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  Commissioning and handover

A proper commissioning and handover proces
This issue focuses on planning handover and commissioning to reflect the needs of the development users and is based on the following sustainability features:

Commissioning and testing schedule & responsibilities

Schedule of commissioning and testing after identifying the appropriate commissioning for the scope of works. This includes a suitable timescale regarding building services, control systems and building fabric.

Schedule refers to the appropriate standards including national best practice commissioning codes.

Where a building management system (BMS) is specified, refer to compliance note below.

Appropriate project team member appointed monitor, program pre-commissioning, commissioning - testing and recommissioning when necessary.

Principal contractor accounts for the commissioning and testing program, responsibilities and criteria within their budget and the main program of works to allow enough time prior to handover.

Commissioning building services

For complex building services and systems, a specialist commissioning manager appointed during the design stage responsible for:

  • Design reviews and advice on suitability for ease of commissioning
  • Commissioning management input to construction programming and during installation
  • Management of commissioning, performance testing and handover or post-handover stages
For simple building services, role can be carried out by an appropriate project team member, provided they are not involved in the general installation works for the building services systems.

Testing and inspecting building fabric

The integrity of the building fabric, including continuity of insulation, avoidance of thermal bridging and air leakage paths is quality assured through completion of post-construction testing and inspection. This can be demonstrated via a thermographic survey, as well as an airtightness test and inspection. The survey and testing is undertaken by a suitably qualified professional in accordance with the appropriate standard.

Any defects identified in the site inspection, thermographic survey and the airtightness testing reports rectified prior to development handover and close out. Any remedial work must meet the required performance characteristics for the building or element as defined by the design.


A development user guide is prepared, prior to handover for distribution to the users and premises managers. A draft copy is developed and discussed with users first (where occupants are known) to ensure the guide is most appropriate and useful.

A training schedule is prepared for development users or premises managers, timed appropriately around handover and proposed occupation plans, which includes the following content:

  • Design intent of the development
  • Aftercare provision and aftercare team main contacts, including any scheduled seasonal commissioning and post occupancy evaluation
  • Introduction to, and demonstration of, installed systems and key features, particularly BMSs, controls, to ensure they are fully conversant with the detailed operation
  • Introduction to the development user guide and other relevant documentation, e.g. design data, technical guides, maintenance strategy, operations and maintenance (O & M) manual, commissioning records, log book etc
  • Maintenance requirements, including any maintenance contracts and regimes in place
Compliance notes

BMS commissioning procedures

Following must be carried out:

  • Commissioning of air and water systems when all control devices installed, wired and functional
  • In addition to air and water flow, commissioning results include physical measurements of room temperatures, off-coil temperatures and other key parameters
  • The BMS or controls already running on auto with satisfactory internal conditions
  • BMS schematics and graphics fully installed and functional to user interface before handover
  • Occupier or facilities team fully trained in the operation of the system
National best practice commissioning codes

Refer to the Approved Standards and Weightings List (ASWL) for appropriate national building regulations and best practice commissioning codes regarding each county. Alternatively, demonstrate minimum requirements as set out in the Approved standards and weightings list are covered by the proposed documents. Where appropriate commissioning codes do not exist, the design team should demonstrate compliance with the UK or European standards.


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