ID#5992 made on
EAc3 - Additional commissioning
LEED BD+C: New Construction
USGBC: Please confirm that our opinion that having the company, CH2M HILL, act as the commissioning authority for a project where IDC company is the designer of record is not in violation of the inten...
USGBC: Please confirm that our opinion that having the company, CH2M HILL, act as the commissioning authority for a project where IDC company is the designer of record is not in violation of the intent for the independent commissioning authority for the Energy and Atmosphere Credit, Additional Commissioning. Relative to this project both IDC and CH2M Hill will have separate and distinct contracts with Clemson University. Rationale: It is our understanding that the intent of the requirement to have an independent commissioning authority (CA) perform the required design reviews and submittal reviews is: 1) To reduce the conflict of interest, so the CA can be more objective and more fully represent the owner''s interests, and 2) To offer a second set of eyes to view the design documents and offer expert opinion toward improvements to the design and verification that the owner''s interests are being met. The owner should be able to obtain this service without being unduly incumbered by regulation. For some owners, the second set of eyes of experts they select may be more important than the potential for some conflict of interest. The Building Commissioning Association (BCA) recognizes this issue and has outlined a flexible guideline that states if there is potential for conflict, the owner must be notified and an acceptable method for managing the conflict put in place. LEED 2.0 requirements state that the "three reviews must be performed by a firm other than the designer." (p. 145). Requirements in LEED 2.1, state a CA must be used that is "independent of the design team." Two questions arise. What does "independent" mean and what does "of design team" mean. The intent of the term "independent" probably means ''not associated or connected in a way with the designers that will result in the reviewer feeling pressure to not disclose all findings.'' "Of the design team" could mean not part of the designer''s ''firm'' in any way, or just not part of the team of individuals performing the design work. This is not clear. CH2M HILL has hundreds of offices around the world. IDC has 18 offices. CH2M HILL and IDC are sister companies. However, neither company directs the other. CH2M HILL staff are not supervised by IDC staff, nor do they have common supervisors upstream. They do not reside in the same office locations, nor work on projects together any more or differently than any design firm works with other design or consulting firms. There is probably more conflict of interest between two separate firms in the same city that know each other professionally, than there is between IDC and CH2M HILL staff that do not know each other and are not obligated professionally or socially in any way. In light of the above discussion and review of the credit rulings made to date, if CH2M HILL staff are not otherwise associated with the design team, they should provide sufficient independence for reviewing IDC designs to comply with the intent of the LEED criteria. This is particularly true when CH2M HILL''s standard process of reporting all findings directly to the owner is considered.
Per the Reference Guide and the CIR on this credit dated 10/26/01, Tasks 1, 2, and 3 of EA Credit 3 MUST be done by someone representing a firm OTHER than the design firm, while Tasks 4 and 5 may be done by someone from the design firm. It is difficult to determine all of the permutations of professional relationships that could affect the independence of a third party commissioning agent. In this case, it is necessary to clarify that the two organizations involved in the project function independently with respect to management, shared staff, financial relationships, etc. If this case can be made, the organization can be designated as a third party.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)