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ACDTB ASHRAE Commissioning definitions and terminology (2018) (pdf)
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ACDTB ASHRAE Commissioning definitions and terminology (2018) (pdf)

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Commissioning Definitions and Terminology for the Building Industry: A Common Overview
Prepared by ASHRAE, CIBSE and AiCARR

Commissioning is a process for ensuring that a system is designed and operated as intended. Commissioning helps achieve larger goals of sustainable design and operation, life-cycle cost (LCC) effectiveness, efficient use of investments, minimizing overall maintenance and utility costs, component-life reliability, and realizing performance expectations.

This is the reason why AiCARR, ASHRAE, and CIBSE agreed to draw from definitions and terminology that appear in their respective commissioning publications and other resources for the purpose of harmonization by developing the first collective work on the topic. This document provides an extensive listing of commissioning terminology in tabular format. Three columns provide definitions that prevail in each organization’s commissioning process documents and, in the last column, a common definition is proposed (where it is possible to do so).

This document begins to establish a common basis for international communication regarding the Commissioning Process by starting with general definitions as they are understood in Italy, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This may lead to a common overview of commissioning. It will certainly lead to a better understanding.

The document draws from definitions contributed by the Italian Association of Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (AiCARR), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). The source of each definition is provided. Ownership of each individual definition is retained by its contributor. Ownership of the collective work is shared by AiCARR, ASHRAE, and CIBSE.


  • AICARR President Preface
  • ASHRAE President Preface
  • CIBSE President Preface

Leading the effort to identify appropriate definitions from AiCARR were Livio de Santoli and Luca Alberto Piterà; from ASHRAE, Walter Grondzik and Gerald Kettler; and from CIBSE, John Field and Hywel Davies.

Additional acknowledgements are due to Livio de Santoli and Luca Alberto Piterà for the inspiration to recognize the need for standardization of terminology in the important field of commissioning and for Walter Grondzik for final review of the collected terms as a collective whole.
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