Commissioning Costs and Budgets

Establish Commissioning Budgets

Commissioning costs can range widely and are dependent upon many factors including a building's size, complexity, and whether the project consists of building renovation, modernization, or new construction and the scope of commissioning services provided.

In general, the cost of commissioning new buildings range from 0.5 percent of the total construction cost for relatively simple projects such as office buildings to 1.5 for complex laboratories and medical facilities1. Additional information on Building Commissioning can be found in PECI, New Construction Commissioning Costs, 2/14/2002.

For an existing building, the cost of commissioning can range from 3.0 to 5.0 percent of the total operating cost. A good rule of thumb for systems-based commissioning budgeting is between 2 and 4% of the construction cost of each system being commissioned.

Key factors that can have a direct impact in developing a commissioning budget include:

  • When the commissioning process starts (during design, construction, or post-construction)
  • The number and complexity of systems to be commissioned
  • Complexity of the systems
  • The level of detail required during the commissioning process (Does it include documenting and witnessing all equipment start-up, verification tests, spot checking the balancing report, etc.?)
  • Deliverables (design intent document, number of design reviews, commissioning plan, O&M manual review, final report, etc.)
  • Allocation of costs (Will the budget allow for increased design fee, increased contractor bids, training time for O&M personnel, the commissioning consultant's fee, etc.?)
  • Type of project (design-build, plan and spec, retrofit, etc.)

Note: Some utilities now have programs offering incentives/rebates for owners that may offset costs for commission or re-commission of facilities.

Read the entire WBDG article here.