Building Commissioning

Building commissioning: Aligning building systems for excellence

Achieve construction project goals with building commissioning software. Empower commissioning agents and design teams to ensure buildings perform as intended.

Two workers in yellow vests and hard hats inside a building under construction. One is holding a tablet showing HVAC design, also overlaid on the photo.

Building commissioning encompasses review, testing, and verification of a building’s systems before, throughout, and after construction.

What is building commissioning?

Building commissioning is an organized process that ensures all systems of an existing or newly constructed building operate efficiently and meet the owner’s needs. It involves thorough review, testing, and verification during various phases.

An engineer in a yellow vest and hard hat uses a laptop computer while checking a rooftop HVAC system

Building commissioning may involve ongoing testing and monitoring to meet its goal of peak system performance.

Goals of building commissioning

Building commissioning aims toward optimal performance and functionality of a facility’s systems through a systematic process. Goals include achieving peak system performance, enhancing energy efficiency, ensuring occupant comfort and safety, complying with regulations, and meeting owner expectations. Diverse benefits encompass energy savings, reduced operating costs, extended equipment life, improved indoor air quality, risk mitigation, compliance assurance, and enhanced occupant productivity.

Staff training and monitoring are essential components of building commissioning, playing a vital role in realizing its benefits. Through comprehensive training programs, building operators gain the knowledge and skills to understand system functionality, identify issues, and optimize performance. 

Throughout the building commissioning process, meticulous documentation (including reports, logs, and manuals) is essential to track progress, identify issues, and ensure compliance with standards. This documentation serves as a valuable resource for understanding, troubleshooting, and maintaining building systems in the long term.

Types of building commissioning

Building commissioning can be categorized into different types based on the project phase and the nature of the building. Here are the common types of commissioning, along with their abbreviations for new construction (NCCx) and existing buildings (EBCx):

New construction commissioning (NCCx):

  • Building envelope commissioning (BECx): Focuses on the performance of the building envelope components, including windows, doors, roofing, and insulation, for energy efficiency and occupant comfort
  • Fundamental commissioning (FCx): Encompasses the commissioning of major building systems such as HVAC, lighting, and controls, ensuring they operate according to design intent
  • Enhanced commissioning (ECx): Expands upon fundamental commissioning by including additional services such as lifecycle cost analysis, extended warranties, and more detailed documentation

Existing building commissioning (EBCx):

  • Recommissioning (RCx): Involves the reevaluation and optimization of existing building systems to enhance performance, energy efficiency, and occupant comfort
  • Continuous commissioning (CCx): A long-term process that involves ongoing monitoring and adjustment of systems to maintain optimal performance throughout the building’s lifecycle
  • Retro-commissioning (Retro-Cx): Focuses on commissioning activities for older buildings that may not have undergone commissioning during their initial construction

Phases of commissioning a building

Building commissioning is integral to all phases of a building project, ensuring optimal system performance and alignment with owner requirements.

  • In the predesign phase, commissioning establishes project goals by developing the owner’s project requirements (OPR) and forming the commissioning team.
  • During the design phase, a thorough review of design documents ensures alignment with the OPR, and commissioning specifications guide construction.
  • In the construction phase, commissioning verifies system installation, conducts functional tests, and addresses issues.
  • The acceptance phase includes final tests, documentation verification, and operator training.
  • Post-acceptance, commissioning addresses issues, monitors performance, and provides ongoing support to ensure sustained efficiency and meet changing needs throughout the building’s lifecycle.

Benefits of using software for building commissioning

Building commissioning software offers several advantages that streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve overall outcomes. Here are the top six benefits:

Automation and efficiency

Software automates repetitive tasks like cross-checking construction documents, reducing manual effort and improving efficiency in the commissioning process.

Centralized data management

Software offers a centralized platform for storing construction documents and managing commissioning data, ensuring easy access, organization, and retrieval of critical information for all stakeholders involved in the project.

Real-time collaboration

Cloud-based building commissioning software enables real-time collaboration among team members, allowing them to work simultaneously on different steps of the commissioning process, enhancing communication and coordination.

Document control

Software facilitates effective document control so that the latest versions of project documents, test plans, and reports are readily available, reducing the risk of errors and discrepancies.

Data analysis and reporting

Advanced software tools enable powerful data analysis that commissioning teams can use to identify trends, anomalies, and performance issues quickly. Automated reporting features generate comprehensive reports for stakeholders, aiding in decision making.

Audit trail and compliance

Building commissioning software provides an audit trail of activities, changes, and test results, supporting accountability and transparency. It also helps ensure compliance with standards and regulations by documenting and tracking each step of the commissioning process.

Autodesk software for building commissioning

BIM 360 is a construction management platform that connects, organizes, and optimizes projects from design to construction.

Powerful BIM and CAD tools for designers, engineers, and contractors, including Revit, AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Autodesk Forma, and more

Stories of building commissioning

Construction work views building plans on an on-site computer monitor


Collaborating in real-time

A construction engineering company uses the Autodesk Construction Cloud to increase project efficiency and create a single source of truth.

aerial view of a warehouse on a canal in the Netherlands


Implementing digital workflows

A construction company uses Autodesk BIM 360 and the Autodesk Construction Cloud to make project data accessible anywhere, anytime.

Eight MultiGreen office workers wearing hard hats pose with shovelfuls of dirt in an empty lot. A sign behind them reads "336 of 40,000 units by 2030."

MultiGreen Properties

Defining the future of multifamily housing

A real estate development and operations company uses the Autodesk Construction Cloud to build the future of multifamily housing.

Building commissioning resources

Learn how to improve building performance and reduce risks from the outset with a detailed building commissioning guide.

Improve the building commissioning process with optimized asset and equipment tracking and move owners to operations more quickly.

Connect the commission management platform CxPlanner to the industry-leading solutions of Autodesk Construction Cloud.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) on building commissioning

What is the commissioning of a building?

The commissioning of a building is a systematic, comprehensive process ensuring that all systems and components within the structure operate efficiently and in accordance with the owner’s requirements and design intent. This process spans various phases, including predesign, design, construction, acceptance, and post-acceptance. It involves tasks such as reviewing design documents, verifying proper installation of systems, conducting functional testing, and addressing issues to guarantee optimal building performance. By implementing building commissioning, potential problems are identified and resolved early, contributing to improved energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and overall satisfaction with the building’s operation throughout its lifecycle.

What is the purpose of building commissioning?

The purpose of commissioning a building is to ensure that a constructed building meets its design intent and the owner’s project requirements. Commissioning verifies and optimizes the performance of all building systems, identifying and addressing issues during the construction phase. The process plays a crucial role in enhancing energy efficiency, promoting occupant comfort and safety, and ensuring compliance with regulations and industry standards. Commissioning also supports the sustainable operation of buildings by minimizing resource consumption and optimizing system functionality.

What are the types of commissioning in construction?

In construction, various types of commissioning are employed to address aspects and stages of a building’s lifecycle:

  • New construction commissioning (NCCx) focuses on newly constructed buildings, ensuring that all systems meet design intent.
  • Building envelope commissioning (BECx) concentrates on the commissioning of elements like windows and doors for energy efficiency.
  • Fundamental commissioning (FCx) involves major systems like HVAC, ensuring they operate efficiently.
  • Enhanced commissioning (ECx) goes beyond fundamentals, incorporating additional services for a more comprehensive approach.
  • Existing building commissioning (EBCx) includes recommissioning (RCx) for existing buildings, retro-commissioning (Retro-Cx) for older structures, and continuous commissioning (CCx) for ongoing system optimization.