Building commissioning is a quality-focused process of verification of all building systems and subsystems by an independent third party. The MSBA requires and pays 100% for building commissioning for all MSBA-funded projects. (The MSBA may recover costs associated with systems or areas that are ineligible for MSBA reimbursement.) MSBA-commissioned buildings undergo an intensive quality assurance process that begins during design and continues through construction, occupancy, and initial operations. Commissioning ensures that the new building operates as designed and as the owner intended. Commissioning also prepares the building staff to operate and maintain building systems and equipment by ensuring that district personnel receive appropriate operation and maintenance manuals and training by equipment manufacturers and installation contractors.

Commissioning recognizes the integrated nature of all building systems’ performance, which impact sustainability, occupant comfort and efficiency. Because all building systems are integrated, a deficiency in one or more components can result in sub-optimal operation and performance among other components adversely affecting operating costs and equipment life.

Benefits of commissioning for the District include:

  • Construction cost savings
  • Improved coordination between design, construction, and occupancy
  • Fewer system deficiencies at building turnover
  • Improved system and equipment function
  • Improved building operation and maintenance
  • Lower utility bills through energy savings
  • Improved indoor environmental quality and occupant comfort

Building commissioning is a critical component in any "green" or sustainable building program including LEED and MA-CHPS. The process employs several strategies to reduce a building’s energy use. Early in the design phase, energy issues are discussed among the project team. In design review, the commissioning consultants look for design issues that may have an impact on maintenance accessibility or lead to inefficient system operation and wasted energy. Upon installation, they direct and observe functional performance testing of systems and equipment to verify proper operation.

At the June 24, 2020 Board Meeting:


To date, the MSBA has executed 517 commissioning Consultant contracts, totaling $38.8 million in commissioning fees. To date, 364 work orders have been completed.

The table below represents the status of commissioning assignments sorted by the fiscal year in which the commissioning work orders were issued.

Fiscal Year No. Work Orders Issued Value of Work Orders Issued Total Invoiced Percent Complete
FY10 31 $4,231,376 $4,273,277 100%
FY11 95 $6,132,890 $6,058,460 99%
FY12 52 $4,373,944 $4,386,520 100%
FY13 55 $3,364,697 $3,408,897 100%
FY14 47 $2,604,062 $2,541,165 98%
FY15 44 $2,277,711 $2,271,979 100%
FY16 44 $3,385,137 $3,214,399 95%
FY17 37 $2,290,661 $2,041,736 89%
FY18 44 $4,137,550 $2,326,740 56%
FY19 39 $3,604,720 $858,225 24%
FY 20 26 $2,381,013 $101,784 4%
Total 517 $38,783,761 $31,483,180  
* Includes approved additional services over value of Work Order.

Information about the MSBA Commissioning Program:

Forms for MSBA Commissioning Providers:

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the MSBA Commissioning Program, please contact Joseph Buckley, P.E. (617-720-4466) at the Massachusetts School Building Authority.