Initial commissioning, static commissioning, or pre-completion commissioning - choose your term - covers the basic commissioning required to satisfy a building's specification.
Essentially, initial commissioning is just proof of capability, such as the ability of a mechanical ventilation system to deliver the required air volumes, or the heating system to provide the required heat output. Tests will include health and safety checks, and controls systems will be checked. Set-points will be fixed and recorded in the documentation.
Full-load commissioning may not be possible prior to occupation. Loads may not be available at the time because of the time of year, or phased occupation may mean internal heat gains are absent. Ventilation systems working at full capacity might reveal noise or vibration problems, or the terminal units might create unpleasant draughts. As such problems may only emerge later, it raises the logic of having a graduated handover (see BSRIA's Soft Landings initiative).
All the buildings included in the Carbon Trust's Low Carbon Building's Programme (LCBP) were categorised as low-carbon buildings, in that they either had on-site renewable energy generation or some other technology that reduced carbon dioxide emissions. These technologies tended to be commissioned by a specialist - in most cases either the installer or manufacturer. Many manufacturers provided a commissioning checklist for their product. Once completed, the checklists were retained in the handover documentation.
While this was fine at the point of commissioning, problems tended to surface later. For example, some suppliers of low carbon technologies are based in continental Europe, which affected the speed of response to calls for advice, information or maintenance. Downtime suffered as a result. Standby boilers installed as back-up to biomass boilers often ran more often than was intended.