Understanding a Building Management System

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When it comes to managing the built environment, you need a way to keep track of and control the various systems operating within the facility, whether it be a large boiler plant or a commercial office space. The most efficient way of doing so is through a building management system (BMS), sometimes called a building automation system (BAS), which manages the facility’s heating and cooling plants, air handling units, lighting control, and other core elements.

Today, many new buildings are built with integrated building management systems, allowing for complete building monitoring and control from day one. Older buildings, however, need to be retrofitted to incorporate building management systems.

What are the components of a building management system?

At its core, a building management system is most often responsible for controlling the HVAC, heating and ventilation systems of a building, however, there are other functions too. The main components of a BMS and their basic functionalities are as follows:

  • HVAC – control fans & dampers; maintain and monitor a pre-determined air state (in terms of temperature and humidity); control air handling units & fan coil units.
  • Heating – control system activity; maintain a pre-determined temperature.
  • Ventilation – adjust based on occupancy controls.
  • Boiler controls – control boiler activity; maintain a constant temperature.
  • Lighting control – set a pattern for lights to switch on/off according to a specified schedule.
  • Electric power control – control & monitor core electrical and mechanical equipment.
  • Security & observation – control access to the facility; surveillance and intrusion detection.
  • Fire alarm system – active alarm locations; smoke control system.
  • Elevators – status system; elevator video display.
  • Plumbing & water monitoring – control valve operation automatically; monitor temperature deviations; detect hydraulic flows.

This is not a complete list of BMS functions; many have additional capabilities and features, and some can even be designed specifically for the facility itself and its unique needs. These systems usually feature a combination of hardware and software to monitor and control the facility; this includes a central server(s), monitoring stations, and remote sensors, as well as software that allows the facility manager to interact with the BMS.

Next Controls are experts in smart building control and energy management, specialising in maximising your investment in BMS technologies well beyond the initial installation phase.

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