A Brief Introduction to Commissioning in Construction Projects

Commissioning in construction is a term that you might have heard before, but what does it actually mean?

When it comes to constructing buildings, there’s a lot that goes into ensuring their safety, efficiency, and overall quality. Construction commissioning should not be overlooked. It’s the process by which we can verify and test a building’s systems and equipment to ensure they’re functioning correctly and efficiently. 

Without effective commissioning, we cannot be certain that the building and its systems and components will be designed, installed, tested, and maintained to the standards required by the owner or client.

In this article, you’ll discover what is testing and commissioning in construction, and why it’s crucial to consider commissioning for building safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

Construction commissioning – why it’s important

If a construction project is not commissioned successfully, the risks are significant. Incorrectly commissioned systems can lead to higher energy usage and increased costs. They can create uncomfortable environments for occupants, and reduce the safety of buildings.

In short, when we are asked what does commissioning mean in construction, we can say that it mitigates risks associated with completed construction projects, and is critical to ensure:

  • Building safety

  • Energy efficiency

  • Comfort and safety of occupants

  • Environmental sustainability

By addressing issues or deficiencies early in the project, we avoid costly repairs of retrofits down the line.

Commission meaning in construction

Commissioning is the process of verifying and testing a building’s systems and equipment to ensure they’re functioning correctly and efficiently. This includes everything from lighting systems to fire and smoke alarms, security systems, HVAC, etc.

Now, it’s important to make a distinction between commissioning meaning in construction as well as quality assurance and quality control:

  • Quality assurance is the process of ensuring that the construction process meets certain standards.

  • Quality control is the process of checking that the final product meets those same standards.

  • Commissioning is focused specifically on the building’s systems and equipment.

Types of commissioning in construction

There are several types of commissioning in construction. Each has its own objectives and benefits.

Building Commissioning

Building commissioning is the process of verifying and testing a building’s systems and equipment before it’s occupied. The objective is to ensure that the building is safe, efficient, and comfortable for its occupants.


Retro-commissioning is the process of commissioning an existing building that was not previously commissioned. When retro-commissioning, we can identify and address issues in the building that may have developed over time. This allows us to enhance and optimize building performance and energy efficiency, for example.


Even buildings that have been previously commissioned may experience changes that require re-testing and verification. This is where re-commissioning comes in. When a building is re-commissioned, all its systems and equipment go through a commissioning process to ensure they are functioning correctly. This helps to mitigate any major problems in the future.

Ongoing Commissioning

Ongoing commissioning is the process of continuously monitoring and optimizing a building’s systems and equipment. This should ensure that we identify any issues as they arise, addressing them early and reducing costs of maintenance and repair.

What does commissioning mean in construction? The numbers

Commissioning delivers several benefits to building owners, occupants, and the environment. These include:

Effective commissioning improves building safety and reduces environmental impacts as well as improving energy efficiency and reducing waste.

Construction commissioning – the bottom line

Commissioning in construction is crucial to the delivery of safe, efficient, and comfortable construction projects. When a building’s systems and equipment are tested and verified effectively, we can identify and address issues quickly and efficiently before they become more significant and costly problems.

The bottom line? Building owners and occupants should consider commissioning their buildings to ensure long-term safety, efficiency, and sustainability, and reduce costs of occupancy/ownership.

At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – including how they are conceived, designed, and created. To leverage our experience in successful construction project management, contact ACB Consulting.

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