Commissioning and Building Optimization

SEA provides new construction and retro-commissioning services to ensure proper building performance.

SEA’s commissioning and building optimization methods assure proper performance as an essential part of a facility’s life cycle. Our strong commissioning expertise stems from our team’s understanding of applying industry-standard commissioning practices across system design, innovative troubleshooting, quality assurance, meticulous attention to detail, and unrivaled guidance for training facility teams in life cycle Operations and Maintenance (O&M).

We work to identify and resolve building systems challenges effectively and cost-effectively at every stage of the facility’s life cycle, from new construction to renovation, often with no or limited solutions that our teams can apply themselves.

The Benefits of Building Commissioning Services

There are many, many benefits to commissioning. Over the lifetime of the building, commissioning will result in lower operating and maintenance costs. The commissioning process can not only reduce operating costs – it can significantly reduce them for a notable result – statistics within the industry have shown that the operational costs of a commissioned building can range from 8% – to 20% less than those of a non-commissioned building.

A one-time investment in building commissioning (typically 0.5-1.5 percent of construction costs) can result in lower operating costs over the life of the building. It is critical to have a building commissioning plan in place.

“SEA stands above the rest. This is an amazing team to work with. No other engineering firm has ever compared to what SEA has been able to do for our facilities. This was proven when ASHRAE honored our work with their Technology and Innovation Award and featured it as the cover story on the ASHRAE September 2020 Journal. SEA’s results are second to none.”

Kelley Whalen, ADTRAN Facilities Supervisor

Commissioned Buildings Benefit In Many Ways:

  • Lower utility bills result from increased energy efficiency
  • Improved workplace performance and reduced absenteeism
  • Enhanced occupant safety
  • Maintenance and repairs take up less time and money
  • Improved health and comfort for occupants
  • Enhanced indoor air quality
  • Maintenance requirements documented
  • Reduced overall first and lifecycle costs
  • Green building commissioning helps to reduce a building’s carbon footprint and environmental impact
  • Reduces the total cost of ownership


SEA Commissioning Facts

250+ Buildings Commissioned
13.5M+ Square Feet of Commissioned Facilities
8 Certified Commissioning Providers
15 Professional Engineers and Architects

AT A GLANCE – SEA Commissioning Facts

At Sain Engineering Associates, we pride ourselves on our accumulative experience and thorough quality assurance process. This has allowed us to build the following into our portfolio of work:

  • 250+ Buildings Commissioned
  • 13.5M+ Square Feet of Commissioned Facilities
  • 8 Certified Commissioning Providers
  • 15 Professional Engineers and Architects

Our team comprises several essential and highly skilled role players that work hand in hand with the entire team and building owner from the initial planning phases to the final construction. Our team’s experience in the design and construction phases can offer critical input to ensure that each project gets the best. Whether you need new building commissioning plans or re/ retro-commissioning, our full suite of services and professionals are ready to guide you through the process.

Commissioning Services

The SEA team offers a wide range of commissioning services according to the building owner’s project requirements. Through a quality-focused approach and a full suite of services, each project reaches an ongoing commissioning benchmark and stays on top of the latest practices.

At Sain Engineering Associates, we offer:

  • System Tune-Ups
    All buildings require periodic tune-ups to ensure maximum energy efficiency. This does not necessitate a massive undertaking and could be as simple as having our engineers perform basic functional testing, measurements, and verifications to fine-tune current operations without needing to replace new products and systems.

    Our team can examine your system holistically to assist you in determining any additional improvements that are required. Because we are brand agnostic, we simply help you improve your overall building operations with no ulterior motives.
  • New Construction Commissioning
    Our team sees new construction commissioning as an essential quality assurance process that can foster creative thinking and collaboration among key stakeholders. The SEA team is well-versed in building commissioning for new construction projects. We collaborate with architects and general contractors to engage the project team to facilitate project success.

    Our team is motivated by a genuine desire to provide the facility with a new property that meets the requirements and high standards of the Owner. We have a track record of successful new construction commissioning for various building types, including healthcare, educational, professional, dining facilities, recreational, and housing. Our commissioning procedure is divided into four stages: design, construction, operational, and occupancy.
  • Retro Commissioning
    SEA has retro/re-commissioned many problem buildings. Our role has been assisting our clients in identifying causes through appropriate building energy audits and assessments and recommending appropriate solutions. Low-cost / no-cost actions, as well as O&M improvements and retrofit opportunities, are examples of solutions.

    We look for low-cost ways to improve the functionality of existing equipment and systems and optimize how they work together. Improved performance has improved indoor air quality, increased energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and reduced building deterioration issues.

    Read more about Retro comissioning
  • Continuous Commissioning®
    SEA is one of only seven firms in the world to offer Continuous Commissioning®, thanks to a collaboration with Texas A&M. Continuous Commissioning® is a continuous process for resolving operational issues, improving comfort, and optimizing energy use in existing commercial, institutional, and central plant facilities. Continuous Commissioning® incorporates and expands on building commissioning practices by taking a systematic approach to:

    • Identify and resolve existing operational issues in a facility by reviewing systems and their operations.

    • Improve building thermal comfort and indoor air quality to identify problems and root causes to improve occupant conditions.

    • Reduce building energy consumption and costs by critically reviewing the facility to serve its occupants best.

    • Provide facility management with knowledge-based, hands-on training so that they can be a part of the solution.

We Believe in Building Optimization

What we do is create an efficient facility. Buildings today are complex, with interconnected systems and sophisticated controls. As a result, even minor operational issues can significantly impair a building’s performance. We work with building owners to reduce capital costs, optimize energy use, and reduce maintenance costs while ensuring occupant comfort and indoor air quality.

To meet occupant requirements and expectations, optimizing a building’s energy consumption necessitates an approach that allows devices and systems to work together efficiently and cost-effectively. Building optimization combines several sustainable strategies used to examine and continuously address elements of existing buildings that can be optimized without requiring significant capital investment. ROI of 25% to 50% and savings of 15% to 45% are reasonable expectations. Simply put, commissioning ensures that all systems perform precisely as they are meant to!

What Makes SEA Unique?

At SEA, we take standard commissioning and building optimization processes and apply our distinct style to ensure that quality actions are carried out throughout our processes. Our portfolio of projects is founded on a few steadfast principles that are often unwavering.

Whether we are working on an existing building or aiding in developing a new building commissioning building project, we apply the same pillars to ensure that quality is at the forefront of our resulting product.

The pillars we rely on include:

  • Communication – Our excellent teamwork enables us to collaborate and communicate effectively across multiple teams. The trust we build with our facility owners allows us to meet their high expectations.
  • Agile mindset – Attention to detail affects quality assurance for a straightforward process that meets tight schedules and deadlines.
  • Passion – Our engineers’ friendly attitude is responsive, decisive, and passionate about finding solutions to your building operations.
  • A foundation of expertise – Our goal is to teach about industry best practices based on our subject matter expertise.
  • A proven track record – Whether you need a commissioning authority for new construction or a retro-commissioning authority for an existing facility, SEA has proven experience commissioning more than 13.5 million square feet across more than 250 buildings for the Government, Education, Healthcare, Industrial Manufacturing, Commercial, and Laboratory Research Industries. Our success is demonstrated by the outcomes we achieve for our clients.

What is Meant by Building Commissioning?

Building commissioning is a set of practices that aids in the planning, design, construction, installation, testing verification, documentation, and operation of structures and infrastructure to meet the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR).

Building commissioning consists of distinct phases and activities for new and existing buildings. Whether commissioning current or future buildings, the procedure includes many incremental activities, most of which are team-based and result in project-specific advantages and documentation. Commissioning is an ongoing process that will continue throughout a building project’s lifecycle well beyond the initial design and construction phases.

What is a Commissioning Service?

Full-suite commissioning services such as the ones we offer at SEA are aimed at ensuring that new buildings get started on the right foot at project inception – we offer tailor-fit solutions that take into consideration the projected lifecycle of a building to provide a project that can adapt quickly to future changes for the ultimate agile lifecycle of a project.

While our team is also skilled at working with existing buildings and commissioned systems to restore them to their intended purpose and functionality to reduce ongoing operations and maintenance costs.

Systems and assemblies that we oversee include:

  • Functional performance tests
  • HVAC systems
  • Verification of current and proposed facility systems and their documentation
  • Pre-existing systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Cost savings potentials to improve building operation

Does LEED Certification Require Commissioning?

YES! Under the Energy and Atmosphere [EA] section of the LEED, manual commissioning is required to ensure that buildings are fully optimized and functional and follow energy management best practices within the industry.

In order to be fully LEED qualified, a building must be commissioned, re-commissioned, or retro-commissioned. The final commissioning report will be required for LEED certification. If you are unsure what your project needs, get in touch with a SEA commissioning agent for advice and a walk-through of the process.

The Commissioning process

Thee is a systematic process that is applied to all commissioning projects. It is essential to consider that various project phases are vital. The commissioning process can be broken down into several stages with the result of the quality-focused process.

  • Pre-design phase
    The Pre-Design Phase establishes the project’s foundation, defines the plan for commissioning (Cx), and begins the critical team-building process. The design and commissioning teams are assembled during this phase, and the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and building program are developed. All subsequent decisions should be made concerning the OPR.
  • Designing Phase
    During the design phase, the commissioning process ensures that the design documentation (Basis of Design (BOD), plans, specifications, and so on) are consistent and that they include commissioning requirements and meet the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR).
  • Construction phase
    A well-coordinated quality assurance and control process, including installation, start-up, functional testing, documentation, and training, is required for successful construction phase commissioning.
    The commissioning team works during construction to ensure that all equipment, systems, and assemblies are appropriately installed, integrated, and operating following the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR). Functional testing and documentation provide essential performance benchmarks, acceptance criteria, and a baseline for the facility’s future operation and ongoing commissioning.
  • Occupancy and operations phase
    The Occupancy and Operation Phase typically begins when the facility is turned over to the Owner at Substantial Completion; however, some construction phase operations may still be ongoing. During the Occupancy and Operations Phase, all unfinished operations from the construction phase (project closeout activities) are completed. Long-term systems are designed and implemented to ensure building performance throughout time (ongoing maintenance and performance activities).

Regular data reviews and updates will keep the project, and building owners informed regardless of where you are in the documentation process. This is part of the communication process that allows all teams to operate at peak performance levels to ensure that the entire project runs smoothly from start to finish.

The Phases of the Retro and Re-Commissioning Process

Even if your building was initially designed to be energy efficient when it was built or renovated, building usage and equipment age over time, modern building systems are incredibly complex, and even minor changes can have a domino effect on the entire structure. As systems deviate from their default settings, energy consumption and operating costs rise.

This is where Retro-commissioning becomes an essential factor. The process of assessing a building’s energy performance and taking steps to return it to its original design intent is known as retro-commissioning (RCx).

Re and Retro-Commissioning

  • Planning phase
    The objectives of the Planning Phase are to develop/confirm the Owner’s needs and requirements for the facility and document them via a Current Facility Requirements (CFR) document, as well as to create a retro-commissioning or re-commissioning Strategy to define the facility’s commissioning process. If a third-party consultant manages the project, the contract with the consultant will be planned and executed based on the Owner’s CFR and the required range of services.
  • Investigative Phase
    The Investigation Phase’s goal is to conduct a site investigation to compare the individual building conditions and system stability with the Owner’s current operational needs and requirements as defined by the CFR. This phase concludes with the creation and review of a Master List of Findings, which identifies Facility Improvement Measures (FIMs) that, when implemented, would improve building and system performance to meet the CFR and reduce energy and O&M costs to enhance indoor environmental quality.
  • Implementation Phase
    The Implementation Phase’s goal is to put the Facility Improvement Measures (FIMs) chosen from the Master List of Findings into action and ensure that the predicted results and system performance are met.
  • Turnover Phase
    The Turnover Phase’s goal is to ensure a smooth handoff and transition from the commissioning process/team to the personnel in charge of operating and maintaining the building throughout its lifecycle (the O&M personnel). Successful changes ensure that all necessary documentation, knowledge, and systems are provided to O&M personnel, that O&M personnel demonstrate effective use of these tools, and that the implemented improvements become standard operating practice, ensuring that the CFR is met. The positive results will continue in the future.
  • Persistence Phase
    The Persistence Phase’s goal is to ensure that all Facility Improvement Measures continue to function correctly throughout their lifecycle and that systems and tools are provided and used to facilitate continuous improvement of facility performance to meet Current Facility Requirements within the building industry.


Work With SEA for The Optimal Performance

Our team 0f engineering and commissioning professionals can offer you the opportunity to discover the full potential of your building. Whether you are looking for cost savings on a new facility or would like to enhance your facility’s current performance, we work closely with building owners, design teams, and construction crews to ensure that each step of the process is smooth sailing. Get in touch with us today to get started.

Project Profiles