Data Center Commissioning Levels in UAE for LEED BREEAM

Data Center Commissioning Levels for LEED Certification

Data Centre Commissioning

Increased Uptime, Increased ROI and Fewer Repairs

As data centre developers and owners, you will see first-hand, the benefits that come from data centre commissioning conducted by our team- all to assure the highest levels of reliability and efficiency are achieved in line with the design intent.

Commissioning is the process that reviews and tests the data centre’s physical infrastructure design as a holistic system to assure the highest level of reliability and efficiency are achieved, in accordance with the design. Placed in the context of entire data centre deployment, commissioning should be part of the implementation phase, commencing with a commissionability review of the design for optimisation of chiller, pump and fan power, and simplification of design for commissioning and operation.

Data centre commissioning holds many benefits for the data centre developers and owner, such as quicker construction with reduced problems. increased uptime, higher availability and fewer repairs, in addition to fast fixes and fewer changes, reduced costs and increased return on investment. We are well versed in commissioning data centres to the highest performance requirements, including management of the uptime certification process.

Data Center Commissioning

Commissioning is important for any building, but it’s critical for a data center and requires more steps than an office building. Data center commissioning ensures everything runs correctly but also asks if the infrastructure will stay online when something goes wrong.
Data center commissioning examines potential failure modes and then introduces those failures into the infrastructure to verify that redundancies perform as intended. It’s a strategic approach that verifies equipment can be shut down for service and that backup systems actually work when needed.
Data centers are industrial-scale, complex facilities that may require as much energy as a small town. The functional requirements for these facilities are more extensive than average commercial facilities. Society has come to rely on computing resources and availability of internet service as a matter of fact, where any downtime at all is considered unacceptable, and for certain systems, may have life or safety reliant systems depending on uninterrupted, 24/7 operation. Or at the very least have disastrous financial implications if the computing resources inside data centers were to become unavailable
Data Center Commissioning in Dubai, UAE

Functional Requirements for Data Centers: Considerations

These are functional requirement considerations that are particularly relevant to the scope of data center commissioning.


Power is usually the largest cost in data center operations. The fault tolerance and resiliency needed to maintain uninterrupted power requires a multi-faceted approach.


The computing resources in a data center generate a lot of heat. Keeping equipment at optimal temperatures ensure it works properly and doesn’t fail. Reliable and redundant cooling systems are another part of maintaining uptime.


Not every region is suitable for data centers. The following considerations may be used when deciding where a data center will be built. Commissioning requirements related to location are less relevant than those for primary power and mechanical systems, but like any system, it will have unique characteristics and performance based on its environment.

Control Systems

Automation and control systems are what bring equipment together and cause them to operate in unison, and respond to events and actions from other equipment and systems, environmental conditions, or operators.
The following items must be carefully coordinated among engineering disciplines and construction trades. Focus on the following key components is a good start.

Physical Security

Access to a data center must be controlled and limited to only qualified, authorized individuals. Depending on the systems running on the servers in a data center, these access restrictions may even be governed by laws and regulations by governments or their agencies.


There are general considerations that will dictate ALL functional requirements.

Commissioning for Data Centers

Commissioning for highly resilient facilities like data centers may vary in the level of rigor applied compared to a commissioning program for any other facility. There are five levels of commissioning usually implemented within data center commissioning programs (these levels are not limited to data center commissioning, but are more commonly used in this context).
Some differences in data center commissioning:
The five levels cover parts of a commissioning program that mainly occur during what’s considered the construction phase of commissioning. It should be noted that a complete commissioning program includes design phase activities as well. We have seen the five level approach used with a sixth level, sometimes identified as level zero, that covers design reviews, OPR development, and other early-stage engagement. What it’s called isn’t important, but it is important that the commissioning program spans all design, construction, and post-occupancy phases.

Level One Commissioning

Level one commissioning covers submittal reviews and factory witness testing. Factory witness testing involves mockups of equipment or systems in controlled environments, often at the manufacturer or vendor’s factory – hence the name. Testing in this environment makes it easier and less expensive to find and fix design and implementation issues with equipment and software. It also allows asynchronous testing of many different systems while the data center itself is still under construction, aiding in overall timeline efficiency.

Level Two Commissioning

Level two commissioning is site acceptance inspection. Equipment is inspected to ensure compliance with all design criteria, is not damaged, and that there is a proper storage plan in place.

Level Three Commissioning

Level covers installation inspections, sometimes referred to as pre-functional testing. Installation inspections involve the inspection of the installation of all equipment. Both the contractors and commissioning agent will verify that all equipment is installed properly, and that installation meets design and operational standards. Equipment is started for the first time to check proper, independent operation. Testing is repeated after corrections are made to any equipment that fails testing.

Level Four Commissioning

Functional performance testing happens during level four commissioning. Functional performance testing often applies to either individual components or equipment, or tightly coupled components and equipment (i.e. a chiller, its pumps, and its cooling tower(s)). During this phase, each control loop is checked, actual operation is compared to designed sequences of operation, and performance is observed. Set-point adjustments may be made as necessary. Operational issues are uncovered during this phase.
This level of commissioning begins to involve more people and firms, disciplines, and entities working together than other phases, at least with respect to testing.

Level Five Commissioning

Data Center Commissioning in Dubai, UAE
This is the final phase of testing (aside from any seasonal testing that was not performed earlier), and usually focuses on building-wide response to major events, like suddenly disconnecting utility power.

It’s at this point where the response from all systems – power, cooling, general HVAC, etc. must be proven to work together in unison and prevent any interruptions to the operation of the data center.

In summary level five commissioning demonstrates the performance of the facility as a whole against all design criteria. Systems are operated at various loads and in various modes to demonstrate proper response to equipment failures and utility problems.

Here is the seven steps to explain why you should think again about commissioning:

Step 1: Integration with the design

The ability to commission equipment should be considered at the earliest stage of every project. Building in a commissioning schedule into the program, sequencing how you will access equipment during the build process is essential. Time spent considering logistical challenges will be handsomely rewarded with seamless integration throughout the build program.

Step 2: Planning

Get your technical services teams engaged at the outset – providing their input and insight into the design of buildings services at the initial stages where they can help develop a comprehensive schedule of the testing and commissioning process. Make the testing regime system simple, efficient and standardized – and most importantly transparent, so that commissioning is readily tracked and recorded centrally with a documentation output.
Don’t assume that technology will solve all challenges. Documentation is often grouped and not produced progressively resulting in the late release of vital documents and project delays. A comprehensive plan must include a phased schedule and record of necessary documentation.

Step 3: The factory acceptance test

Never make assumptions that products and systems will operate seamlessly unless you have the hard data to back this up. Not all products undertake a witnessed factory acceptance test, so unless you have verified data that you can successfully integrate these within your network, then you must validate compliance before installation begins. Costly and time-consuming issues can be avoided with a thorough interrogation long before any product arrives on site.

Step 4: Visual inspections

Sounds simple but it’s so often overlooked on a busy site. Make sure that any delivered equipment is visually inspected for signs of damage. Any defects should be immediately reported, and a swift resolution sought. Smart tags should be fixed to equipment to provide the unique identification of equipment and associated commissioning data during construction and post-completion

Step 5: Site acceptance testing

Each product and service should be physically and independently tested on site to verify performance criteria and ensure alignment with the design and specification. This is considered as the SAT (Site acceptance testing). Remember, the physical testing operation is not synonymous with the release of the testing documentation, which needs to be independently tracked to ensure the process is completed.

Step 6: System operation verification

Data networks are at the heart of data center systems. All data transmission networks are to be independently certified ahead of any joint systems testing to ensure the communication between equipment is functional. The isolation and certification of these networks is the precursor to full operations testing, but it’s easy to get this sequencing wrong and create needless delays.

Step 7: Integrated system testing

The final integrated system test is the opportunity to observe the performance of a data center at maximum design load. Absolute rigor and attention to detail is fundamental at this stage, measuring and accurately recording switch positions, environmental conditions and failure scenarios to ensure operational compliance. Efficient progression to this stage marks the operational handover of the data center.Changing the conversation with customers and key project stakeholders about the importance of commissioning is pivotal if you want to meet expectations for faster, day one operational data center facilities.