Building Management Systems (BMS) have been available in one form or another for over thirty years and are also called BEMS, BAS, etc. Graham Smith has been involved since the early days from simple systems monitoring pneumatic controls, through to highly integrated systems with up to sixty thousand points. He was also involved in a number of research projects for BRE, BRECSU, etc. into user experience of BMS, application of expert systems and data mining. Graham's wider experience of building services, etc. assists in the selection of the most appropriate BMS solution and control strategies.
A BMS is essential to the energy efficient (low carbon) operation of a modern building. Most non-domestic buildings have a form of BMS with direct digital control (DDC) of the services and the requirements are becoming more demanding with the integration of low carbon technologies.
We endeavour to engineer systems with simple and logical control strategies and avoid over complex solutions, whilst maintaining controllability and energy efficiency essential for the effective integration of modern low carbon technologies. However, some systems do require relatively complex strategies for effective operation.
Modern BMS offer a number of communications options, including use of the building's IT system for communication between the central facility and outstations. BMS can communicate directly with plant via interfaces such as BACnet, Modbus, LonWorks, etc. Interaction with access control, security systems, CCTV, etc. can all be integrated with the BMS, if required.
A comprehensive and robust BMS specification is becoming increasingly important to ensure that the required system functionality is correctly specified, competitive tender packages can be issued and BMS suppliers/Systems Integrators managed effectively throughout the contract. BMS suppliers/Systems Integrators normally provide a good standard of services, but problems can result with inadequately specified systems, leaving the specifier in precarious contractual position.
Many BMS and control problems are actually system controllability, please see the next section for further information.