Friday, October 17, 2008

Museum + LEED Fridays: part 4

maria mortati, gyroscope inc, museums Hi, Scott Moulton posting, and this week I'm looking at the commissioning process, and why it's a good thing. This is a requirement for LEED that is new to me and it seems to hold a lot of promise for improving projects. According to the USGBC
"The commissioning process is a quality control process that involves the owner, users, occupants, operations and maintenance staff, design professionals and contractors."
In lay terms, it requires that you write up a set of requirements for the building which the project team pays attention to it through the process and then you assess how well the final building met the goals you set out. The process is led by an experienced Commissioning Agent who is close to the project but will not have a conflict of interest when assessing the final project. For me the most exciting step in this process is the first one. In it, the owner, Commissioning Agent and project team write up a document called the Owner's Requirement Document which spells out the owner's expectations for the building in terms of use and performance. This is intended to happen early in the project and is a really great opportunity for the owner to think in detail about how they will live in the building and what they expect from it. The design team also writes up a document which aligns with the Owner's Requirement Document and is written into the the construction documents that the contractor will build from. This aim of all this writing is to make sure the owner, design team and contractor are all on the same page and then allows a verification and final report to see if the owner was given what they asked for. While the commissioning agent is not given any power beyond providing the information, the process encourages a close collaboration, clear communication of expectations and gives the owner something to stand on should there be problems. I think it is a good example of how the the requirements of LEED will dramatically shape the process of building for the better.

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