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To learn more about HCE and see how we can help you design or maintain a building that performs above and beyond your expectations, please Contact Us.


Commissioning Facts


Fact 1: Commissioning is a Professional Service just like Engineering and Architecture. Similar to Engineering, Commissioning must be led by a Design Professional. This means Contractors, by definition, cannot provide commissioning services. They can, however, provide their normal unit start up and check out, which is what they typically call commissioning anyway.

Fact 2: For Public Clients, Commissioning should be procured in the same manner as Professional Engineering, through qualifications and negotiation of scope and fee. This is not a biddable service for Public Clients.

Fact 3: Can my Design Engineer be my Commissioning Agent? Short Answer Yes. Commissioning in its correct form is the Performance Verification of the Contractor’s installation. The Commissioning Agent’s job is to make sure the systems functions per the Engineer’s Plans and Specifications. The Commissioning Agent is not checking the Engineer’s Design, only the performance of the Contractor’s install. Therefore, there is no conflict, or “wolf watching the hen house”.

At HCE, we Commission both our own Engineering jobs and, when requested, provide commissioning services only to other projects.


Commissioning Popularity


HCE has been involved in Building Commissioning for a couple decades, and has become a go-to Engineer in our market for this service. It has really risen in popularity the last 5 or so years. Some of you may be wondering why. Well there are a couple of reasons we see.

    1. Control systems have increased in complexity several fold in the last couple years.
    2. Energy usage, while always important to Engineers, has become a popular topic lately.
    3. Green Building Programs have been requiring it for their certification (although they have really muddied the water on the actual scope for commissioning).
    4. Lastly and most important, as of September 2016, the State of Texas Adopted IEEC 2015. This version of the Energy Code requires Commissioning for all buildings with 40 tons or more of air conditioning STATE WIDE.


The GOOD and the BAD


Good Experienced Commissioning Agents: While these guys may seem like unicorns, there are some out there and they are worth every dollar. The payback on their Actual Engineering/Design knowledge and problem solving skills makes them free at almost any price. But we negotiate market rate for our Unicorns. Save time, money, and hassle. Spend the time to interview your commissioning agent and check references before you hire him.

Bad Commissioning Agents: Many companies or people have popped up recently to provide commissioning services with no or very little actual design/engineering or commissioning experience. Many clients have discovered along with many of our friends in construction that not all Commissioning Agents have a clue. It has also come to light that hiring a BAD Commissioning Agent typically doesn’t cause great problems, there is just no value and you’re wasting money. They are real good and filling out paperwork and forms that don’t mean anything. Due to lack of system knowledge they are of very little help for their actual scope in the field. How does this happen? Liability or lack thereof. All design liability is held by the Engineer and the Commissioning Agent has none.

So would you like to hire an Expensive Paper Pusher to attend meetings, take notes, and add no value? Or…

Would you like to hire Commissioning Agents who spend their time in the field, on site solving problems getting dirty when needed, making your project go smoother, and making you look good?


Commissioning Scopes


Commissioning Scopes can vary A LOT. At HCE, we will work with you to develop the level of value added services that fit your needs. Call us today.

Minimalist Code Compliant Scope
Maximum Energy Savings Scopes
Mechanical Systems
Lighting Systems
Envelope Systems


Scope Items Not Required by Energy Code


Often included by ill informed commissioning agents: additional submittal review, additional plan review, attending massive amounts of meetings, generating endless amounts of paperwork.

HCE spends Commissioning Time where it counts. Spend your money for jobsite problem solvers not more paper.

Comprehensive Building Commissioning is a process which includes site observations, verification, documentation, baseline sampling, monitoring, clearance testing of the building envelope, checking building interiors, and evaluation of the mechanical and control systems. Comprehensive commissioning provides many benefits to the building owner, occupants, design professionals, and contractors. The commissioning process by its very nature provides a better understanding of the building’s envelope, systems operations, and intent of the design documents. Understanding the design intent and purpose of specific water and moisture control strategies and on-site verification of the installations will provide an overall better project that minimizes the negative impacts of water and moisture intrusion. Commissioning of the building mechanical HVAC systems ensures that systems are run-tested through heating, cooling and dehumidification modes to ensure all sequences are functioning properly. Monitoring of space temperature, humidity and equipment can help identify potential problems that can be easily remedied. Control system temperature/humidity sensors are also verified to ensure proper sensor calibration. This will minimize false readings and unnecessary operation of mechanical systems, thus allowing the systems to operate more efficiently.

Mechanical Systems

Performance Testing the all aspects of the Mechanical System for compliance, performance, and energy savings.


Getting the Mechanical Contractor, Controls Contractor, and T&B Contractor on the same page.


Sample of items Verified:

  • Unit Sequences
  • Sensor Calibration
  • Test and Balance Verification
  • Controls Graphics
  • Controls Accuracy
  • Owner Controls Interface
  • After Hours Verification
  • Data Logging


If it can save energy, we’ll find it!!

Building Envelope

While this is NOT Code required, it is an often requested service from our office.


First, what is the Building Envelope? The Building Envelope is the outside surfaces of your building: exterior walls, doors, windows, roof.  The thing that keeps the summer heat and winter cold outside and the right temperature and humidity inside.


Your dad probably told you when you were a kid, “Close the door, I don’t want to pay to air condition the whole neighborhood!!”


The same principal applies here. Unseen holes in your flashing, air and water barriers, improper installation of walls, windows, doors, roofing systems, penetrations, etc all let the “outside in” and the “inside out”.


Problems that can arise, depending on the time of year, weather, and actual problem are: humidity, water damage, mold growth, high energy usage, poor comfort, etc… basically the opposite of well performing building.


So, spending a little money during construction pays off multi-fold by avoiding these issues before they cost tens of thousands to millions to fix depending on the problem and if lawyers get involved!!

Firm Experience

Energy Modeling

HVAC System Design

Industrial Ventilation Systems

Plumbing Design

Sanitary Design

Lighting Design

Photometric Analysis

Storm/Rainleader Systems


Power Distribution Systems

Control Systems

Site Investigation

Construction Administration

Compressed Air Piping

Thermal Imaging

System Monitoring

Engineering the Buildings of Tomorrow, Today. This Is What We Do.