The Commissioning Process for Delivering Quality Constructed Projects

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Course Overview

Learn how to use the ASHRAE Guideline 0 Commissioning Process (CxP), a cost-effective and successful quality method for buildings and constructed projects. Created for building owners, facility managers, commissioning authorities, and all members of the design and construction team, this course presents hands-on opportunities to learn the fundamentals of this effective process for whole building design, green buildings, and rehab or additions. Gain tools and techniques to incorporate full-quality project management from pre-design through the life of the facility.

What you will learn

This course is designed to help you:

  • Implement whole building design and delivery using the ASHRAE Guideline 0 Commissioning Process (CxP)
  • Recognize the characteristics of an effective quality process
  • Differentiate between the CxP and your current procedures
  • Explain the value of the NIBS and ASHRAE guidelines
  • Explore the key steps and tools used in the CxP
  • Transform your organization from its current process to the CxP
  • Establish expectations for project costs and savings/benefits related to the CxP
  • Explain the role of commissioning process teams and how that role changes from pre-design to occupancy

Who Should Attend?

  • Project managers and planners
  • Commissioning authorities and agents
  • Building owners
  • Developers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Construction managers
  • Building operating staff

Click here to learn more about the course instructors.

Additional Information

This course has been approved for 24 LU/HSW AIA CEUs.

Course Outline

Online course agenda

Download the full online agenda in pdf format here.

Classroom (in person) course agenda

Download the full agenda in pdf format here.


Introduction and Course Orientation 

Overview of the Commissioning Process (CxP)

  • What is the ASHRAE Guideline 0 commissioning process?
  • Current best practice
  • What is a quality delivery process?
  • Benefits of the commissioning process
  • What occurs in each phase of project delivery?

Pre-Design Phase Commissioning Tasks (Part 1)

Developing the owner’s project requirements (OPR)

  • Owner’s workshop: preparation and participants, nominal group technique, procedures and results 

The Owner’s Project Requirements Workshop

  • Executing an OPR workshop
  • Determining which questions to ask – project success criteria
  • Class activity: OPR workshop in action

Pre-Design Phase Commissioning Tasks (Part 2)

  • Planning the CxP effort
  • Commissioning plan fundamentals, key milestones, structure
  • Evaluating the benefits of pre-design phase involvement
  • The CxP as a strategic quality plan

Class Workshop: Defining CxP Needs

Developing the OPR Document

  • Review of key OPR concepts
  • Typical information required to develop needs
  • Steps in document creation
  • Group Activity: discussion of example document

CxP Activities in the Design Phase

  • Pre-design meetings
  • Design checklists
  • Basis of design development
  • CxP design review process
  • CxPlan update

Design Review Workshop

  • Group workshop using the four steps of a CxP design review procedure

Commissioning Specifications

  • Format options
  • Types of requirements: contractor participation; maintainability; checklist implementation; shop drawings, training, and systems manual; testing and verification
  • Group specifications activity

Commissioning Process Checklists

  • Purpose, goals
  • Use in all project phases
  • Construction checklists: development, tracking methods, verification, statistical sampling
  • Checklist work session

Systems Manual and Training

  • Systems manual (role in all phases)
  • Training (role in all phases)

Construction Phase CxP Tasks

  • Pre-construction activities (pre-bid, workshops, partnering)
  • Cx meetings and coordination, role of the CxA
  • Tracking commissioning activities
  • Cx schedule
  • Testing
  • Commissioning reports
  • Benefits/issues log

Commissioning Process Tests

  • Developing test protocols
  • Confirmation of readiness
  • Implementation steps
  • Documentation
  • Group workshop

Integrating CxP with Contractor Efforts

  • Quality processes
  • Overlaps and gaps

Acceptance Phase, First Year of Operation, and Beyond

  • Training
  • Systems manual
  • Project CxP report(s)
  • Warranty review and seasonal testing
  • On-going commissioning

Electronic and Web-Based Commissioning Tools

  • Computer tools for site tracking
  • Electronic systems manuals

Analyzing the Benefits of Commissioning: Case Studies

  • Scope of commissioning
  • Detailed cost analysis
  • Benefits and lessons learned

Special Topics in the CxP

  • Review of LEED Cx process
  • Review of existing building Cx process


Rick Casault

Rick Casault, P.E., CDT, CCP, president of Casault Engineering, Seattle, Washington, specializes in developing commissioning process master plans and process services. He has more than 23 years of experience in the commissioning, operation, design, and management of laboratory, medical, public transportation, institutional, industrial, and commercial facilities. Casault is developing new MasterSpec specification sections related to the commissioning process and was founding president of the Building Commissioning Association.

Chad Dorgan

Chad Dorgan is an internationally recognized built environment change-maker with a passion for identifying systemic challenges and opportunities in companies while collaborating at all levels to understand, address and capitalize on the challenge/opportunity. Most recently, Chad was Vice President Quality and Sustainability for McCarthy Building Companies where he grew sustainability within the company to become a core value and expanded market share by over $20 billion. While there he also impacted the industry by establishing a peer group (Construction Quality Executives Council) where he enabled others to adopt his integrated quality process.

Industry Transformer. Throughout his career, Chad has continued to transform the industries he has worked in – always looking to streamline and improve how work is approached and accomplished. This started early in his career to change the way central cooling plants and air conditioning was designed – moving from large inefficient systems to more adaptable and efficient systems using thermal storage and cold air distribution.

Chad then focused on how to improve owner's processes for planning, designing, constructing, and operating their facilities. This primarily included the streamlining and consistent application of the Commissioning Process, helping establish a new worldwide industry to get better built environments.

At McCarthy, through his creation of the integrated quality process for design and construction, Chad transformed how contractors approach and implement quality – from a very procedural and contract-based approach to a fully integrated culture of planning and continuous improvement, to just what is done.

Sustainability Innovator. Early in the sustainability wave, Chad recognized the need for certainty in ensuring building performance and worked to integrate the Commissioning Process into the new LEED rating system for building – which ultimately has improved over 100k projects in 178 countries.

At McCarthy Building Companies, in addition to growing sustainable project market share by $20 billion within10 years, Chad established sustainability as a core value, which included the implementation of green operations on every project, and elevating sustainability to the company's strategic plan.

Recognizing sustainability training focused solely on design, Chad created the first-ever 30-hour builder-centric sustainability training and shared it with over 30k professionals through USGBC's Education+ platform, providing clear guidance on how to integrate sustainability into construction operations.

Making Complex Simple. Throughout Chad's career, he has excelled at making the complex simple for others to understand, and more importantly follow and do. The foundation to this started through the creation of 16 design and application guides for the building mechanical design industry – taking complex and often unknown research and translating it to simple, proven design methods that could be implemented within existing processes.

At McCarthy Building Companies, he created industry-leading building enclosure and MEP programs that made new project engineers to the company effective at managing these scopes of work, given that they did not have the technical background or experience to manage the work. In addition, he led a cross-region and department team to reinvent the company procedures – streamlining from over 300+ core sections to a graphical 34 section adaptable process chart.

Chad Grindle

Chad S. Grindle is Senior Manager of Technical Services for Cellular Dynamics International. He is a licensed professional engineer with over 16 years of experience as a consultant developing, managing and implementing the commissioning process for a diverse, national client base.

Today Mr. Grindle applies his knowledge and experience with the commissioning industry in the management of facility design, maintenance and operations for Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), an industry leader in autologous stem cell research, development, and manufacturing. Currently, Mr. Grindle's efforts includes adaptation of the commissioning process to facilitate validation efforts for CDI's new cGMP facility and headquarters in the Madison area, as well as several expansion and adaptation projects with CDI's current facilities.

Joy Altwies

Joy Altwies, PhD, PE, LEED AP+, is a Program Director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Engineering Professional Development (EPD). For over 16 years, Dr. Altwies has developed and taught continuing education courses emphasizing high-performance building design and construction, mechanical system design and operation, energy efficiency, and commissioning. She is also Program Director of the Master of Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) degree program and an instructor of two graduate courses in the program.

Prior to joining the University of Wisconsin, Joy worked as a consulting engineer focusing on energy efficiency and environmentally responsible building design and construction. She provided commissioning services for a variety of projects with a strong emphasis on green and sustainable building principles. She also provided LEED assistance and green design opportunity analysis for clients seeking these specialized services in the commercial building market. As a certified home energy rater for the national Energy Star Homes® program, her work also encompassed the residential building market.

Dr. Altwies is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), where she currently serves as Vice Chair and Research Chair for the Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability technical committee (TC 2.8). She has also served on committees for the U.S. Green Building Council and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance.

Joy earned a Doctorate in Environment and Resources through the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. Her interdisciplinary research investigated the impact of building energy code policies on technology adoption in the commercial and residential building sectors. She also holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

Sarah Maston

Sarah Maston, P.E., CPMP, LEED AP BD+C, president of Green Footprints Commissioning, Inc., is a mechanical engineer with over 16 years of experience in mechanical/ HVAC systems evaluation, troubleshooting, design, startup, and commissioning for a variety of project types.

Serving as lead commissioning authority for new construction projects as well as existing building commissioning projects, her responsibilities include facilitating Owner's Project Requirement (OPR) workshops, project management, performing building system assessments, developing commissioning plans, design reviews, specifications, system readiness, system evaluations and facilitating functional performance tests. She also follows up with occupants to evaluate comfort and review 10-month warranty meetings.

She has also designed systems utilizing terminal units, radiant heat, central air systems, humidity controls, building automation, energy recovery, and central plants. Additionally, Ms. Maston has performed building efficiency studies, and LEED® feasibility studies. She is active on ASHRAE's Building Commissioning Technical Committee 7.9.

Upcoming dates (1)

Oct. 11-13, 2021

Madison, WI
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Program Director

Joy Altwies

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