How to Hire a Commissioning Agent in California
New buildings that are 10,000 square feet and larger are required to be commissioned by both the California Energy Code and the California Green Building Code.
Some of the requirements in the two codes are similar and some are distinct. New buildings must comply with all the commissioning requirements in both codes.
Section 120.8 of the California Energy Code and section 5.410.2 of the CalGreen Code (AKA the California Green Building Code) detail the commissioning requirements.
What needs to be commissioned?
The California Building Codes require the following systems be commissioned:
- Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning systems
- Building Environmental Controls
- Indoor Lighting Systems and Controls
- Water Heating Systems
- Process Equipment and Controls
- Windows and Doors
- Building Insulation
Ok, so what is involved?
The commissioning agent (AKA “certified commissioning authority” or CxA) is required by the code to perform the following tasks.
These are specifically laid out within the two codes:
- Author or review the Owner Project Requirements (OPR).
- Author or review the Basis of Design (BOD).
- Review the permit/construction documents of the systems.
- Lead and document the Design Review Kick-off Meeting.
- Author and maintain a Commissioning Plan.
- Review of equipment submittals, O&M manuals, and Requests for Information (RFIs) for affected systems, including testing and balancing reports.
- Generate pre-function installation checklists and field verify.
- Author and witness function testing with subsequent reports.
- Maintain an issues log.
- Provide finalized commissioning report for the affected systems.
It is very important to understand that the California Energy Code and the California Green Building Code do not specifically reference any industry commissioning standards. The code language simply lists specific tasks that must be performed. Why is this important?
There are several industry commissioning standards such as LEED, GSA and the Building Commissioning Association. However, none of these standards are referenced in the California Building Code
At CalGreen Energy Services we frequently hear of one of the above standards being used as the commissioning guideline for a project. If one of the above standards are used, the requirements may be more extensive than required by code. Applying a higher standard than required by the code will end up costing the project in time and money.
If you are looking for a CxA for your project, ensure they are basing their fees on the specific code requirements, and no more. While commissioning to a higher standard may be beneficial to certain projects that have budgeted accordingly, it is not necessary for most projects in California.
We respond quickly to emails and voicemails. We will put together a proposal for you right away and can typically start on your project within a couple of days.
Email or call us now to see how we can help you:
For more information on commissioning visit California Building Standards Commission website where you can view the specific code requirements on commission in the CalGreen Code and the California Energy Code see:
Gary Welch has over 35 years experience in the field of sustainable building design. He is the CEO of CalGreen Energy Services. Gary is an ICC Certified CalGreen Special Inspector and Plans Examiner.