BCIA stresses need for greater understanding of building controls

Published:  05 April, 2017

BCIA, Building Controls Industry Association, controls, BMS, BEMS
Exploiting the full benefit of controls — Malcolm Anson.

With a view to improving the energy performance of buildings, the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is urging the industry to work together to make significant changes in how building controls are understood by the wider public and other sector.

The association observes that it is noticeable that there is a clear lack of understanding from the start of the building cycle of how to respond to the challenge of constructing commercial buildings that perform in the most cost-effective and energy-efficient manner to ensure optimum building performance for the full duration.

Whereas designers are eager to please the client and create a building that is aesthetically easy on the eye, the value of building controls is not normally a topic for discussion — despite the immense contribution that controls bring.

BS EN 15232 ‘Energy performance of buildings — impact of building automation, controls and building management’ [see page 18] provides a comprehensive methodology to identify the potential savings from a broad range of controls in a variety of applications.

The association is also concerned that because of financial and commercial pressures, budget cuts result in many energy-saving features that are part of the BEMS being lost — with the outcome being a building which will not perform to its peak and as originally intended.

What is needed is that at each stage of the building cycle — design, construction commissioning and end user — each link in the chain has full and in-depth knowledge of the integral role of building controls.

Malcolm Anson, president of the BCIA says, ‘One of the issues that was discussed at the 2016 Building Services Summit was that there is no commercial incentive at the start of the design process for long-term building performance. It is crucial at the very start of the chain, that each relevant designer, end user etc. is fully briefed with the correct knowledge. With the proper systems in place from the beginning, the client can make a significant and valuable return on their investment.

‘As each building is unique – there is no magic formula for this and therefore different criteria are needed for each client. Going forward, we must endeavour to share our knowledge and educate those in the process to successfully ensure buildings are created to a sustainable level which last their entire lifetime.’

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