The Cost of School Commissioning

The State of Hawaii has a nice two (2) page PDF that summarizes the essentials of why the State believes it is important to commission schools. 

They describe two levels of commissioning that closely resemble the LEED Basic and Enhanced Commissioning approaches, which they call Basic and Advanced. They've also managed to come with a handy chart of what it costs to commission, which is shown below. Here's an excerpt:

The Two Tiers
Basic: The following projects should include at least basic commissioning.

■ New construction projects that cover 5,000 ft2 or more of floor area.
■ Renovation projects that cost $1,000,000 or more AND cover 5,000 ft2 or more of floor area AND include HVAC system replacement, building control system installation or upgrade, or lighting system controls.

Basic commissioning services may be performed by a third party or someone in-house, however, whoever assumes the role of commissioning agent should perform the following tasks:

■ Verify that lighting controls have been installed per design and are functioning as intended.
This includes occupancy sensors, daylighting controls, multi-level switching, and automatic time clocks.
■ Make sure that ventilation and air conditioning equipment has been installed per design and that outdoor air flow, supply air flow, fluid flow, and controls function as specified in the design criteria.
■ Ensure that any and all energy management and control systems (EMCSs) perform the sequence of operations and provide trend logs per design. Also establish that sensors are calibrated.
■ Confirm that a complete guide has been provided to operations and maintenance staff.
■ Check to see that an operating brief has been given to school administrators and teachers.
■ Make certain that operating staff have been trained.

Additional commissioning services
should be performed by a third-party commissioning agent rather than someone in-house. In order to be effective, the agent should be retained at the schematic design phase or earlier. The commissioning agentshould perform the following tasks:

■ Establish and follow a commissioning plan.
■ Develop design intent and basis of design documentation.
■ Review the design prior to the constructions documentsphase.
■ Make sure that commissioning requirements are included in the construction documents.
■ Examine the construction documents just prior to completion.
■ Conduct a selective review of contractor submittalsof commissioned equipment.
■ Verify installation, functional performance, training,and documentation.
■ Author a system and energy management manualand distribute it to building owner and manager.
■ Have a contract in place for a near-warranty-end orpost-occupancy review.
■ Complete a commissioning report.

How Much Will It Cost?

Commissioning pays for itself. Some of the savings created by commissioning are rarely quantified: first-cost (such as equipment downsizing), ongoing non-energy benefits, reduced change-orders, and correcting causes of premature equipment breakdown. One study showed median one-time, non-energy benefits at $0.18/ft2 for ten renovation projects and $1.24/ft2 for twenty-two new construction projects. The more frequently quantified costs showed median whole-building energy savings of 15% and payback times of 0.7 years for renovation projects. New construction payback time was 4.8 years.2
It makes good economic sense, therefore, to set aside some money in your budget for commissioning. 
Some guidelines follow.