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LEED v2009
New Construction
Energy and Atmosphere
Enhanced Commissioning

LEED CREDIT

NC-2009 EAc3: Enhanced Commissioning 1-2 points

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Requirements

Implement, or have a contract in place to implement, the following additional commissioning process activities in addition to the requirements of EA Prerequisite 1: Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems and in accordance with the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, 2009 Edition:

  • Prior to the start of the construction documents phase, designate an independent commissioning authority (CxA) to lead, review, and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities.
    • The CxA must have documented commissioning authority experience in at least 2 building projects.
    • The individual serving as the CxA:
      • Must be independent of the work of design and construction.
      • Must not be an employee of the design firm, though he or she may be contracted through them.
      • Must not be an employee of, or contracted through, a contractor or construction manager holding construction contracts.
      • May be a qualified employee or consultant of the owner.
    • The CxA must report results, findings and recommendations directly to the owner.
  • The CxA must conduct, at a minimum, 1 commissioning design review of the owner’s project requirements basis of design, and design documents prior to the midconstruction documents phase and back-check the review comments in the subsequent design submission.
  • The CxA must review contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned for compliance with the owner’s project requirements and basis of design. This review must be concurrent with the review of the architect or engineer of record and submitted to the design team and the owner.
  • The CxA or other project team members must develop a systems manual that provides future operating staff the information needed to understand and optimally operate the commissioned systems.
  • The CxA or other project team members must verify that the requirements for training operating personnel and building occupants have been completed.
  • The CxA must be involved in reviewing the operation of the building with operations and maintenance (O&M) staff and occupants within 10 months after substantial completion. A plan for resolving outstanding commissioning-related issues must be included.
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Frequently asked questions

Who can perform enhanced commissioning services?

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If my project uses a District Energy System (DES) is enhanced commissioning required for the DES?

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Addenda

12/2/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

For our project, a third party Commissioning Agent (Dome Tech) has been contracted to provide all services to meet the criteria of both EA Prerequisite 1: Fundamental Building Systems Commissioning and EA Credit 3: Additional Commissioning. This contract began back in 2001 during design phase. Construction phase did not begin until 2006. Our project includes high efficiency gas-fired micro-turbines combined with a double effect absorption chiller/heater to provide on-site power, heating and cooling. UTC Power, A United Technologies Company offers such a system and was submitted and approved for the project. Since the submittal review and approval as well as installation, UTC has acquired the Firm (Dome Tech) that was contracted to provide Commissioning Services. When we asked the Commissioning Agent if this posed a conflict of interest and pointed them to the existing Credit Interpretations the following is the response that we received: "Dome-Tech\'s recent acquisition by United Technologies doesn\'t present a conflict of interest due to our organization being maintained as a separate business with separate accounting and management. Unlike CIR dated 11/08/2004 where an energy service company was performing commissioning and potentially supplying the controls and automation, neither Dome-Tech nor UTC Power is operating under a performance contract model. Dome-Tech has nothing to gain by not disclosing any issues uncovered during the commissioning of the Microturbines, in addition in our experience most manufacturers and installers would rather know and fix a problem then let it become a warranty issue. Additionally, Dome-Tech is not affiliated with the design team in any way, so our suitability for EA 3 is in compliance." Our inquiry is whether or not the acquisition of Dome-Tech by UTC - the manufacturer of the Microturbine system - poses a conflict of interest and precludes us from being able to achieve either EA Prerequisite 1 or EA Credit 3? Please note that the project construction is near the end and the acquisition did not take place until October 1, 2007.

Ruling:

For this project it is acceptable to retain the previously hired commissioning agent despite the fact that an equipment supplier has since acquired the firm, provided that the commissioning agent will document that they retain independence in staffing, management, and finances. The commissioning agent has likely completed significant portions of the EAp1 and EAc3 requirements thus its acquisition by the equipment supplier should have minimal impact on the project. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
3/10/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

We seek confirmation that the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will accept the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. as an independent, third party Commissioning Authority on projects designed by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. The Jacobs organization encompasses over 57,000 personnel in hundreds of offices around the world providing services of all kinds to thousands of clients. The organization is comprised of over 125 separate companies, collectively called "Jacobs". Among these 125 companies is the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (JEG) which provides a diverse list of design services to clients worldwide, and the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. (JCI) which offers planning, facilities management, commissioning, and other building and property advisory services to mainly North American clients. JCI and JEG are separate and independent legal entities under the Jacobs umbrella of companies. They operate autonomously. The two companies have separate Boards of Directors and separate federal tax identification numbers. They have no day-to-day or annual contact for any reason. As an example of their dissimilar corporate objectives, JEG is authorized to provide professional architecture and engineering design services in all 50 states; JCI is not authorized to provide professional design services, but is registered to do business in virtually all states, certainly all states in which we intend to provide commissioning services. The two companies do not share any staff. Each company is treated financially as an individual profit center. There are no financial ties, dependence, intradependence or interdependence between JCI and JEG. There are no shared expenses, profit, sales, bonuses, or anything of the like between the two companies. There are no financial, social, personnel, or any other relationships between the two entities in any form whatsoever. Operational management of JCI and JEG are completely separate and autonomous. The convergence of corporate management only occurs at the highest levels of Jacobs as the necessary rollup of responsibility to the President of the corporation. In the corporate hierarchy, this is many levels above the operational management of both JCI and JEG. Accordingly, with regard to the independence tests established in several previous CIR\'s over many years: Management: The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. shares no operational management with JEG and the convergence of corporate management only occurs at the highest levels of the Jacobs organization as explained above. Staff: The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. shares no staff with JEG. Specifically, there is no overlap of personnel between design and commissioning teams, which have separate reporting structures. Financials: The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. shares no financial relationship with JEG. To further secure and establish the independence of the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. commissioning group on any given project designed by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.: 1. The commissioning contract will always be a direct and separate contract between the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. and the Owner. 2. The Commissioning Authority will always report directly to the Owner. The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. will, of course, comply with all LEED Fundamental Commissioning and LEED Enhanced Commissioning requirements on any assignment as the Commissioning Authority for a LEED registered project. Based on these facts, please confirm that the USGBC will consider the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. as an independent, third party Commissioning Authority on projects designed by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

Ruling:

The applicant is seeking clarification on the definition of "independent, third party" commissioning authority, where the commissioning authority\'s company shares corporate management with the design engineering company, even though each company is a separate and independent legal entity. Per LEED-NC v2.1 CIR ruling dated 3/11/2003, it is not acceptable for an individual to serve as the independent commissioning authority for a project where design or construction management services are provided by a company that shares staff or management, up to and including the President or CEO. Based on the description provided, it appears that top management is shared between the two companies so the approach as described is not acceptable. Applicable Internationally.

Update, 5/25/17: This LEED Interpretation ruling is applicable to LEED v4.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/14/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

For our project, three separate commissioning authorities have been engaged to oversee the commissioning process; Contractor\'s Commissioning Specialist (CSC), Designer\'s Commissioning Specialist (CSD) and the Government\'s Commissioning Specialist (CSG). The project is very large (over $800 Million in construction cost) so the owner felt expertise in all three corners would be recommended. The CSD, retained by the Architect/Engineer has been involved with development of the original commissioning plan and commissioning specifications with the A/E and the Owner. They have provided commissioning related design document reviews for the A/E throughout all design phases, they will review selected contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned, they will review construction related commissioning submittals, and they will witness selected commissioning functional performance tests. The CSC, retained by the builder will be involved with the development of the final commissioning plan, they will develop all final commissioning forms and test procedures in conjunction with the Contractor and all associated subcontractors, they will coordinate the commissioning throughout the construction process, they will perform all pre-functional inspections and submit completed pre-functional forms, they will coordinate and complete all functional performance tests, they will coordinate and complete the O&M training and they will submit a commissioning record as the completion of the commissioning process. The CSG is essentially responsible for completion of the Fundamental Commissioning tasks. The CSG, has been hired directly by the Government (Owner) and will serve as the third party commissioning entity to perform all tasks required to fulfill the LEED Enhanced Commissioning requirements. They will be involved with design document reviews prior to the mid-construction documents phase and have been involved in the review of the OPR and the BOD as well as providing assistance in the development of the commissioning specifications. They will review selected contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned, construction checklists and functional performance test forms. They will witness selected commissioning functional performance tests develop a systems manual and review the building operations with O&M staff and occupants within 10 months after substantial completion. Our inquiry is whether or not the team configuration and assignment of commissioning tasks described above will meet the intent of the Energy and Atmosphere Enhanced Commissioning Credit requirements.

Ruling:

The applicant is requesting confirmation that a commissioning team consisting of a Contractor\'s Commissioning Specialist, Designer\'s Commissioning Specialist, and a Government\'s Commissioning Specialist can satisfy the credit requirements. The team configuration as described, appear to meet the credit requirements. With respect to assignment of commissioning tasks, the CSG (directly hired by Owner) shall have ultimate commissioning responsibility with respect to the project including O&M training and verification. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
9/10/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Per the guidance given by the CIR ruling on 1/8/2007, it was affirmed that an independent third party commissioning authority (CxA) must provide commissioning process oversight and review of deliverables for the commissioning activities required for EAp1-Fundamental Commissioning and EAc3-Enhanced Commissioning. Since the CIR guidance allows projects "some flexibility" in fitting the Cx process to the project, we wish to ascertain whether the following proposed breakout of Cx tasks, responsibilities and oversight methodologies will meet the requirements of EAc3, if a project team chooses to not use an Independent 3rd party CxA to complete all EAp1 and EAc3 tasks but instead contracts with an Independent 3rd party to lead, oversee, and review selected tasks and uses the independent commissioning group of the project\'s design firm to complete many of the actual commissioning tasks. Much of this confusion arises from the use of the term "CxA" being used both in the 2.2 Reference Guide outline of EAp1 tasks as well as in the 2.2 Reference Guide\'s outline of the EAc3 tasks. Projects seeking the State of Oregon\'s LEED tax credit must achieve EAc3. As such, we are submitting this CIR to ensure that these scopes of work are accurately and clearly defined for the Independent CxA and the qualified commissioning group within the design firm (defined as "Other" below) involved in the commissioning process and that how we allocate these tasks will not be found deficient during certification review. Please review the following breakout of LEED EAp1 and EAc3 commissioning responsibilities and verify whether the scope of responsibilities assigned to the Independent 3rd party CxA meets the stated requirements to "lead, review, and oversee" the commissioning process for projects seeking EAc3. If any of the specific responsibilities within the individual tasks that are shown as assigned to the Independent 3rd party CxA below are insufficient to meet the leadership, process oversight and review responsibilities for this credit, please clearly define what changes should occur. EAp1 + EAc3 RESPONSIBILITY MATRIX for Projects Seeking EAc3 Independent Cx Authority- Per LEED NC 2.2 Guidance - Qualified Independent 3rd Party-not a member of the design or construction team firms. May be a member of the owner\'s team if qualified per LEED guidance. Other - Per LEED NC 2.2 Guidance - Non-design team member(s) of the Design Firm qualified to provide commissioning services. May be a member of the owner\'s team if qualified per LEED guidance. EAp1 Tasks - Task numbers correspond to LEED NC v2.2 Reference Guide Requirements (page 151) 1) Independent Cx Authority- Lead, review and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities 1) Other - Perform commissioning tasks under the leadership, review and oversight of the Independent CxA 2) Independent Cx Authority- Review OPR & BOD documentation completed by ownership and design teams for clarity and completeness per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 3) Independent Cx Authority- Review and verify that Cx requirements are incorporated into the construction documents. 3) Other -Develop and incorporate Cx requirements into Construction documents. 4) Independent Cx Authority- Review Cx Plan to ensure completeness per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 4) Other -Develop a Cx Plan that defines the Cx process, participants, schedule, protocol, and deliverables per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 5) Independent Cx Authority- Review testing schedule, relevant pre-functional inspections and final system performance testing reports to verify testing program is completed by the design team\'s commissioning authority per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 5) Other -Verify Installation and performance of commissioned systems per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 6) Independent Cx Authority- Review final draft of summary commissioning report to verify relevant sections and details are addressed as defined by LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 6) Other -Complete a summary commissioning report per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. EAc3 Tasks - Task numbers correspond to LEED NC v2.2 Reference Guide Requirements (page 205) 1) Independent Cx Authority- Lead, review and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities 1) Other - Perform commissioning tasks under the leadership, review and oversight of the Independent CxA 2) Independent Cx Authority- Complete a detailed commissioning focused design review by mid-construction document phase to verify that designed systems and BOD meet OPR requirements. Back check the review comments in subsequent design submissions. 3) Independent Cx Authority- Review relevant contractor submittals for compliance with project\'s OPR and BOD. 4) Independent Cx Authority- Review completed systems manual to ensure it includes relevant sections and detail as defined by LEED NC 2.2 guidance 4) Other -Develop a systems manual for the project 5) Independent Cx Authority- Stay appraised with design team commissioning authority that training protocol review and building operator training has been completed. 5) Other -Verify training of building operators is completed per LEED NC 2.2 guidance 6) Independent Cx Authority- Per LEED NC 2.2 guidance, review building operations with O&M staff and occupants within 10 months of building completion and develop a plan for resolution of outstanding commissioning-related items.

Ruling:

The applicant is seeking an interpretation as to the acceptability of the delineation of commissioning tasks as outlined in the credit interpretation request. This inquiry appears to be attempting to define the minimum role of the independent commissioning authority (CxA) for projects seeking EAc3. For LEED projects pursuing EAc3, the third party commissioning authority must lead, oversee, and review all commissioning tasks. Per the USGBC document "Who Can Be the Commissioning Authority" (https://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1262), the same CxA must oversee the required tasks of both EA Prerequisite 1 and EA Credit 3. Per CIR ruling dated 1/8/2007, the independent CxA need not always formally review and approve each deliverable. However, it will be the responsibility of the independent CxA to determine the roles and responsibilities pertinent to each of the required tasks under both EA Prerequisite 1 and EA Credit 3. Note that the CxA individual must themselves do EA Credit 3 tasks 2, 3, & 6. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/9/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Is it acceptable for an employee of the Owner, who will also be acting as the project\'s LEED AP and Team Administrator for LEED Online, to serve as the project\'s Commissioning Authority, provided that the individual has served as the CxA on at least two projects previously?

Ruling:

As the project has already indicated the CxA has previously worked as a commissioning authority on at least two other projects, provided all other applicable criteria and documentation is provided and satisfied at the time of the project\'s submittal for LEED certification, this strategy should fulfill the prerequisite and credit pursuit requirements. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/22/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The intent of our question is to clarify who can serve as the Commissioning Agent for LEED NC 2.2 Enhanced Commissioning, EA Credit 3. Our team has read LEED NC 2.2 Reference Manual and the white paper "Who Can Be a Commissioning Authority" dated 1/30/06. Our question concerns whether separation is recognized between the Architectural and Engineering designers for projects where these responsibilities are being performed by separate firms under separate contracts with the Owner, and whether that separation creates the independence from the design team required for the CxA. In our case, the firm who is providing architectural design and is the Architect-of-Record is under contract with the Owner with no subconsultants. The Architect is not responsible for the design of any of the systems to be commissioned under EA Credit 3. The Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing designs are being provided by other firms, each with a separate contract with the Owner. The Architect employs several persons who are Commissioning Authorities with the required documented experience. Is a qualified disinterested employee of the Architect eligible to act as the CxA for the project under EA Credit 3 if the Architectural firm is not providing design services for commissioned systems either directly or through a subcontract, and if the CxA\'s findings are reported directly to the Owner?

Ruling:

The project has requested clarification regarding the use of an internal Architect from the designing Architecture Firm to serve as CxA for the project. This strategy does not comply with the written requirements of EAc3 in LEED-NC and therefore would preclude the project from earning points for this credit. The intent of this credit is to utilize an independent CxA without any relationship to the Design or Construction work. Per LEED-NC EAc3 Requirement 1.b.ii states: "The individual serving as the CxA shall be not an employee of the design firm" Although the mechanical systems being commissioned have not been designed by the Architecture firm, changes as a result of the Commissioning process could impact the Architecture Firm and additional systems which they may have control over the design. Therefore, although the CxA may not be directly involved in the project, they would not truly be "disinterested" as an employee of the designing Architecture Firm. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/1/2012
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The project is requesting guidance on how EAc3 Enhanced Commissioning, as well as EAc5 Measurement and Verification, can be pursued for projects utilizing government-owned district energy systems that can\'t comply the requirements outlined in the LEED DES guidelines. Following the guidelines, projects that meet certain criteria cannot obtain points for EAc3 or EAc5 if they earn points for EAc1 Optimize Energy Performance but are unable to commission or meter upstream DES equipment.The project consists of a manufacturing facility located in China. The facility utilizes district steam for heating. The district energy plant is owned and operated by the government. The facility is greater than 50,000 sf and the district energy system will account for about 30% of the building\'s annual energy cost. In addition to this, the project would like to pursue points under EAc1.Following the "Treatment of District or Campus Thermal Energy in LEED V2 and LEED 2009-Design & Construction" guidelines, the project would not be able to pursue Enhanced Commissioning while earning EAc1 points without commissioning upstream equipment at the DES plant. The same requirements also prevent the project from pursuing credit EAc5 Measurement and Verification without including the DES plant.Due to the strict and undisclosed nature of the government in China, obtaining information and specific numbers on the energy performance and maintenance of the DES equipment would not be possible, making the Enhanced Commissioning of all district energy system equipment unfeasible. The same problem applies to credit EAc5.Even if the DES plant was owned by a utility company, it is unlikely the utility would give the project team all of required the information and allow them to perform the activities outlined in the DES guidelines. The guidelines appear to apply only to owner-operated DESs rather than utility or government-operated DESs. Projects that utilize most district energy systems are disadvantaged by not being able to earn a total of five Energy & Atmosphere points for these two credits. Given that DESs are typically employed because of the increased efficiencies realized through economies of scale and varied user demand schedules and are often more efficient than if the same facility were to operate with individual systems in isolation, we feel the current guidance places an inordinate onerous on government-owned/operated systems. Given the information above, can government-owned upstream equipment included in the district energy system be excluded from the scope of both EAc3 and EAc5 under the DES guidelines so that projects can earn points for EAc3 and EAc5 while earning points for EAc1? Also, the DES guidelines state that LEED v2009 projects are not formally required to use the guidelines. Can the project choose to not use the guidelines and earn points for EAc3 and EAc5 in addition to EAc1?

Ruling:

If a project team is following the "District or Campus Thermal Energy in LEED V2 and LEED 2009-Design & Construction" (DESv2) guidelines, the project may not exclude the District Energy System from the requirements of EA Credit 3 and EA Credit 5.However, as indicated in Section 1.2 of the DESv2 guidelines, "LEED v2009 projects are not formally required to use this guidance". Therefore, the project team may elect to opt out of the DESv2 guidance. If the project team does opt out of the DESv2 guidance, the district energy for EA Prerequisite 2 and EA Credit 1 would be modeled as indicated in the ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G requirements, which state that purchased heating should be modeled in both the Baseline and Proposed Case systems. Furthermore, the upstream equipment would not be required to be accounted for in EA Credit 3 or EA Credit 5. Note that this methodology does not allow any credit for improved efficiency associated with upstream district energy equipment in EA Prerequisite 2 / EA Credit 1. Equivalent to ASHRAE 90.1 may be used.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2016
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The LEED Rating system requirements for Enhanced Commissioning establish that “an independent commissioning authority (CxA) must lead, review, and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities.” What specific responsibilities does this entail in a case where more than one CxA from separate companies are engaged to complete commissioning tasks?

Ruling:

The use of the phrase “lead, review, and oversee” defines a high level of participation while providing some flexibility for fitting the process to the project.

Therefore, at a minimum, the lead commissioning agent should be participating in ALL commissioning activities including BOTH fundamental and enhanced commissioning activities. The exact level of leading, reviewing, and overseeing can vary based on individual project scenarios. However, for enhanced commissioning, the entity selected as the lead CxA must complete the following tasks at a minimum:

Fundamental commissioning tasks to be performed by lead CxA:

• Review owner’s project requirements and basis of design during the early design phase.
• Confirm incorporation of Cx requirements into construction documents.
• Develop or approve construction checklists.
• Develop or approve system test procedures.
• Witness at least a portion of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and (if applicable) renewable system functional testing that verifies installation and performance of commissioned systems. Refer to ASHRAE Guideline 0 for additional guidance.
• Review an issues log throughout the Cx process. If the CxA does not directly update the log, the CxA must approve all updates to the log.
• Report findings directly to the owner throughout the process.
• Develop or approve the summary commissioning report.

Enhanced Commissioning Tasks to be performed by lead CxA:
• Conduct commissioning design review prior to mid-construction documents.
• Review contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned.
• Develop or approve systems manual updates and delivery.
• Verify operator and occupant training delivery and effectiveness.
• Review building operation within 10 months after substantial completion.

Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/24/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This project is a 53,444 sf college building, located on an existing university campus, seeking LEED NC version 2.2 certification by the USGBC. The intent of this Credit Interpretation Request is to seek clarification on the acceptability of using two parties as CxA and also of dividing the Enhanced Commissioning tasks. The project is unique in that it has a Cx consultant (Advanced Building Performance, Inc.) on the A/E team as well as a Commissioning agent (Facility Dynamics Engineering) under the CM contract. This setup was stipulated by the owner\'s procurement procedures with ABP assisting the design team during the design phase and a separate firm performing commissioning tasks during construction. While ABP, the independent third party commissioning agent will do EAc3 tasks 2,3 and 6, FDE has been assigned EAc3 tasks 4 and 5. Enhanced Cx Credit requirements summary per USGBC\'s document \' Who can be commissioning authority\' (https://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1262) 1. Prior to construction documents phase designate an independent commissioning authority to oversee "all commissioning activities." 2. CxA to perform review of OPR, BOD and design documents prior to mid-construction documents phase and perform a back-check. (ABP task) 3. CxA to review contractor submittals. (ABP task) 4. Develop a systems manual. (FDE task) 5. Verify operator and occupant training. (FDE task) 6. CxA to perform a post-occupancy review. (ABP task) FDE was selected by the owner based on competitive pricing provided by the GC along with other selection factors and assigned to the GC for contracting purpose. FDE is not directly selected by the GC and has no project management or oversight responsibilities other than commissioning. They will be allowed unfettered communication directly with the owner. The CIR seeks to clarify if this contracting arrangement will be allowed for the purposes of performing EAc3 tasks 4 & 5 by a separate commissioning agent, under contract with the project\'s Construction Manager.

Ruling:

The applicant is seeking clarification on two separate items. The first question is whether or not two parties may split the commissioning tasks of a project. Per the USGBC document "Who Can Be the Commissioning Authority", and as clarified in LEED-NC v2.2 EAc3 CIR ruling dated 9/10/2007, one party (the independent Commissioning Authority) must lead and oversee all commissioning efforts relating to both fundamental and enhanced commissioning. While this does allow for some limited division of the tasks required by this credit, there must be one independent Commissioning Authority leading and overseeing all LEED commissioning efforts. It is not clear from the description above if there is a single independent Commissioning Authority leading and overseeing all commissioning efforts. The second question is whether the indicated delineation of tasks is acceptable. It is not clear from the inquiry if ABP, while identified as part of the A/E team, will hold any responsibility for design or construction management. If ABP, as a firm, holds any responsibility for design or construction management, they may not serve as the independent Commissioning Authority. Further, it is required that the independent Commissioning Authority perform EA Credit 3 tasks 2, 3, and 6. Beyond these restrictions, it is the responsibility of the independent Commissioning Authority to determine who shall perform each of the remaining tasks under both fundamental and enhanced commissioning. The indicated delineation of tasks will only be acceptable if ABP is eligible to serve as the independent Commissioning Authority, and if they provide leadership and oversight relating to the remaining tasks under this credit and under EA Prerequisite 1. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2012
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This request is in regards to LEED Version 2009, EA Credit 3, Enhanced Commissioning, credit requirements. In particular, this is in regards to contracting situations such as Design Build and the hiring of the CxA for enhanced commissioning. In a design-build scenario, the A-E firm is hired by the contractor. With this in mind, can the CxA for enhanced commissioning (an independent 3rd party firm), be hired by the A-E firm who is in turn hired by the contractor? In this same scenario, the design-build contractor is providing services contracted to the Federal Government, who is the owner. Can a Federal employee, serve as the CxA for enhanced commissioning for the project?

Ruling:

In this design build scenario for a LEED NCv2009 project pursuing EAc3 Enhanced Commissioning, the A/E Firm is a subcontractor to the Contractor, forming a single Design Build Team. The A/E firm wishes to hire the CxA, but, as a result, the commissioning authority in this design build scenario would be considered a "disinterested employee or subcontractor of the contractor" and therefore not an acceptable commissioning authority for the project. Concerning whether the commissioning authority can be hired by the Architecture and Engineering (A/E) Firm, the document titled "Who Can be the Commissioning Authority" (http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1262) outlines the acceptable parties to act as the commissioning authority for various project scenarios.

Concerning whether it is acceptable for a federal employee to be the commissioning authority for a government project, the 2009 edition LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction EA Prerequisite 1 Table 2. "Who Can be the Commissioning Authority" (Page 221) states that "independent consultants contracted by the owner" and "owner employees and staff" are allowed to be the commissioning authority when pursuing enhanced commissioning. Therefore, if the commissioning authority is hired by the owner, it is acceptable for a federal employee to be the commissioning authority for a government project.

**Update 07/01/2014: Ruling has been reversed and revised to allow the CxA to be contracted to the general contractor or a subcontractor of the general contractor in limited circumstances.

In the design build scenario, a ˜disinterested independent third party firm may be hired by the design build contractor or a subcontractor to the design build contractor under the following constraints:

1. The commissioning firm may not be a subsidiary or partner of the general contractor or of any other firm that has been contracted to the general contractor to provide design and construction services for the project.

2. Though the commissioning firm is not contracted directly to the owner, the owner or an owner's representative must approve of the selection of the commissioning firm, and of the commissioning scope of work within the commissioning contract.

3. The CxA must directly report to the owner or owner's representative (or simultaneously report to the owner or owner's representative and other parties) throughout the commissioning process.

As noted above, the CxA must lead, manage and oversee all commissioning processes, including both fundamental and enhanced commissioning, consistent with the requirements for EA Credit 3: Enhanced Commissioning.

Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/20/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Wendel Duchscherer would like to serve as the Commissioning Authority for a 71,000 square foot Bus Maintenance Facility located in Greensboro, N.C. Our Public Transportation Group is acting as a consultant to the Architect of Record. Their consulting services are limited to those issues regarding maintenance facility layout and maintenance systems. They are not the designers of the facility. The Architect of Record is providing the design of the building, mechanical and electrical systems. The Wendel Duchscherer Commissioning Group is not part of the Public Transportation Group and is located in a different building. We believe this meets the intent of the independent Commissioning Authority and are looking for your concurrence.

Ruling:

The applicant requested clarification as to if Wendel Duchscherer can provide enhanced commissioning services on a project where they are also providing consulting services to the design team. However, the extent of the consulting services to the design team is not clearly stated. A company may only provide enhanced commissioning services provided they are not responsible for project design or construction management or supervision. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/27/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

We seek clarification regarding the interpretation of "independent CxA" in a situation where the design firm, the contractor, and construction management firm are different divisions/departments of the same corporation which is also the Owner and end-user of the project. The intended CxA is a qualified employee of the Owner; he is employed in a different division/department of the corporation and has as such no involvement in the design, the construction, or construction management. He has direct and unhindered communication with the Owner. All involved being employed by the same corporation and ultimately working towards the best solution for the Owner should alleviate any doubts of mistaken loyalty. Based on these circumstances, we ask the USGBC to confirm that we can designate a qualified employee of the Owner as the independent CxA for EAc3 as well as EAp1 even though the Owner also controls the design, construction, and construction management.

Ruling:

The project team is requesting clarification if a qualified employee of the Owner can act as the independent CxA. Yes, the responsible party for commissioning can be the Owner. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
8/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can a consultant perform both LEED consulting and act as an independent commissioning agent for the enhanced commissioning credit (EAc3)?

Ruling:

Yes, a consultant and/or consulting firm can perform both LEED consulting and independent commissioning (both Fundamental and Enhanced) as long as all requirements outlined in the Reference Guide Table 2." Commissioning Authority Qualifications" are met. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/1/2013
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

As the project owner, tenant, and end user, can our firm also be the Commissioning Authority even though we are also the architect and engineer? We are formatting our own office space that will be larger than 50K square feet in total. As the owner, tenant and end user for this commercial interior space, we will also be acting as the architect, engineer and construction manager as agent. We are contracting a 3rd party general contractor that will be providing all the constructor contracts (subcontractors). To ensure commissioning is disinterested, our Commissioning Authority personnel will not be involved in any manner with the architecture, engineering or construction management of the project.

Ruling:

The owner, who will also be the architect, engineer, and construction manger for a project larger than fifty thousand square feet, can have an employee who is not involved in design or construction decisions with the architecture, engineering, or construction management for the project, act as the commissioning authority. The CxA must report directly to the owner’s representative- either the person or board that makes the final decisions for the project. This employee, however, is required to have acted as the commissioning authority on at least 2 other projects, as required by the LEED Reference Guide for Green Interior Design and Construction, 2009 Edition. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
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Requirements

Implement, or have a contract in place to implement, the following additional commissioning process activities in addition to the requirements of EA Prerequisite 1: Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems and in accordance with the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, 2009 Edition:

  • Prior to the start of the construction documents phase, designate an independent commissioning authority (CxA) to lead, review, and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities.
    • The CxA must have documented commissioning authority experience in at least 2 building projects.
    • The individual serving as the CxA:
      • Must be independent of the work of design and construction.
      • Must not be an employee of the design firm, though he or she may be contracted through them.
      • Must not be an employee of, or contracted through, a contractor or construction manager holding construction contracts.
      • May be a qualified employee or consultant of the owner.
    • The CxA must report results, findings and recommendations directly to the owner.
  • The CxA must conduct, at a minimum, 1 commissioning design review of the owner’s project requirements basis of design, and design documents prior to the midconstruction documents phase and back-check the review comments in the subsequent design submission.
  • The CxA must review contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned for compliance with the owner’s project requirements and basis of design. This review must be concurrent with the review of the architect or engineer of record and submitted to the design team and the owner.
  • The CxA or other project team members must develop a systems manual that provides future operating staff the information needed to understand and optimally operate the commissioned systems.
  • The CxA or other project team members must verify that the requirements for training operating personnel and building occupants have been completed.
  • The CxA must be involved in reviewing the operation of the building with operations and maintenance (O&M) staff and occupants within 10 months after substantial completion. A plan for resolving outstanding commissioning-related issues must be included.

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12/2/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

For our project, a third party Commissioning Agent (Dome Tech) has been contracted to provide all services to meet the criteria of both EA Prerequisite 1: Fundamental Building Systems Commissioning and EA Credit 3: Additional Commissioning. This contract began back in 2001 during design phase. Construction phase did not begin until 2006. Our project includes high efficiency gas-fired micro-turbines combined with a double effect absorption chiller/heater to provide on-site power, heating and cooling. UTC Power, A United Technologies Company offers such a system and was submitted and approved for the project. Since the submittal review and approval as well as installation, UTC has acquired the Firm (Dome Tech) that was contracted to provide Commissioning Services. When we asked the Commissioning Agent if this posed a conflict of interest and pointed them to the existing Credit Interpretations the following is the response that we received: "Dome-Tech\'s recent acquisition by United Technologies doesn\'t present a conflict of interest due to our organization being maintained as a separate business with separate accounting and management. Unlike CIR dated 11/08/2004 where an energy service company was performing commissioning and potentially supplying the controls and automation, neither Dome-Tech nor UTC Power is operating under a performance contract model. Dome-Tech has nothing to gain by not disclosing any issues uncovered during the commissioning of the Microturbines, in addition in our experience most manufacturers and installers would rather know and fix a problem then let it become a warranty issue. Additionally, Dome-Tech is not affiliated with the design team in any way, so our suitability for EA 3 is in compliance." Our inquiry is whether or not the acquisition of Dome-Tech by UTC - the manufacturer of the Microturbine system - poses a conflict of interest and precludes us from being able to achieve either EA Prerequisite 1 or EA Credit 3? Please note that the project construction is near the end and the acquisition did not take place until October 1, 2007.

Ruling:

For this project it is acceptable to retain the previously hired commissioning agent despite the fact that an equipment supplier has since acquired the firm, provided that the commissioning agent will document that they retain independence in staffing, management, and finances. The commissioning agent has likely completed significant portions of the EAp1 and EAc3 requirements thus its acquisition by the equipment supplier should have minimal impact on the project. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
3/10/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

We seek confirmation that the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will accept the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. as an independent, third party Commissioning Authority on projects designed by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. The Jacobs organization encompasses over 57,000 personnel in hundreds of offices around the world providing services of all kinds to thousands of clients. The organization is comprised of over 125 separate companies, collectively called "Jacobs". Among these 125 companies is the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (JEG) which provides a diverse list of design services to clients worldwide, and the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. (JCI) which offers planning, facilities management, commissioning, and other building and property advisory services to mainly North American clients. JCI and JEG are separate and independent legal entities under the Jacobs umbrella of companies. They operate autonomously. The two companies have separate Boards of Directors and separate federal tax identification numbers. They have no day-to-day or annual contact for any reason. As an example of their dissimilar corporate objectives, JEG is authorized to provide professional architecture and engineering design services in all 50 states; JCI is not authorized to provide professional design services, but is registered to do business in virtually all states, certainly all states in which we intend to provide commissioning services. The two companies do not share any staff. Each company is treated financially as an individual profit center. There are no financial ties, dependence, intradependence or interdependence between JCI and JEG. There are no shared expenses, profit, sales, bonuses, or anything of the like between the two companies. There are no financial, social, personnel, or any other relationships between the two entities in any form whatsoever. Operational management of JCI and JEG are completely separate and autonomous. The convergence of corporate management only occurs at the highest levels of Jacobs as the necessary rollup of responsibility to the President of the corporation. In the corporate hierarchy, this is many levels above the operational management of both JCI and JEG. Accordingly, with regard to the independence tests established in several previous CIR\'s over many years: Management: The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. shares no operational management with JEG and the convergence of corporate management only occurs at the highest levels of the Jacobs organization as explained above. Staff: The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. shares no staff with JEG. Specifically, there is no overlap of personnel between design and commissioning teams, which have separate reporting structures. Financials: The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. shares no financial relationship with JEG. To further secure and establish the independence of the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. commissioning group on any given project designed by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.: 1. The commissioning contract will always be a direct and separate contract between the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. and the Owner. 2. The Commissioning Authority will always report directly to the Owner. The Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. will, of course, comply with all LEED Fundamental Commissioning and LEED Enhanced Commissioning requirements on any assignment as the Commissioning Authority for a LEED registered project. Based on these facts, please confirm that the USGBC will consider the Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. as an independent, third party Commissioning Authority on projects designed by the Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

Ruling:

The applicant is seeking clarification on the definition of "independent, third party" commissioning authority, where the commissioning authority\'s company shares corporate management with the design engineering company, even though each company is a separate and independent legal entity. Per LEED-NC v2.1 CIR ruling dated 3/11/2003, it is not acceptable for an individual to serve as the independent commissioning authority for a project where design or construction management services are provided by a company that shares staff or management, up to and including the President or CEO. Based on the description provided, it appears that top management is shared between the two companies so the approach as described is not acceptable. Applicable Internationally.

Update, 5/25/17: This LEED Interpretation ruling is applicable to LEED v4.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/14/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

For our project, three separate commissioning authorities have been engaged to oversee the commissioning process; Contractor\'s Commissioning Specialist (CSC), Designer\'s Commissioning Specialist (CSD) and the Government\'s Commissioning Specialist (CSG). The project is very large (over $800 Million in construction cost) so the owner felt expertise in all three corners would be recommended. The CSD, retained by the Architect/Engineer has been involved with development of the original commissioning plan and commissioning specifications with the A/E and the Owner. They have provided commissioning related design document reviews for the A/E throughout all design phases, they will review selected contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned, they will review construction related commissioning submittals, and they will witness selected commissioning functional performance tests. The CSC, retained by the builder will be involved with the development of the final commissioning plan, they will develop all final commissioning forms and test procedures in conjunction with the Contractor and all associated subcontractors, they will coordinate the commissioning throughout the construction process, they will perform all pre-functional inspections and submit completed pre-functional forms, they will coordinate and complete all functional performance tests, they will coordinate and complete the O&M training and they will submit a commissioning record as the completion of the commissioning process. The CSG is essentially responsible for completion of the Fundamental Commissioning tasks. The CSG, has been hired directly by the Government (Owner) and will serve as the third party commissioning entity to perform all tasks required to fulfill the LEED Enhanced Commissioning requirements. They will be involved with design document reviews prior to the mid-construction documents phase and have been involved in the review of the OPR and the BOD as well as providing assistance in the development of the commissioning specifications. They will review selected contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned, construction checklists and functional performance test forms. They will witness selected commissioning functional performance tests develop a systems manual and review the building operations with O&M staff and occupants within 10 months after substantial completion. Our inquiry is whether or not the team configuration and assignment of commissioning tasks described above will meet the intent of the Energy and Atmosphere Enhanced Commissioning Credit requirements.

Ruling:

The applicant is requesting confirmation that a commissioning team consisting of a Contractor\'s Commissioning Specialist, Designer\'s Commissioning Specialist, and a Government\'s Commissioning Specialist can satisfy the credit requirements. The team configuration as described, appear to meet the credit requirements. With respect to assignment of commissioning tasks, the CSG (directly hired by Owner) shall have ultimate commissioning responsibility with respect to the project including O&M training and verification. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
9/10/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Per the guidance given by the CIR ruling on 1/8/2007, it was affirmed that an independent third party commissioning authority (CxA) must provide commissioning process oversight and review of deliverables for the commissioning activities required for EAp1-Fundamental Commissioning and EAc3-Enhanced Commissioning. Since the CIR guidance allows projects "some flexibility" in fitting the Cx process to the project, we wish to ascertain whether the following proposed breakout of Cx tasks, responsibilities and oversight methodologies will meet the requirements of EAc3, if a project team chooses to not use an Independent 3rd party CxA to complete all EAp1 and EAc3 tasks but instead contracts with an Independent 3rd party to lead, oversee, and review selected tasks and uses the independent commissioning group of the project\'s design firm to complete many of the actual commissioning tasks. Much of this confusion arises from the use of the term "CxA" being used both in the 2.2 Reference Guide outline of EAp1 tasks as well as in the 2.2 Reference Guide\'s outline of the EAc3 tasks. Projects seeking the State of Oregon\'s LEED tax credit must achieve EAc3. As such, we are submitting this CIR to ensure that these scopes of work are accurately and clearly defined for the Independent CxA and the qualified commissioning group within the design firm (defined as "Other" below) involved in the commissioning process and that how we allocate these tasks will not be found deficient during certification review. Please review the following breakout of LEED EAp1 and EAc3 commissioning responsibilities and verify whether the scope of responsibilities assigned to the Independent 3rd party CxA meets the stated requirements to "lead, review, and oversee" the commissioning process for projects seeking EAc3. If any of the specific responsibilities within the individual tasks that are shown as assigned to the Independent 3rd party CxA below are insufficient to meet the leadership, process oversight and review responsibilities for this credit, please clearly define what changes should occur. EAp1 + EAc3 RESPONSIBILITY MATRIX for Projects Seeking EAc3 Independent Cx Authority- Per LEED NC 2.2 Guidance - Qualified Independent 3rd Party-not a member of the design or construction team firms. May be a member of the owner\'s team if qualified per LEED guidance. Other - Per LEED NC 2.2 Guidance - Non-design team member(s) of the Design Firm qualified to provide commissioning services. May be a member of the owner\'s team if qualified per LEED guidance. EAp1 Tasks - Task numbers correspond to LEED NC v2.2 Reference Guide Requirements (page 151) 1) Independent Cx Authority- Lead, review and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities 1) Other - Perform commissioning tasks under the leadership, review and oversight of the Independent CxA 2) Independent Cx Authority- Review OPR & BOD documentation completed by ownership and design teams for clarity and completeness per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 3) Independent Cx Authority- Review and verify that Cx requirements are incorporated into the construction documents. 3) Other -Develop and incorporate Cx requirements into Construction documents. 4) Independent Cx Authority- Review Cx Plan to ensure completeness per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 4) Other -Develop a Cx Plan that defines the Cx process, participants, schedule, protocol, and deliverables per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 5) Independent Cx Authority- Review testing schedule, relevant pre-functional inspections and final system performance testing reports to verify testing program is completed by the design team\'s commissioning authority per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 5) Other -Verify Installation and performance of commissioned systems per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 6) Independent Cx Authority- Review final draft of summary commissioning report to verify relevant sections and details are addressed as defined by LEED NC 2.2 guidance. 6) Other -Complete a summary commissioning report per LEED NC 2.2 guidance. EAc3 Tasks - Task numbers correspond to LEED NC v2.2 Reference Guide Requirements (page 205) 1) Independent Cx Authority- Lead, review and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities 1) Other - Perform commissioning tasks under the leadership, review and oversight of the Independent CxA 2) Independent Cx Authority- Complete a detailed commissioning focused design review by mid-construction document phase to verify that designed systems and BOD meet OPR requirements. Back check the review comments in subsequent design submissions. 3) Independent Cx Authority- Review relevant contractor submittals for compliance with project\'s OPR and BOD. 4) Independent Cx Authority- Review completed systems manual to ensure it includes relevant sections and detail as defined by LEED NC 2.2 guidance 4) Other -Develop a systems manual for the project 5) Independent Cx Authority- Stay appraised with design team commissioning authority that training protocol review and building operator training has been completed. 5) Other -Verify training of building operators is completed per LEED NC 2.2 guidance 6) Independent Cx Authority- Per LEED NC 2.2 guidance, review building operations with O&M staff and occupants within 10 months of building completion and develop a plan for resolution of outstanding commissioning-related items.

Ruling:

The applicant is seeking an interpretation as to the acceptability of the delineation of commissioning tasks as outlined in the credit interpretation request. This inquiry appears to be attempting to define the minimum role of the independent commissioning authority (CxA) for projects seeking EAc3. For LEED projects pursuing EAc3, the third party commissioning authority must lead, oversee, and review all commissioning tasks. Per the USGBC document "Who Can Be the Commissioning Authority" (https://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1262), the same CxA must oversee the required tasks of both EA Prerequisite 1 and EA Credit 3. Per CIR ruling dated 1/8/2007, the independent CxA need not always formally review and approve each deliverable. However, it will be the responsibility of the independent CxA to determine the roles and responsibilities pertinent to each of the required tasks under both EA Prerequisite 1 and EA Credit 3. Note that the CxA individual must themselves do EA Credit 3 tasks 2, 3, & 6. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/9/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Is it acceptable for an employee of the Owner, who will also be acting as the project\'s LEED AP and Team Administrator for LEED Online, to serve as the project\'s Commissioning Authority, provided that the individual has served as the CxA on at least two projects previously?

Ruling:

As the project has already indicated the CxA has previously worked as a commissioning authority on at least two other projects, provided all other applicable criteria and documentation is provided and satisfied at the time of the project\'s submittal for LEED certification, this strategy should fulfill the prerequisite and credit pursuit requirements. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/22/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The intent of our question is to clarify who can serve as the Commissioning Agent for LEED NC 2.2 Enhanced Commissioning, EA Credit 3. Our team has read LEED NC 2.2 Reference Manual and the white paper "Who Can Be a Commissioning Authority" dated 1/30/06. Our question concerns whether separation is recognized between the Architectural and Engineering designers for projects where these responsibilities are being performed by separate firms under separate contracts with the Owner, and whether that separation creates the independence from the design team required for the CxA. In our case, the firm who is providing architectural design and is the Architect-of-Record is under contract with the Owner with no subconsultants. The Architect is not responsible for the design of any of the systems to be commissioned under EA Credit 3. The Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing designs are being provided by other firms, each with a separate contract with the Owner. The Architect employs several persons who are Commissioning Authorities with the required documented experience. Is a qualified disinterested employee of the Architect eligible to act as the CxA for the project under EA Credit 3 if the Architectural firm is not providing design services for commissioned systems either directly or through a subcontract, and if the CxA\'s findings are reported directly to the Owner?

Ruling:

The project has requested clarification regarding the use of an internal Architect from the designing Architecture Firm to serve as CxA for the project. This strategy does not comply with the written requirements of EAc3 in LEED-NC and therefore would preclude the project from earning points for this credit. The intent of this credit is to utilize an independent CxA without any relationship to the Design or Construction work. Per LEED-NC EAc3 Requirement 1.b.ii states: "The individual serving as the CxA shall be not an employee of the design firm" Although the mechanical systems being commissioned have not been designed by the Architecture firm, changes as a result of the Commissioning process could impact the Architecture Firm and additional systems which they may have control over the design. Therefore, although the CxA may not be directly involved in the project, they would not truly be "disinterested" as an employee of the designing Architecture Firm. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/1/2012
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The project is requesting guidance on how EAc3 Enhanced Commissioning, as well as EAc5 Measurement and Verification, can be pursued for projects utilizing government-owned district energy systems that can\'t comply the requirements outlined in the LEED DES guidelines. Following the guidelines, projects that meet certain criteria cannot obtain points for EAc3 or EAc5 if they earn points for EAc1 Optimize Energy Performance but are unable to commission or meter upstream DES equipment.The project consists of a manufacturing facility located in China. The facility utilizes district steam for heating. The district energy plant is owned and operated by the government. The facility is greater than 50,000 sf and the district energy system will account for about 30% of the building\'s annual energy cost. In addition to this, the project would like to pursue points under EAc1.Following the "Treatment of District or Campus Thermal Energy in LEED V2 and LEED 2009-Design & Construction" guidelines, the project would not be able to pursue Enhanced Commissioning while earning EAc1 points without commissioning upstream equipment at the DES plant. The same requirements also prevent the project from pursuing credit EAc5 Measurement and Verification without including the DES plant.Due to the strict and undisclosed nature of the government in China, obtaining information and specific numbers on the energy performance and maintenance of the DES equipment would not be possible, making the Enhanced Commissioning of all district energy system equipment unfeasible. The same problem applies to credit EAc5.Even if the DES plant was owned by a utility company, it is unlikely the utility would give the project team all of required the information and allow them to perform the activities outlined in the DES guidelines. The guidelines appear to apply only to owner-operated DESs rather than utility or government-operated DESs. Projects that utilize most district energy systems are disadvantaged by not being able to earn a total of five Energy & Atmosphere points for these two credits. Given that DESs are typically employed because of the increased efficiencies realized through economies of scale and varied user demand schedules and are often more efficient than if the same facility were to operate with individual systems in isolation, we feel the current guidance places an inordinate onerous on government-owned/operated systems. Given the information above, can government-owned upstream equipment included in the district energy system be excluded from the scope of both EAc3 and EAc5 under the DES guidelines so that projects can earn points for EAc3 and EAc5 while earning points for EAc1? Also, the DES guidelines state that LEED v2009 projects are not formally required to use the guidelines. Can the project choose to not use the guidelines and earn points for EAc3 and EAc5 in addition to EAc1?

Ruling:

If a project team is following the "District or Campus Thermal Energy in LEED V2 and LEED 2009-Design & Construction" (DESv2) guidelines, the project may not exclude the District Energy System from the requirements of EA Credit 3 and EA Credit 5.However, as indicated in Section 1.2 of the DESv2 guidelines, "LEED v2009 projects are not formally required to use this guidance". Therefore, the project team may elect to opt out of the DESv2 guidance. If the project team does opt out of the DESv2 guidance, the district energy for EA Prerequisite 2 and EA Credit 1 would be modeled as indicated in the ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G requirements, which state that purchased heating should be modeled in both the Baseline and Proposed Case systems. Furthermore, the upstream equipment would not be required to be accounted for in EA Credit 3 or EA Credit 5. Note that this methodology does not allow any credit for improved efficiency associated with upstream district energy equipment in EA Prerequisite 2 / EA Credit 1. Equivalent to ASHRAE 90.1 may be used.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2016
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The LEED Rating system requirements for Enhanced Commissioning establish that “an independent commissioning authority (CxA) must lead, review, and oversee the completion of all commissioning process activities.” What specific responsibilities does this entail in a case where more than one CxA from separate companies are engaged to complete commissioning tasks?

Ruling:

The use of the phrase “lead, review, and oversee” defines a high level of participation while providing some flexibility for fitting the process to the project.

Therefore, at a minimum, the lead commissioning agent should be participating in ALL commissioning activities including BOTH fundamental and enhanced commissioning activities. The exact level of leading, reviewing, and overseeing can vary based on individual project scenarios. However, for enhanced commissioning, the entity selected as the lead CxA must complete the following tasks at a minimum:

Fundamental commissioning tasks to be performed by lead CxA:

• Review owner’s project requirements and basis of design during the early design phase.
• Confirm incorporation of Cx requirements into construction documents.
• Develop or approve construction checklists.
• Develop or approve system test procedures.
• Witness at least a portion of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and (if applicable) renewable system functional testing that verifies installation and performance of commissioned systems. Refer to ASHRAE Guideline 0 for additional guidance.
• Review an issues log throughout the Cx process. If the CxA does not directly update the log, the CxA must approve all updates to the log.
• Report findings directly to the owner throughout the process.
• Develop or approve the summary commissioning report.

Enhanced Commissioning Tasks to be performed by lead CxA:
• Conduct commissioning design review prior to mid-construction documents.
• Review contractor submittals applicable to systems being commissioned.
• Develop or approve systems manual updates and delivery.
• Verify operator and occupant training delivery and effectiveness.
• Review building operation within 10 months after substantial completion.

Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/24/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This project is a 53,444 sf college building, located on an existing university campus, seeking LEED NC version 2.2 certification by the USGBC. The intent of this Credit Interpretation Request is to seek clarification on the acceptability of using two parties as CxA and also of dividing the Enhanced Commissioning tasks. The project is unique in that it has a Cx consultant (Advanced Building Performance, Inc.) on the A/E team as well as a Commissioning agent (Facility Dynamics Engineering) under the CM contract. This setup was stipulated by the owner\'s procurement procedures with ABP assisting the design team during the design phase and a separate firm performing commissioning tasks during construction. While ABP, the independent third party commissioning agent will do EAc3 tasks 2,3 and 6, FDE has been assigned EAc3 tasks 4 and 5. Enhanced Cx Credit requirements summary per USGBC\'s document \' Who can be commissioning authority\' (https://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1262) 1. Prior to construction documents phase designate an independent commissioning authority to oversee "all commissioning activities." 2. CxA to perform review of OPR, BOD and design documents prior to mid-construction documents phase and perform a back-check. (ABP task) 3. CxA to review contractor submittals. (ABP task) 4. Develop a systems manual. (FDE task) 5. Verify operator and occupant training. (FDE task) 6. CxA to perform a post-occupancy review. (ABP task) FDE was selected by the owner based on competitive pricing provided by the GC along with other selection factors and assigned to the GC for contracting purpose. FDE is not directly selected by the GC and has no project management or oversight responsibilities other than commissioning. They will be allowed unfettered communication directly with the owner. The CIR seeks to clarify if this contracting arrangement will be allowed for the purposes of performing EAc3 tasks 4 & 5 by a separate commissioning agent, under contract with the project\'s Construction Manager.

Ruling:

The applicant is seeking clarification on two separate items. The first question is whether or not two parties may split the commissioning tasks of a project. Per the USGBC document "Who Can Be the Commissioning Authority", and as clarified in LEED-NC v2.2 EAc3 CIR ruling dated 9/10/2007, one party (the independent Commissioning Authority) must lead and oversee all commissioning efforts relating to both fundamental and enhanced commissioning. While this does allow for some limited division of the tasks required by this credit, there must be one independent Commissioning Authority leading and overseeing all LEED commissioning efforts. It is not clear from the description above if there is a single independent Commissioning Authority leading and overseeing all commissioning efforts. The second question is whether the indicated delineation of tasks is acceptable. It is not clear from the inquiry if ABP, while identified as part of the A/E team, will hold any responsibility for design or construction management. If ABP, as a firm, holds any responsibility for design or construction management, they may not serve as the independent Commissioning Authority. Further, it is required that the independent Commissioning Authority perform EA Credit 3 tasks 2, 3, and 6. Beyond these restrictions, it is the responsibility of the independent Commissioning Authority to determine who shall perform each of the remaining tasks under both fundamental and enhanced commissioning. The indicated delineation of tasks will only be acceptable if ABP is eligible to serve as the independent Commissioning Authority, and if they provide leadership and oversight relating to the remaining tasks under this credit and under EA Prerequisite 1. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2012
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This request is in regards to LEED Version 2009, EA Credit 3, Enhanced Commissioning, credit requirements. In particular, this is in regards to contracting situations such as Design Build and the hiring of the CxA for enhanced commissioning. In a design-build scenario, the A-E firm is hired by the contractor. With this in mind, can the CxA for enhanced commissioning (an independent 3rd party firm), be hired by the A-E firm who is in turn hired by the contractor? In this same scenario, the design-build contractor is providing services contracted to the Federal Government, who is the owner. Can a Federal employee, serve as the CxA for enhanced commissioning for the project?

Ruling:

In this design build scenario for a LEED NCv2009 project pursuing EAc3 Enhanced Commissioning, the A/E Firm is a subcontractor to the Contractor, forming a single Design Build Team. The A/E firm wishes to hire the CxA, but, as a result, the commissioning authority in this design build scenario would be considered a "disinterested employee or subcontractor of the contractor" and therefore not an acceptable commissioning authority for the project. Concerning whether the commissioning authority can be hired by the Architecture and Engineering (A/E) Firm, the document titled "Who Can be the Commissioning Authority" (http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=1262) outlines the acceptable parties to act as the commissioning authority for various project scenarios.

Concerning whether it is acceptable for a federal employee to be the commissioning authority for a government project, the 2009 edition LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction EA Prerequisite 1 Table 2. "Who Can be the Commissioning Authority" (Page 221) states that "independent consultants contracted by the owner" and "owner employees and staff" are allowed to be the commissioning authority when pursuing enhanced commissioning. Therefore, if the commissioning authority is hired by the owner, it is acceptable for a federal employee to be the commissioning authority for a government project.

**Update 07/01/2014: Ruling has been reversed and revised to allow the CxA to be contracted to the general contractor or a subcontractor of the general contractor in limited circumstances.

In the design build scenario, a ˜disinterested independent third party firm may be hired by the design build contractor or a subcontractor to the design build contractor under the following constraints:

1. The commissioning firm may not be a subsidiary or partner of the general contractor or of any other firm that has been contracted to the general contractor to provide design and construction services for the project.

2. Though the commissioning firm is not contracted directly to the owner, the owner or an owner's representative must approve of the selection of the commissioning firm, and of the commissioning scope of work within the commissioning contract.

3. The CxA must directly report to the owner or owner's representative (or simultaneously report to the owner or owner's representative and other parties) throughout the commissioning process.

As noted above, the CxA must lead, manage and oversee all commissioning processes, including both fundamental and enhanced commissioning, consistent with the requirements for EA Credit 3: Enhanced Commissioning.

Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/20/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Wendel Duchscherer would like to serve as the Commissioning Authority for a 71,000 square foot Bus Maintenance Facility located in Greensboro, N.C. Our Public Transportation Group is acting as a consultant to the Architect of Record. Their consulting services are limited to those issues regarding maintenance facility layout and maintenance systems. They are not the designers of the facility. The Architect of Record is providing the design of the building, mechanical and electrical systems. The Wendel Duchscherer Commissioning Group is not part of the Public Transportation Group and is located in a different building. We believe this meets the intent of the independent Commissioning Authority and are looking for your concurrence.

Ruling:

The applicant requested clarification as to if Wendel Duchscherer can provide enhanced commissioning services on a project where they are also providing consulting services to the design team. However, the extent of the consulting services to the design team is not clearly stated. A company may only provide enhanced commissioning services provided they are not responsible for project design or construction management or supervision. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/27/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

We seek clarification regarding the interpretation of "independent CxA" in a situation where the design firm, the contractor, and construction management firm are different divisions/departments of the same corporation which is also the Owner and end-user of the project. The intended CxA is a qualified employee of the Owner; he is employed in a different division/department of the corporation and has as such no involvement in the design, the construction, or construction management. He has direct and unhindered communication with the Owner. All involved being employed by the same corporation and ultimately working towards the best solution for the Owner should alleviate any doubts of mistaken loyalty. Based on these circumstances, we ask the USGBC to confirm that we can designate a qualified employee of the Owner as the independent CxA for EAc3 as well as EAp1 even though the Owner also controls the design, construction, and construction management.

Ruling:

The project team is requesting clarification if a qualified employee of the Owner can act as the independent CxA. Yes, the responsible party for commissioning can be the Owner. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
8/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Can a consultant perform both LEED consulting and act as an independent commissioning agent for the enhanced commissioning credit (EAc3)?

Ruling:

Yes, a consultant and/or consulting firm can perform both LEED consulting and independent commissioning (both Fundamental and Enhanced) as long as all requirements outlined in the Reference Guide Table 2." Commissioning Authority Qualifications" are met. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/1/2013
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

As the project owner, tenant, and end user, can our firm also be the Commissioning Authority even though we are also the architect and engineer? We are formatting our own office space that will be larger than 50K square feet in total. As the owner, tenant and end user for this commercial interior space, we will also be acting as the architect, engineer and construction manager as agent. We are contracting a 3rd party general contractor that will be providing all the constructor contracts (subcontractors). To ensure commissioning is disinterested, our Commissioning Authority personnel will not be involved in any manner with the architecture, engineering or construction management of the project.

Ruling:

The owner, who will also be the architect, engineer, and construction manger for a project larger than fifty thousand square feet, can have an employee who is not involved in design or construction decisions with the architecture, engineering, or construction management for the project, act as the commissioning authority. The CxA must report directly to the owner’s representative- either the person or board that makes the final decisions for the project. This employee, however, is required to have acted as the commissioning authority on at least 2 other projects, as required by the LEED Reference Guide for Green Interior Design and Construction, 2009 Edition. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes

LEEDuser expert

Scott Bowman

Integrated Design + Energy Advisors, LLC
LEED Fellow

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