April 18, 2013

The Cost of NOT Commissioning

The cost to commission a project is nearly impossible to estimate. The cost can vary as much as $0.50 to $1.75 per square foot.  There are many variables to be taken into consideration when pricing a commissioning project.

Type of Project:  Total building commissioning including mechanical systems, electrical systems building envelope, transportation systems, LEED, etc.

Scope of Work:  Number of design, construction, post construction meetings.  The amount of on-site witnessing of static, dynamic, functional testing.  The amount of involvement in the building operator training process.  Testing 100% of equipment or sampling.  The amount and type of documentation required.

Size of the Project

Construction Schedule:  The number of phases involved.

Each project should be priced individually to ensure a comprehensive quality control program will be implemented.  And also, that the owners expectations will be met.

But something building owners may not have considered is the cost of NOT commissioning a project.  The California Commissioning Guide (2006) states on page 22, “the cost of commissioning is often offset by more than 50%.”  When a building has not been commissioned it may not run as efficiently or be as comfortable as it should.  Controls valves may be passing or operating backwards.  The building operators may not be fully versed in the operation of the newly installed equipment or the building automation system.  Time of day scheduling may not be set up to reflect building operation and occupancy.  Properly running equipment generally means longer lasting equipment, with better life cycles and less reactive maintenance. In addition to the monetary benefits, there are intangible benefits, such as confident building operators and comfortable building occupants.

There are capital costs to building commissioning, but it is important to consider the hidden costs of not commissioning.

To read more of what the California Commissioning Guide has to say about commissioning new building, click on the link below.

Why Commissioning