Owners Project Requirements Guidance

Construction Standards, Design, Procurement

Before selecting a project team, owners must set project goals beyond zero energy. Owner’s project requirements (OPR) are captured in a written document that details the functional requirements and goals of a project and expectations for how it will be used and operated. The OPR lays the foundation for successful project delivery as defined by the owner and the building users.

An OPR document should identify operating targets for the building envelope, lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water, and controls systems. These targets can be set at the full building level or for each portion of the building program.

Targets can also be more experiential rather than analytical. The OPR may require that the library reading room have ample daylight to eliminate overhead lights on a cloudy day and note the mechanical system shall not be heard beyond a the sound of a low whisper. As the project is defined, the OPR may be updated to include specific lighting levels, allowable envelope infiltration rate, temperature and humidity set points, and preferred space conditioning equipment.

The OPR works with the design team’s Basis of Design (BOD) and the commissioning process. The design team will respond to the OPR with a document that addresses each of the owner’s requirements and states the technology or process used to meet the requirements. Since the commissioning agent is responsible for verifying that the BOD complies with the OPR, the commissioning agent should be engaged in the pre-design phase. Early involvement is critical for the timely and useful development of the OPR, the subsequent BOD, the Commissioning Plan, and the beginning of the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Systems Manual. If these tasks are left until later in the process and “reverse engineered” to match the design, their usefulness as catalysts for dialogue, cost and risk management, and quality tracking tools is lost.

Last Updated January 2019