Monday, June 6, 2016

The 5 Documents Commissioning Requires


The purpose of commissioning as stated in NFPA 3, Recommended Practice for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems, is a "process that will ensure fire protection and life safety systems perform in conformity with the design intent".  To make this possible there are 5 required documents that must be created and referenced during the commissioning process.

  1. Owner's Project Requirements (OPR)
  2. Commissioning Plan
  3. Basis of Design (BOD)
  4. Operations and Maintenance Manuals (O&Ms)
  5. Closeout Package


NOTE: If you are not familiar with the commissioning process, I recommend you first read, Commissioning New Occupancies.


Photo from, www.technical-designs.com

The most critical of these documents is the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR).  This is the driving document that all design, construction, testing, and operational decisions will be based on. The OPR should be created with input from the owner, building managers, and key stakeholders. The OPR should include:

  • Infrastructure requirements (roads, utilities, etc.)
  • Facility type, use, and dimensions
  • Occupancy classification, anticipated load and expected operations
  • Future expansion requirements
  • Codes and standards that apply to the facility (local, state, national)
  • Specific user/owner requirements
  • Training requirements
  • Warranty, operations, and maintenance information
  • Integrated system testing, installation, and maintenance requirements
  • Specific performance criteria that will be expected
  • Any "third-party" requirements

The Commissioning Plan provides the framework  for the building projects commissioning process.  The Commissioning Plan provides an overview of the project and outlines the process, system, and schedule to be followed.  All the required commissioning reports, inspections, and documentation will be included as part of this plan.  NFPA 3 recommends the following Commissioning Plan structure:
  • Introduction - an overview of the plan
  • Commissioning scope - identifies which building components, structures, and systems will be subject to, and included in the commissioning process
  • General project information - overview of the project, focus on key information, expectations, and deliverables. This should include references and overviews of the OPR and the BOD
  • Team contacts - contact information of all commissioning team members
  • Communications plan and protocols - provide direction as to the projects organizational structure and communication channels to be utilized
  • Commissioning process - detailed explanation and outline of commissioning and project tasks to be completed for all phases of the process
  • Commissioning documentation - listing of all documentation that will be required and utilized throughout the process
  • Commissioning schedule - specifies the sequence of operations, and outlines the timeframe, dates, and duration of commissioning and testing events


The decision-making process and an explanation of all systems and components are described narratively in the Basis of Design (BOD). The BOD should be created and included with the the project plan submittal to the AHJ.  A useful BOD will include the following components:

  • Applicable codes, standards, laws, and regulations (NFPA, OSHA, ADA, ASHRAE, etc.)
  • Building description
  • Fire protection/life safety system objectives and decisions
  • Alternative or performance based design, means, and methods
  • Testing criteria
  • Equipment and tools required

Operations and maintenance manuals (O&Ms) are to be provided to the building owner.  These O&Ms must be reviewed to ensure that they meet the OPR.


At the end of the construction phase, prior to the occupancy phase, a closeout package should be delivered to the building owner. The closeout package should include the following documents:
  • Compiled list of all deficiencies and resolutions
  • Operation and maintenance manuals
  • All test results, documentation, and certificates
  • Plans and drawings
  • Warranties and warranty information
  • Spare parts and supplier listings
  • Recommissioning plan
  • Sequence of operation
  • Software for systems should be installed and delivered

The provision of these documents is only one, of many, benefits of the commissioning process. Engaging in the commissioning process can minimize human error during construction and maintenance, identify problem areas, prolong a structures lifespan, and save money over the long-term.

Need a commissioning agent? Want to be coached through the commissioning process? Looking for more information?  Visit the TCC Solutions page, or contact me directly.


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