 as the standard requirement to ensure all fire protection and life safety systems within the building(s) are tested as an integrated system and operate in conformance with the design criteria.

Integrated fire protection systems and life safety systems must be designed, installed and tested to their applicable standards. Unidentified systems deficiencies or failure to fully verify systems and their integration could result in the systems not performing in the way they were intended during a fire event for example. A failure could lead to inadequate water supply or fire suppression response, or fire and/or smoke not being controlled and spreading through the facility via egress paths or areas of refuge. Properly functioning and integrated fire protection systems and life safety systems should avoid delays in the notifications, evacuation and/or movement of persons to a safe location.

Simply put, where there are fire protection and life safety systems with functions that are integrated with each other, the systems shall be tested as a whole in accordance with CAN/ULC-S1001 – Integrated Systems Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems to verify that the systems properly integrate with one another as the design intended.

As a requirement under new construction, an Integrated Systems Testing Coordinator shall be retained to develop a project specific plan and procedure that is unique to each facility, and include all applicable integrations of the Fire Alarm Systems various integrated inputs, outputs, notifications and call outs; Notification and Mass Notification Systems; Elevator(s) and Lifts; Emergency Generators; Audio/Visual Systems; Lighting Control Systems; Water Supplies, Control and Freeze Protection Systems; Fixed Fire Suppression Fire Pump(s), Sprinkler System(s), Standpipes & Hoses, Kitchen / Cooking or Electrical / Data Space Specific Equipment Fire Suppression Systems; Ventilation Systems (Air Handling Units, Pressurization Units, Smoke Controls), Security and Access Controls Systems, as well as various other life safety technologies such as those found in hospitals (Nurse Call, Duress, Lighting Pathways etc).  

For ongoing building operations or existing buildings, as required by CAN/ULC-S1001:2011 (R2017); the building Owner is responsible to arrange future testing which is to be conducted one year after completion of the initial Integrated Systems Testing, or date of Occupancy, and to continue periodic testing not to exceed five-year intervals after that. Also, where any modifications to the fire protection and life safety systems are made which affect system integrations; Integrated Systems Testing of the affected integrations shall be conducted, and would include reconciling any number of building upgrades, or even replacement or installing something as small as an egress path mag lock. Generally, for existing buildings, while still a requirement, industry is looking to educate building owners to begin collecting relevant building documentation that is often challenging, for preparation for Integrated Systems Testing in the future.

What is ADDAPT

ADDAPT is a living repository for client buildings and projects, so a client can track equipment and testing during construction and can access the same data years later for continual and retro commissioning projects.

A hub of critical data for Commissioning Agents, Owners, and Maintenance Personnel during and after construction for the life of the building.

It is widely used for commissioning (Cx) and retro-commissioning (RCx) construction projects for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings

Cx and RCx Applications:

ADDAPT tracks via online platform using a portable or fixed device to track Cx/RCx issues, static and dynamic checks using online forms, online functional testing forms and close out documentation either accessible on the web portal or in printable form.

Energy and GHG Monitoring Applications:

ADDAPT tracks and monitors greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using physical data meters installed in the building to track the input and output carbon emissions for a building. For energy tracking, ADDAPT uses enabled energy sensors to track real-time energy consumption for the building whether its propane or natural gas, fuel oil, and/or electricity installed by a local professional.

Sensors are placed directly on the equipment or energy distribution infrastructure to collect data. It identifies early warnings signs of impending issues and validates and verifies energy consumption with associated emissions reductions.

If the buildings are equipped with a building management system (BMS), energy tracking can also be performed provided the BMS is setup with the appropriate interfaces.

Energy Consumption Tracking and Verification: 

  • Data input from the energy model as a baseline
  • Monitors the energy consumption and GHGs using the energy sensors or the BMS.

Asset Management Platform:

ADDAPT is also used as an asset management platform delivering real-time data to building operators. It maintains a living inventory of all the building’s physical assets using equipment tag scanning while on site or from the desktop/laptop using the Matterport™ Scan function. 

This living inventory exists to support maintenance management and allows an operator to track scheduled projects and associated costs to plan appropriately. Additionally, operators can easily manage the addition or subtraction of building assets and maintain a historical record of all the projects on a singular platform. 

On site level, the platform provides the following key benefits for facility operators and managers such as:

  •  QR scan of on site equipment to access Cx forms, product submittals, installation instructions and much, much more.
  • Identify opportunities to down-size major pieces of equipment with lightened energy loads 


  • Allows for control for User Access with permissions to accessing data and information
  • Provides adjustable automated emails for status or activity updates during construction
  • Online commissioning (cx) start-up and verification forms
  • Provides an inventory of photos from on site for future renovations or additions.
  • Maintains an online shop drawing submittals during and after construction is complete.
  • Provides the User with online and active milestone scheduler during construction as third party Cx agent
  • Provides equipment tag lists and equipment tag scanning capabilities for access to operation and maintenance logs, shop drawings, completed cx forms, and much more.
  • Collects and maintains activity logs and comments during and after construction
  • Automates and creates a printable operation and maintenance manual
  • Provides real time equipment statuses / Progress Workflows during the commissioning phases
  • Stores owner online training videos for future maintenance activities
  • Stores and creates preliminary and final Cx plans reducing rework for field Cx agents
  • Optional: Provides real time energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission monitoring and recording.
  • Optional: Stores and displays 3D matterport™ scan with tag overlays with rough-in and final 3D walkthroughs
  • Optional: Online store to order parts from suppliers and vendors for repairs and maintenance purposes.

Online and Printable Forms such as:

  • Provides instant unaudited and audited reports on project status using an online web portal enabling access any time
  • Generates system manuals with ease by clicking a button in PDF format.
  • Customization of forms using corporate logos including photos, links to O&M, and matterport™ scans
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