The Commissioning Process for Delivering Quality Constructed Projects

Upcoming dates (2)

Apr. 29 - May 1, 2024

Madison, WI

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 can be taken in combination with one of the two-day special-topic elective courses to fulfill the education/training requirements of the UW Commissioning Provider certifications. The current list of special-topic electives can be found on the UW Commissioning Provider certifications page.

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 in-person 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

Dr. Chad Dorgan is a Founding Partner of Fractal CSOs, an international organization composed of previous and current chief sustainability officers providing fractional sustainability leadership to companies to define and drive sustainability from their core values, using quality foundational elements to establish robust and integrated programs.

Throughout Chad's 30-plus-year career in the engineering, consulting, construction, and test/inspection/certification industries, he has played a significant role in the evolution of sustainability and quality in the built environment. Dr. Dorgan's past roles include driving Sustainability Solutions for SGS, Vice President - Sustainability and Quality for McCarthy Building Companies Inc., and executive leader of Dorgan Associates/Farnsworth Group, a consulting firm focused on the transfer of technology from research to application.

Chad started his career as a mechanical engineer in the US Air Force, where he was in charge of a 60-person operations and maintenance squadron during Desert Storm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is a LEED Fellow of the United States Green Building Council and a Fellow member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Chad has also been recognized with several industry awards, including the ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award and the 2004 Benner Award from the Building Commissioning Association for making commissioning business as usual. Dr. Dorgan graduated from the University of Wisconsin, with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. Indoor Air Quality.

Joy Altwies

Joy Altwies, Ph.D., P.E., LEED AP+, is a program director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs. Since 2004, 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 the program director of the Master of Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) degree program and an instructor of two graduate courses in the program.

Sarah Maston

Sarah Maston, P.E., BCxP, LEED AP BD+C, Director for Colliers Project Leaders, Commissioning and Energy Services Division, is a mechanical engineer with over 20 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 serves on ASHRAE’s Board of Directors as a Vice-President.  She is also the Vice-Chair of Technology Council and a member of the Advanced Energy Design Guide Steering Committee as well as the Epidemic Task Force.

Ian McIntosh

Dr. Ian McIntosh, PhD, CxM, is a program director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs (InterPro). He joined the InterPro Facilities and Building Systems team in December 2020 after being a frequent lecturer and course developer for the previous 20 years. His responsibilities include teaching, directing and business development for commissioning certification courses related to project management, existing buildings, and building enclosures. He is also the owner and founder of ianTEACH LLC, which provides innovative and strategic performance-based training and coaching to engineers, architects, construction and facilities management professionals in various sectors of the national building industry.

He is an Accredited Commissioning Process Manager (CxM) with over twenty years of dedicated experience in Total Building Commissioning (a quality process) and has managed numerous energy, commissioning, retro-commissioning, and LEED® commissioning projects throughout the nation. As a Commissioning Provider and Mechanical Engineer, Dr. McIntosh has prepared and led several Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) workshops, written and integrated numerous commissioning specifications, co-invented and implemented electronic bar-coded checklists, system manuals and tracked owner cost savings. He has also executed hands-on in-depth field work, performed functional performance testing of complex HVAC systems/subsystems and coordinated full-scale operation & maintenance (O&M) and user training programs.

Ian holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the City College of the City University of New York (CCNY) and earned his Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the Solar Energy Lab at UW-Madison. He and his wife of 18 years like to spend quality time with their four children.

Upcoming dates (2)

Program Director

Joy Altwies

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