The Basics: Building Envelope Commissioning

leth-chinook-hosp.jpgThe A/E/C industry is continuing to recognize the significant impact of the building envelope on the performance, durability, energy use, and sustainability of the building. As such, the principles of Commissioning are being applied to confirm the quality of the design and construction of the envelope.

Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) “is a quality-focused process for achieving, verifying, and documenting that the performance of facilities, systems, and assemblies meet the defined objectives and criteria,” (ASHRAE Guideline 0-2013, The Commissioning Process). The primary objective of the commissioning process is to confirm the delivery of a building envelope that meets the Owner’s design intent and performance expectations.

The National Institute of Building Science Guideline 3-2012 outlines the technical requirements for BECx. The BECx Authority plays an important role in helping the Owner and project team adapt this 300-page process to the specific project.

Another resource is the ASTM E2813-12, Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning which describes the enclosure as “materials, components, systems, and assemblies intended to provide shelter and environmental separation between interior and exterior, or between two or more environmentally distinct interior spaces in a building or structure.” 

Benefits of performing BECx on a project include:

  • Improved building durability
  • Improved building performance
  • Confirmation that the design intent has been achieved
  • Education of building operators
  • Elevated QA awareness
  • Clear definition of roles and responsibilities
  • Clear Owner Project Requirements and project priorities leading to improved decision making
  • BECx can provide a 2-credit point option under LEED v4 or a 1-point ID credit under LEED 2009 (Enhanced Cx).
  • Required for compliance with certain energy codes - such as the 2015 CA adoption of the IECC requiring commissioning of all building systems.


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