BCIA (the Building Controls Industry Association) is urging the industry to work together to make significant changes in how building controls are understood by the wider public and other sectors.
The aim of the building performance challenge is to construct commercial buildings which perform in the most cost-effective and energy-efficient way to ensure optimum building performance for the full duration.
The association says that what is noticeable is that there is a clear lack of understanding from the start of the building cycle. Designers are eager to please their 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.
BCIA says it is imperative at this point, that the client is educated on the benefits of the Building Energy Management System (BEMS).
Legislation is crucial in meeting this challenge, e.g. BS EN 15232 Energy Performance of Buildings – Impact of Building Automation, Controls & Building Management, which provides comprehensive methodology to identify potential energy savings from a broad range of controls.
Frequently, due to financial and commercial pressures, the budget is cut resulting in many energy saving features which are part of the BEMS being lost. The outcome is a building which will not perform to its peak and as originally intended.
According to the BCIA, what is needed going forward, is that at each stage of the building cycle: design, construction, commissioning and end user; each cog in the chain has full and in-depth knowledge of the integral role of building controls.
BCIA president, Malcolm Anson, said: “As an industry, we need to achieve greater efficiency in buildings and the only way we can make this happen is by working together. Our next step, is to encourage and offer training and build on strong communication through all stages of the cycle.”
He continued: “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 is 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,” he concluded.