California Green Building Code (CALGreen) – Commissioning. [N] New buildings 10,000 square feet and over

The commissioning process is the combined set of engineering techniques and procedures to check, inspect, and test every operational component of the project. It is a systematic process for investigating, analyzing, and optimizing the performance of building systems by improving their operation and maintenance to ensure their continued performance. It is included for new projects with area 10,000 sq.ft. and over.

CALGreen Code Section 5.410.2: Commissioning. [N] New buildings 10,000 square feet and over.

For new buildings 10,000 square feet and over, building commissioning shall be included in the design and construction processes of the building project to verify that the building systems and components meet the owner’s or owner representative’s project requirements. Commissioning shall be performed in accordance with this section by trained personnel with experience on projects of comparable size and complexity. For I-occupancies that are not regulated by OSHPD or for I-occupancies and L-occupancies that are not regulated by the California Energy Code Section 100.0 Scope, all requirements in Sections 5.410.2 through 5.410.2.6 shall apply.

Note: For energy-related systems under the scope (Section100) of the California Energy Code, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems and controls, indoor lighting systems and controls, as well as water heating systems and controls, refer to California Energy Code Section 120.8 for commissioning requirements.

Commissioning requirements shall include:

1. Owner’s or owner representative’s project requirements.

2. Basis of design.

3. Commissioning measures shown in the construction documents.

4. Commissioning plan.

5. Functional performance testing.

6. Documentation and training.

7. Commissioning report.


1. Unconditioned warehouses of any size.

2. Areas less than10,000 square feet used for offices or other conditioned accessory spaces within unconditioned warehouses.

3. Tenant improvements less than 10,000 square feet as described in Section 303.1.1.

4. Open parking garages of any size, or open parking garage areas, of any size, within a structure.

Note: For the purposes of this section, unconditioned shall mean a building, area, or room which does not provide heating and/or air conditioning.

Informational notes:

1. IAS AC 476 is an accreditation criterion for organizations providing training and/or certification of commissioning personnel. AC 476 is available to the Authority Having Jurisdiction as a reference for qualifications of commissioning personnel. AC 476 does not certify individuals to conduct functional performance tests or to adjust and balance systems.

2. Functional performance testing for heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems and lighting controls must be performed in compliance with the California Energy Code.


The intent of this section is to improve public health, safety and general welfare by ensuring that the design and construction of buildings reduce negative environmental impacts and promote occupant comfort. Commissioning ensures that the building functions in the manner intended.

Note: See Chapter 8 of this guide for forms and templates.

Selecting trained personnel (for commissioning)

CALGreen requires, “Commissioning shall be performed in accordance with this section by trained personnel with experience on projects of comparable size and complexity.” The trained personnel manage and facilitate the commissioning process. The trained personnel develop and implement the commissioning tasks and documentation identified in Sections 5.410.2.1 through 5.410.2.7. Trained personnel may include appropriate members of the owner’s staff, contractor and design team, as well as independent commissioning professionals.

It is essential that there be a single person designated to lead and manage commissioning activities. In practice, this individual is referenced by various identifiers such as commissioning authority, agent, provider, coordinator, lead, etc. In this guide, the term “commissioning coordinator” is used.

The designated commissioning coordinator may be an independent third-party commissioning professional, a project design team member (e.g., engineer or architect), an owner’s engineer or facility staff, contractor or specialty subcontractor. Methods of evaluating the designated commissioning coordinator and trained personnel include review of the following:

1. Technical knowledge.

2. Relevant experience.

3. Potential conflict of interest concerns.

4. Professional certifications and training.

5. Communication and organizational skills.

6. Reference and sample work products.

Compliance Method:

Selection of “trained,” qualified personnel is required by this code. In order to meet this requirement, the commissioning provider should be evaluated via the methods discussed above. In addition, various organizations have training and certification programs that may be a source for identification of qualified commissioning providers.

(Excerpted from ‘Guide to the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code Nonresidential’ – Chapter 5)

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