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Clarity Equals Results – CxA Sampling Rates

Clarity Equals Results – CxA Sampling Rates

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 69) – All IMHO:

ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 202-2013 (Commissioning Process for Buildings & Systems, Appendix B, page 15) requires a quality based sampling process for verification as part of the Commissioning process and this should be codified in the project OPR. The number of times I have seen this in an OPR is exactly zero!

Let’s be clear, if every project was commissioned as required by ASHRAE, Commissioning fees would be quadruple what they are today. The reality is, projects de-scope Commissioning, corners are cut due to reduce fees and there are very few consequences to the design and construction teams for not Commissioning the building properly. 

The irony is that if sampling requirements based on project type and complexity where thought through and codified in the project OPR then there would be no need to cut corners during Commissioning and everyone would be aware of the commissioning effort required. This would also result in higher quality outcomes and more consistent market pricing for Commissioning services. 

From a contractual perspective clarity is required. If the sampling rates are not specified then there can be an assumption of 100% sampling and verification required by the Commissioning firm. Few projects can actually afford that. However contracts are enforcement documents, they list what is required, the rate of remuneration and the consequences of non-compliance. If contractual requirements are vague then assumptions are made and legal battles ensue. Talk about a lose, lose situation, all for the lack of forethought and documenting requirements. 

I want to lay out what I believe should be documented in the project OPR, specifications and Commissioning plan for verification as part of the Commissioning process. The sampling rates for quality management via the Commissioning process should be crystal clear. First to avoid confusion, some definitions are required in the context of building projects: 

  • Sampling: The selection of a number of physical (actual) verifications of the population being reviewed in order to derive conclusions about the entire population from a limited number of observations. 

  • Benchmarking: The process of comparing project processes and performance metrics (KPI’s) to industry bests and best practices from other companies. ASHRAE Commissioning Guideline 0-2013 calls out benchmarking requirements to be included in the OPR. Again, I have never seen this actually done. 

  • Quality process: A subset of Quality Management. A process to ensure that a project component, system and outcome is consistent and performing to specified requirements. Commissioning is a Quality Management (design phase) and Quality Control (Construction phase) process. 

  • Total Quality Management (TQM) : Consists of project wide efforts to install and make permanent a climate in which a project continuously improves its ability to deliver high-quality products and services to customers. This is the “holy grail” , a continuosly learning organizational company and project culture. Not yet seen by me in the wild world of building design and delivery.   

The tables I have produced detail what I believe are necessary sampling rates for the Commissioning Authority to discharge their duty of care and ensure high quality outcomes. The tables are split between low/medium complexity buildings and high complexity buildings. I also note compliance with various ASHRAE, NIBS and NEBB requirements. Tables like this should IMHO, be in every specification, Commissioning RFP, Project OPR and Commissioning plan. 

The tables turned into 8 page monsters and therefore cannot easily be displayed here. They can be downloaded at: ( )

Testing of life safety systems varies greatly between countries and AHJ’s. However I strongly believe that there should be no compromise with life safety testing, therefore I recommend 100% verification of life safety systems.  

I must stress, these are the ramblings of the Building Whisperer, a delusional mad man who has seen too much over many years. Therefore, please accept or disregard these tables as you see fit. 

Related posts:

#39 – Balderdash, Commissioning RFP’s & The Benefits of Clarity ( )

#67 – Whistle Blowing on Professional Services Fees ( )

#65 – Staircase Pressurization Systems – Life Safety with Single Points of Failure! ( )

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