Phoenix Engineering


Independent Commissioning Agent (ICA)

Independent Commissioning Management is the quality assurance process that ensures a building has been built to its design intent and (that together with its services) operates in the correct, safest and most energy efficient way possible. Any one building may rely on sensitive control systems and hundreds of complex building services, all requiring proper commissioning to clearly help determine best overall project performance.

vIndependent Commissioning Management

Phoenix independently manage, oversee and check the commissioning (and witness testing) of building services including electrical, mechanical/HVAC, hydraulic, fire and control systems. This includes thoroughly reviewing the Operations & Maintenance Manuals to ensure they contain latest building services information and as-built drawings reflect reality, before witness tests to confirm the content of those documents.

The independent function of a commissioning agent is critical to ensure unbiased and thorough eyes are driving proper commissioning, this is driven with a view of the whole building service vision. Phoenix ensure that the designer, client, consultant and contractors are speaking the same language, and enforce implementation of the commissioning plan by all parties. An Independent Commissioning Agent (ICA) also assists to improve or maintain your NABERS rating.

Our Independent Commissioning Agent (ICA) service includes but is not limited to the following:
  • Preparing, updating and reporting on a project commissioning plan
  • Issuing Formal Review
    • Tender Specifications to confirm "clauses" etc for each discipline
    • Schematic designs (sketch plans) for each discipline
    • Drawings and specifications before tender issue
    • Working Drawings for Commissioning and Maintenance (when made available)
    • Commissioning Manuals for each discipline
    • Draft & Final Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Manual for each discipline
  • Meetings
    • Attend Design Meetings
    • Attend Site and Co-ordination Meetings
    • Hold Commissioning Meetings
    • Hold Interface Meetings
  • Audits/Inspections
    • Hold Site inspections
    • Audit QA Paperwork relating to site tests
    • Audit QA Paperwork relating to pre commissioning tick sheet
  • Reporting
    • Regular Update & Status Reporting throughout project
    • Minutes to Commissioning & Interface Meetings
    • Witness Test Report
    • Final Commissioning Report
  • Conducting
    • Witness Tests
    • Tuning Sessions
    • Weekly BMS Monitoring
  • Re-Commissioning and provision of Building Tuning advice

vGreen Star Independent Commissioning Management

Green Star is a rating system developed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), which is designed to assess the environmental potential of buildings. These ratings can be achieved via a credit system, which set a standard of measurement to establish how the premises will be constructed and perform under ideal circumstances.

As a Green Star Independent Commissioning Agent (ICA), Phoenix include all services shown above in section "Independent Commissioning Management", however Green Star may require additional environmentally-related standards based on targeted (desired) credits. For example as an ICA, Phoenix would ensure urinals operate to their specified design criteria and the Australian Standard; however Green Star may require their flush to utilise a different amount of water to achieve water-based credits. Other Green Star credits require a better-than-average NABERS rating.

Due to strict guidelines to achieve Green Star credits we additionally assist with:

  • All the ongoing documentation required to realise your Green Star rating,
  • Training and handover management,
  • Building Tuning sessions during the defects liability period (DLP),
  • Advice on tuning of building services to improve energy performance, and
  • Final re-commissioning.

A typical Green Star project would see the engagement of an Independent Commissioning Agent throughout the following phases:

Design phase: Phoenix review the "buildability" and future maintenance of building services
      (referred to as "Commissioning Clauses" in Green Star Tool, technical manuals)

Construction phase: Phoenix manage the commissioning and witness testing
      (referred to as "Independent Commissioning Agent" in Green Star Tool, technical manuals)

Defects Liability Period (and beyond): Phoenix assist the Building Services Contractors to tune the building
      (referred to as "Building Tuning" in Green Star Tool, technical manuals)

Note: Whilst all services shown in this section are required for certain Green Star credits, they are also available for any project.

vRe-commissioning Management

Re-commissioning is the process of commissioning buildings at some time after their initial completion, occupancy or prior commissioning. Re-commissioning is a check to ensure that building systems (electrical, mechanical/HVAC, hydraulic, fire and control systems) are still functioning as originally planned, constructed, and delivered. Available operational documentation and premises drawings are checked to see if they reflect current reality, then a system of witness tests are performed to identify where periodic operating procedure changes, internal design or mechanical/electrical/control drifts have affected the performance of building services.
Re-commissioning can be a greater process than commissioning as it requires thorough investigation into current operations, verification/tracking of problem areas and finding the root cause of those problems. This service occurs automatically at the end of the defects liability period (DLP) during Green star projects.
Note: Retro-commissioning is a term sometimes used when commissioning a building that has not previously been commissioned properly, fully or at all. Our approach to retro-commissioning is the same as re-commissioning.

vLEED CxA Enhanced

Phoenix has expanded its client services to provide the American Green Building Councils (USGBC) approved rating tool “LEED”.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As one of the internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, the LEED rating systems are developed through an open, consensus – based process by LEED committees.

LEED currently covers:

  • Homes
  • Neighborhood Development
  • Commercial Interiors
  • Core and Shell
  • New Construction & Major Renovations
  • Schools
  • Retail
  • Healthcare

As well as

  • Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance

Frequently asked questions:

vWhy use an Independent Commissioning Agent (ICA)?

Successful independent commissioning management:
  • asks well-purposed, future-thinking questions from design right through to completion,
  • ensures that contractors follow through to supply services as functionally intended, and
  • equips operational staff to ensure optimal use, operation and care for those services.

vWhy is independence so important?

Independence is critical to any commissioning process, as truly independent agents do not design, supply, install or test, nor sell or promote anything. Therefore a true ICA offers a genuinely unbiased review and recommendation on all engineering issues. One central, neutral party also ensures briefing clarity and brings unity to client, consultants and contractor teams.

Unlike a specialist in one single building service discipline, an independent agent has hands-on experience to thoroughly assess all disciplines, but also at the way those unique services will successfully interface with each other.

vHow will an ICA improve project delivery?

An ICA will:
  • Verify the design intent (client and architect’s desired design and functionality)
  • Observe construction
  • Optimise performance (for comfort, reliability, safety and energy)
  • Provide proper documentation on all systems and site specific set-up
  • Ensure systems and equipment are fully functional
  • Ensure systems and equipment properly integrate
  • Train operations and maintenance staff
  • Create construction team cohesion

vWhen should I employ an ICA?

The earlier a commissioning agent is involved and seeks answers to experienced questions, the more likely problems will be avoided and costs reduced.

For example, a thorough Independent Commissioning Agent does not just ask: "Does the air conditioning system work?" after installation. Rather, during design; “Will its function be affected (or potentially impaired) by another service?”... "Will its air delivery system adapt easily to years of change from various fit-outs?”... "Is it designed to cater for variable time/season solar heat loads?”... "What else may affect the air intake?”... and during/post construction; "Does it work correctly at certain temperatures?”... "What is the quality of air intake?"... "Is the air distributed as intended?"... "Should it be on at this time?"... and so on.

Glossary - Engineering Building Services Glossary - Engineering Building Services
The difference between Green Star and NABERS The difference between Green Star and NABERS