Birling Consulting Ltd
Birling Consulting Ltd


October 2019

Unfortunately, due to cancer I have closed Birling Consulting Ltd. Thanks to all clients and colleagues for their support over the years. I will endeavour to maintain the website and guidance for some time as some of it, particularly controllability, is not available elsewhere and IMHO is the primary cause of poor building performance in many instances.

CIBSE SW Controllability The Achille's Heel of Building Performance?
Presentation for CIBSE SW 23-1-18 - This considers the implications of controllability on building performance and provides a few examples of issues and solutions
Controllability The Achilles Heel 22-1-1[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [2.4 MB]

November 2016: Controllability Reviews: 100% significant flaws


Recent controllability reviews have all shown significant flaws in system design and control strategies. These include biomass systems with poor hydraulic design and sizing, heating circuits with poor header design and chilled water systems with fundamentally poor efficiency. The chilled water systems do comply with the latest CIBSE Guide B, however, more efficient system design has been in use for decades.


One of the most concerning findings is the fundamental lack of understanding of sequence control systems. In many cases flow temperature sequence control was used where modulating gas fired boilers were also controlled on flow temperature via their inbuilt PID control loops. The sequence control will enable all the boilers but the individual boiler PID controls will unload the boilers on reducing demand before the sequence control, consequently the sequence control will be ineffective.


Where flow temperature sequence control is used for bivalent systems with biomass boilers, heat pumps or CHP in conjunction with gas fired boilers, the utilisation of the lead heat source will also often be compromised.


The above reviews included buildings which had not been accepted several years after completion, systems with biomass utilisation of 13% and buildings using nearly three times as much energy as predicted.


There are many other factors that can affect building performance, but an early controllability review costing a few hundred pounds can make a significant difference to building performance and in some cases could have avoided long drawn out and very expensive contractual disputes.


Needless to say none of the above reviews are to be published as case studies, but my offer is still open to undertake a limited number of ‘desktop’ controllability reviews for free if I can publish them.


September 2016: Free Controllability Reviews Limited Offer:
Please see attached offer for free and reduced price controllability reviews.
Building Performance - Controllability R[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [240.0 KB]
November 2015: Biomass Heating - Common problems and their resolution:
Please see attached paper addressing some of the common issues with biomass systems
Adobe Acrobat document [234.2 KB]
EEDAL 15 Tapping into energy and CO2 savings in EU households through the use of building automation technology
Paper by Paul Waide, Jim Ure & Nadia Karagianni, Graham Smith, Bill Bordass.
Adobe Acrobat document [732.9 KB]
CIBSE AM15 Biomass Heating
Graham was involved in the development of this application manual for over three years and is a contributing author with acknowledgement for his valuable input on controls and controllability of biomass heating installations.
CIBSE AM15 2014 Biomass heating.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [9.0 MB]

April 2014: Graham Smith is very pleased to advise he has been made a Fellow of CIBSE

CIBSE JOURNAL DECEMBER 2013 Multi Boiler Control
This considers traditional multi-boiler (sequence) controls and their limitations and highlights the advantages of heat load control.
Case Study Multi-boiler Controls - CIBS[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
Scope for energy and CO2 savings in the EU through building automation technology
Graham Smith was co-author with Paul Waide, Bill Bordass and Jim Ure. The report is wide ranging and considers many issues key to the success of commercial and domestic control/building automation systems and their future potential.
Adobe Acrobat document [3.2 MB]

CIBSE Journal December 2012 - Burning Issues The safe and efficient design of Biomass heating systems. Graham was one of the authors of this article in association with the other authors of CIBSE AM15.

CIBSE Journal December 2011 Taking Control
This primarily considers system controllability - which is why many systems and buildings do not work properly. The original title was Controllability - the Achilles' Heel? The printed article had a number of diagram reproduction errors and some captions that were not appropriate. These have now been corrected in the on-line version.
December 2011 _ Taking control - CIBSE J[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [4.8 MB]
REGEN SW/FOREST Bicton Event System Design : The design of Biomass systems
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