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Division of the State Architect

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 The Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools Resource


Chart of the 5 Phases of Building Commissioning: 1.Program Phase 2.Design Phase 3.Construction Phase 4.Acceptance Phase 5.Post-Acceptance Phase; chart's caption, 'CHPS, 'Commissioning is a systematic, documented process including visual examination and functional performance testing to demonstrate that installed components or systems and the building overall meets the intent of the original design'.'  Photo excerpted with permission from CHPS.

Without properly commissioning a school, many sustainable design elements can be compromised. In the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guideline 0-200x, The Commissioning Process, ASHRAE defines Commissioning as follows:

    "The Commissioning Process is a quality-oriented process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems, and assemblies meet defined objectives and criteria. The Commissioning Process begins at project inception (during the pre-design phase) and continues for the life of the facility through the occupancy and operation phase…

    The commissioning process includes specific tasks to be conducted during each phase in order to verify that design, construction, and training meets the Owner's Project Requirements."

By implementing a commissioning plan, a school can be sure that all of the systems function at optimum levels. The Division of the State Architect is currently developing a commissioning plan for schools. Please refer to our Facilities Performance Evaluation page for further related information.

Featured Resources

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
(Best Practices Manual Volume 2: Introduction to the Guidelines, Commissioning & GuidelineGC5: Contractor's Commissioning Responsibilities) CHPS aims to facilitate the design of high performance schools in California - environments that are not only resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit and contain the amenities needed for a quality education. CHPS has developed a set of Best Practices Manuals (available at to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

California Commissioning Collaborative
The California Commissioning Collaborative is an adhoc group of government, utility and building services professionals who are committed to developing and promoting viable building commissioning practices in California. The purpose of the Collaborative is to facilitate the development of cost effective programs, tools, techniques and service delivery infrastructure that enables the implementation of the building commissioning process in new and existing buildings.

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities - School Building Commissioning
NCEF's resource list of links, books, and journal articles on building commissioning, which is the process of certifying that a new school building meets required specifications.

Portland Energy Conservation, Inc. (PECI)
PECI's has provided an extensive resource list of documents and organizations related to building commissioning and operation and maintenance.

City of Santa Monica - Santa Monica Green Building Design and Construction Guidelines Commissioning
This site includes a thorough overview and description of commissioning as well as pages on required/suggested practices, commissioning plans, equipment testing, operation and maintenance training, and commissioning reports.

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