What is Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx)?
Whether you choose to call it Building Envelope Commissioning or Building Enclosure Commissioning, BECx (Building Envelope/Enclosure Commissioning accurately analyzes the main components of a building for its optimal performance. The process of Building Envelope Commissioning is to address potential issues early and adequately to avoid failures at interfaces between adjacent assemblies thus eliminating potential costly errors.
Inadequate design of a building envelope is the most common reason why buildings fail. Due to this fact there is an increased need for quality assurance within the Design, Construction and Operation stages. Your design determines the actions of the construction team and in the end, the overall operations of the building. In order to avoid building failure, the success of a build relies on an expert that can scrutinize those foundational elements by looking at the owner’s project requirements (OPR) and developing a preliminary Commissioning Plan.
Most commercial and industrial clients hire a non-bias, 3rd-party engineering firm like Orata to conduct a Design Review to avoid such complications. This is generally followed by the recommended number of site inspections to ensure quality control and code compliance.
Commissioning, of a building envelope is to verify that the owner has delivered a building that meets the design intent and performs as expected.
Is BECx a Critical Step for Builders
BECx avoids critical component failures and this can save you a lot of capital when the project is near completion. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for a building enclosure to cover up in adequate design work by expensive interior and exterior finishes. This generates a necessity to begin commissioning as part as the conceptual design phase and ensures that the process is conducted throughout the Design, Construction and Operation of the building.
Building Envelope Commissioning addresses the concerns early to avoid building envelope failure when the elements (rain, snow, ice, condensation, air flow, vapour flow, heat flow, light, solar, noise) test the integrity of the structure and ensure they are durable, constructible, maintainable, and fit for use.
The Commissioning Process
When a building envelope is incorporated into the activities of the Commissioning process, it must follow the NIBS Guidelines 3-2006, alongside ASHRAE Guidelines 0-2005. This ensures a building has performance compliance and that the buildings meet the design intent.
Main components of BECx
Solve problems with your build by looking into your BECx as a part of the overall Commissioning Plan. Some of the major components of the Commissioning process include:
Preliminary Commissioning Plan
Document Review: Designs & Documents
Initial Site Inspection
Develop a comprehensive system manual of specifications for envelope assemblies
Field inspections to ensure compliance and quality control
The highest value of Orata’s services is when we are involved in the earliest stages of the design process, as decisions regarding the building’s primary structural elements can have a profound impact on insulating strategies, air barrier detailing, energy code compliance, and fenestration options. Orata’s expertise applied in early designs, will help to ensure your building meets energy code requirements in the most efficient way possible.
Retro- Commissioning Projects
There’s a common misconception that BECx is only required for new builds, but existing buildings can also benefit as well. This can be done by reviewing the original design as well as the submittal documents to evaluate the current performance of the building. When a renovation, restoration, or remediation project begins it is an opportunity to increase the energy performance of a building. Incorrect designs can lead to severe moisture issues that result in the deterioration of envelope assemblies and costly repairs or Forensic Investigations.
Retro-Commissioning projects for Industrial and commercial facilities builders often face costly unforeseen circumstances with additions and renovations. This is often due to the lack of commissioning and maintenance over the years can leave the building envelope systems in dis-repair. At this juncture a building envelope review can determine if there are any concerns to ensuring high performance and long-term durability. This evaluation can include air and water intrusion testing as well as thermal scanning. If the evaluation reveals underperformance, this will provide an opportunity to implement new solutions for improvement
Project scope, Budget, & Schedule
Orata’s team of experts determine if the Owners Project Requirements (OPR) are realistically achievable within the project’s scope, budget, and schedule to ensure compliance and deliver an accurate advice to our clients.
Throughout the Building Envelope Commissioning process our qualified experts guide builders to determine the most effective building enclosure and design for their building’s optimal performance. This including the standards, objectives, and requirements for the project owners building envelope design and construction process. Often including design reviews, design development meetings, necessary component verification, functional testing of the mechanical, electrical and control systems, report writing, and the final commissioning documentation.
Hire a BECx Expert
If you would like to hire a Building Envelope/Enclosure Expert, submit your assignment today! Alberta’s engineering and sustainable energy experts are here to empower you with expert advice!