ICA Role. Is this a Duplication of Resources?

Independent Commissioning Agent (ICA)

Green Star, among other ratings schemes offers points for the employ of an ICA. (Refer to Green Star documentation for details).

Here we go again, another ‘get out jail’ for the designer. Don’t get me wrong any commissioning and building tuning is greatly supported, by me.

Where did commissioning in design go? When did it go? Why did it go?

Multiple reasons I’m sure including:

  • Low Fees (must do a wordage search on how many times I see those words)
  • Buildings Built for Sale and not long term operation and ownership
  • Construction management style of building delivery
  • Loss of skills base (good engineers leaving the industry).

Note: Commissioning is not just commissioning the systems to work. It also should include building tuning. This will require the commissioning period to be extended into the defects liability or warranty period, and beyond, if required. The warranty period should become a period of tuning and checking to ensure that the systems are performing at their optimum efficiency during all climatic variations for the occupied building.

Designers Role

It’s absolutely the design engineers role to detail how the commissioning is to be undertaken, what and how it’s to be commissioned and incorporate in their designs  the; valves; dampers; straight lengths of ducts, meters, indication lights and everything else needed.

The designer documents should detail who can commission the systems, the qualifications and necessary experience required. This is, in many ways, a self-preservation act i.e. you need a good commissioning contractor to make your life easy.

It is not the designer’s role to actually commission any systems or set up a commissioning program and the like. However the consultant is responsible for reviewing said documents and final witnessing approval.

Client Role or Clients Representative Role

Clear instruction should be provided when seeking consultant fees. Note: Commissioning should be done regardless of Green Star points and sufficient time to commission should be allowed for in the building program.

Example Scope:

Provide integrated design and commissioning documents to enable the works to be tendered for complete installation and commissioning and building tuning.

Commissioning Works to include:

  • Description of each system to be commissioned
  • Detailed functional description, including full load, low load and partial load operational requirements.
  • BMS points list
  • For each system provide pre commissioning tests and commissioning tests required.
  • For each system detail the commissioning results to be achieved.
  • Include in the design all items required to be able to commissioning the system including:
    • Pitot traverse points
    • Valves
    • Dampers
    • Sensors
    • Gauges, Immersion Sensors, Test Points, Dosing pots etc.
  • Specify the requirements of the commissioning contractor including:
    • NEBB qualifications
    • Previous successfully commissioned similar buildings
    • Staff and staff experience
    • Commissioning program
    • Commissioning test reports


Commissioning and Building Tuning is always required and should be allowed for, regardless of Green Star points.

The designer and in particular the mechanical designer should document the commissioning requirements for the project.

An interesting overlap occurs between the designer and the ICA, if appointed for Green star points.

Author: Jorgen Knox

Date: 12/08/2014

Contact: e: jorgenk@knoxadv.com.au, t: 02 800 33 100, w: KAE, LI