When approving the installation of a fire protection or life safety system to verify compliance in accordance with governing laws, regulations, codes and standards, many of us use the term “commissioning” interchangeably with the term “acceptance testing.”

However, since 2012 the term “commissioning” has taken on an entirely different meaning with the publication of the first edition of NFPA 3, now known as the Standard for Commissioning of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. The commissioning process documents a story about the systems installed in your building. Following this same approach, here is the “plot” that plumbing engineers and contractors need to know about commissioning in accordance with NFPA 3:


What is commissioning?

Commissioning is a highly administrative process. The goal of commissioning is not to simply receive the Certificate of Occupancy, or “C of O” as it is commonly referred to in the field once passing an acceptance test. Rather, commissioning works to ensure the owner is receiving what he or she paid for.