The 5 key features of a BMS with top tips on how to optimise your system
Updated: Jun 9
A building management system offers many benefits for commercial use. Not only do the key features of a BMS allow you to control your internal systems from a central management point, but you can keep on top of data and energy consumption more easily for the entire building. If you’re looking for more information on what a building management system is or does at the core, then our previous blog explains that all for you.
However, things like equipment downtime, system visibility and security are all things we know you will be concerned about. This is when you should make sure you are optimising your system to its fullest potential. One way you can do this is by reading about the functions and capabilities of your building management system. Another is by talking to a professional engineer about how you can benefit the most. Once you understand the key features of a BMS, you can begin to customise it to your needs and preferences.
Building Management Systems and the IoT
The internet of things (IoT) is used to describe the connection of devices to the internet. It covers devices that can share data between each other and even be used for remote control. In its simplest form, we are talking about smartphones connecting to WiFi but with building management systems, a lot more goes on. Within your business or organization, you could have thousands of devices and tools that are automated and linked together to make daily running much simpler.
For example, the idea of a smart building is to streamline the functionality of a facility and analyse any incoming data. This information can then be used to automate certain tools and optimise them in correlation with how the building is used. As a result, you get a highly sophisticated management system that can tell you what needs to be changed or where certain levels should sit to best suit the occupants and the building itself. Your professional engineer can install and set it up so that little needs to be done manually to keep equipment running.
You may find many BMSs operate with proprietary systems. This can cause issues when you are connecting multiple aspects of building management and using it for automation or to oversee large areas. Those running on an open system allow you to fully personalise your control. Even if you have an old system, new security measures such as CCTV or entry control can be integrated without a problem.
The benefit of this is flexibility. You can control third party tools and products from the central point meaning you can add new functions or features as you please. Openness is often defined by a set of three criteria:
Interoperability - This is the system's ability to have multiple parts working together. One of the key features of a BMS is that different components can act upon each other. You can have access control linked to CCTV or heating control linked monitoring of indoor temperature. When these things can become a holistic process and be altered without manual intervention - you begin to see a smart building.
Engineering - How complicated is it to integrate? This will determine how much customisation is needed and as a result, how long it will take to programme. As its capabilities span widely beyond HVAC control, it is important that an open building management system can consume data and link multiple tools efficiently.
Who carries out installation - Are specialised skills needed to achieve the desired results and will an engineer be needed for service? While this doesn’t always determine openness, it is a crucial factor in the success of any building management system and achieving the best outcome. Utilising a specialist can ensure full optimisation is carried out.
We are aware that businesses expand and grow as time goes on and the needs of your building will change in consequence. Another of the key features of a BMS is its ability to adapt to these changes. This will prolong the life of your security features, HVAC and other integrated systems as they will be monitored closely and adjusted accordingly. Not only that, the system will pick up on faults or imminent problems that you may not have noticed otherwise. This can help mitigate simple issues before they become too much of a problem.
Furthermore, scalability allows for keeping up with the ever-changing technology and advances in building management systems. We recommend keeping up with servicing and software upgrades to ensure they run smoothly. Precision engineers and specialists can help you with this and offer advice on how to scale up your system when needed.
Remote Access & Security
It is unlikely that you will be around at all hours of the day to oversee every aspect of your building. This often means hiring new employees to manage security or monitor certain systems. As a result, you begin to see costs rise and not a lot of return in terms of efficiency. One of the key features of a BMS that can provide ease of use is its remote access availability. You or another manager can access and control the building from anywhere in the world.
With the ability to safely access your management system, you have peace of mind that employee information, building data and other automation is secure. Cloud-based data, predictive analytics and AI are also technologies that can be integrated into your BMS in order to give you the most comprehensive access. Your information will be stored where you can access it easily and monitor it to best suit your building.
Benefits of Analytics
While the key features of a BMS do encompass many of the capabilities you would need - analytics adds another layer of potential that can help in streamlining your building. Being able to analyse the complex web of devices means you have a comprehensive view of the entire works. This is the first part of taking meaningful steps to improve operations.
Optimised energy usage
Efficiency relies on the constant adjustments being made to the control systems. As a building changes and the needs of the occupants change, the adjustments being made are going to help keep it as efficient and sustainable as possible.
After exporting data, managers can begin to see trends in energy consumption and spot even the smallest fluctuations. This could result in many potential savings. Long-term usage of a BMS will see the most substantial change by implementing new strategies as patterns emerge.
Data acquisition not only benefits efficiency but can be used to improve or encourage the behaviour of occupants. Harnessing a two-way communication process means visual reminders could be implemented via the dashboard.
Remind employees to turn off lights or shut doors by letting them see the information being used by the BMS to alter energy usage. If they can see the impact being made, it will encourage them to make positive choices.
Potential Drawbacks & How to Overcome Them
Proprietary systems -
The benefit of flexibility is being able to search around for the best parts and engineers. This way you can make the best use of the key features of a BMS whilst staying within your budget.
Not only that, if you need repairs or maintenance done, a proprietary system limits you to the supplier that installed it for you. Meaning that any replacement parts or engineers would have to be employed and come from the same company. While you can be sure you’re getting the right components, it limits you geographically and financially.
To overcome this we would suggest opting for an open system. This way you can keep it running on your own terms. You won’t have the same restrictions, nor will you have to put up with expensive or low-quality vendors. Each year you could hire someone new to carry out services and you will even get more choice with personalisation.
Extensive research -
It does take time and effort to properly research the best provider for you. The factors of cost, capability and intelligence all play a part in finding the right BMS for you. If you don’t get these right the first time, you could be investing in a tool with limited features that does not cover your building extensively enough.
To overcome this, it is first important to understand your building needs. You should be familiar with operations and which systems will need to be managed. Then you can confidently approach suppliers and engineers to ask questions.
Ensure you find an experienced company. They will be more familiar with the different types of building management systems and be able to tell you which has the most advantages for your requirements.
Benefit from the key features of a BMS
When you invest in a building management system, you want to be sure you are utilising it as best you can. This is why prior research is so crucial. The right tools can help make your building more efficient and sustainable and once you hire the right people - it can be optimised to suit you perfectly.
A fully automated system will give you the freedom and security you need. For more information about building management or HVAC systems, get in touch with the Javelin Controls team. You can ring us on 07808 791998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your requirements and find a customised solution to suit your business needs.