Keeping a building secure, efficient, and fully operational has always been a top priority, but it hasn’t always been easy or cost efficient. These days, intelligent systems in the form of building management systems (BMSs) have almost completely taken over, using hardware and software to make the lives of building managers easier while reducing costs.
But if you’re shopping around for a new building management system, you might be overwhelmed with the options. There are countless types of building management systems available, and most of them can be customized to some extent. What are the most important building management system features to have? And how should you consider them when planning your purchase and installation?
Modern building management systems (BMSs) are sometimes referred to as building automation systems (BASs) because they automate many of your building management responsibilities. They consolidate controls and analytics for a wide variety of building functions in one place, from managing elevator operations to providing safeguards against specific risks like fires. Using intelligent devices and applications with intuitive user interfaces, building managers and administrators can easily tap into an internal system to control, evaluate, and improve it.
The goals of a BMS include:
- Save money. While installing a BMS can be costly, it’s an investment that pays off in the long run. With tighter controls and greater transparency, you can reduce utility and operational costs while preventing or mitigating some of the biggest threats to your building.
- Improve efficiency. Your BMS can improve the efficiency of your building. This is beneficial not just for reducing your utility bills, but also improving sustainability and boosting your brand’s reputation.
- Increase convenience. Managing the internal systems of your building one by one is a major hassle. But when you control all of these systems in one centralized location, even in the form of a mobile app, everything becomes much more convenient.
- Maintain security and safety. Sophisticated BMSs generally improve the security of your building, giving peace of mind to everyone who frequents it.
What are the must-have building management system features? From a high level, your BMS should provide at least the following:
- Monitoring and transparency. Your BMS should include fully transparent monitoring, allowing you to tap into a system to see what’s going on. From monitoring activity via CCTV to observing HVAC performance, you can understand what’s happening in your building at all times.
- Issue detection. A modern BMS should also offer fully automated issue detection, alerting you to anything that might go wrong within your building. If there’s a water leak, you’ll immediately know about it. If a fire breaks out, all of the alarms will be triggered. Even minor issues, like changes in your heating system’s performance, can trigger an alert.
- Automated operation. One of the greatest benefits of a BMS is its ability to automate what used to be manual work. Accordingly, your BMS should include at least some automation features. This leads to increased consistency, fewer errors, and reduced labor costs, so the more automation features you can use, the better.
- Mobile access. Most BMSs have at least one centralized control device that’s accessible to anyone with authorization. However, it’s also important to have mobile access. This way, you can pull up a mobile app to evaluate the performance of your building’s internal systems or address alerts.
- Communication logs. You’ll probably be using your BMS together with a team of people, so it’s important to have an internal communication feature, as well as logs to help you track these communications. You may even be able to assign tasks within the BMS itself.
- Secure access. If an unauthorized party gains access to your BMS, it could be a security disaster. That’s why it’s important for your BMS to also have advanced security features to keep your building and its occupants safe.
- Comprehensive analytics and reporting. Most BMSs come with advanced analytics and reporting features, allowing you to fully customize and automate records while giving you all the data transparency you’ve ever wanted.
These core functionalities should be applied to a wide variety of internal systems, such as:
- Lighting. From a single location, you can coordinate the lighting throughout the entire building. Lighting retrofits can help you save energy while making sure every location is properly illuminated.
- Fire alarms and firefighting systems. According to the National Fire Protection Association, structure fires cause more than $7 billion in direct damage every year. But with advanced fire alarms and proactive firefighting systems in place, you can mitigate the potential damage to your building.
- Security and CCTV systems. It’s important to have secure control of your building at all times, inside and out. That’s why most BMSs have CCTV footage, access to locking mechanisms, and many more advanced security features.
- Elevator controls. Your BMS may also be able to access and control elevators remotely.
- Water tanks, plumbing, and irrigation. You can monitor and control your entire plumbing system, including managing water tanks and getting alerts about leaks before they spiral out of control.
- HVAC systems. Using a BMS, you can maintain tight control of your building’s heating and cooling elements.
- Electrical usage. You should also be able to monitor and control electricity usage within the building.
Interested in installing an intelligent BMS for your building? Or are you ready to upgrade your current building management system? Frazier Service can help. Whether you’re interested in maximizing energy efficiency, improving security, or something else entirely, we can help you plan and integrate the perfect system for your needs. Contact us for more information today!