What is a Design Review?

A Design Review is a process required for certain projects by the California Energy Code, Section 120.8(d). It is carried out in the schematic and design phases as part of building commissioning and involves a Design Review Kickoff, a Construction Document Review, and the completion of compliance forms NRCC-CXR-01-E through NRCC-CXR-05-E, as applicable. Below is more information on the steps of this process.

Design Review Kickoff – This is an in-person meeting between the project owner, design team, and design reviewer or commissioning coordinator that is to be scheduled as early in SD as possible. The project scope will be discussed as well as design elements, system selection, and energy efficiency measures among others. Form NRCC-CXR-01-E must be completed at this stage.

Construction Document Review – The design reviewer ensures that the 90-95% CD set complies with the measures listed in forms NRCC-CXR-02-E through NRCC-CXR-04-E as applicable and marks these forms accordingly. This includes verification that the project’s systems and components are being designed to code requirements. These forms are then forwarded to the design team who provide responses to any points of noncompliance. Once complete, form NRCC-CXR-05-E – the Certificate of Compliance – is signed by the design reviewer, design engineer, and owner/owner’s representative, indicating that the process is complete.

Compliance Forms – Compliance is demonstrated through the completion of forms NRCC-CXR-01-E through NRCC-CXR-05-E, which are all required at the time of permitting.


Who can perform the review?

Buildings < 10,000 sqft. – Engineer-of-Record or Contractor

Buildings > 10,000 sqft. to 50,000 sqft. – In-house Engineer with no project involvement OR third party engineer

Buildings > 50,000 sqft. or Complex Mechanical System – Must be an independent third-party engineer

The commissioning coordinator who meets these requirements may also complete the review.

For more information about Design Reviews, Commissioning services, and/or how to prepare for both, contact Moe Fakih below:

Moe Fakih, Principal
VCA Green

Contributing Writer: Luca Costa, LEED Green Associate