What exactly is a building management system and what does it do?

A building management system (BMS) could be described as a computer-based control system that is installed in a building to control and monitor the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment. This can include controlling individual systems such as heating and ventilation, water and power. Many people don’t even realise their building has a BMS system in place but this if often a sign of a system operating effectively. The BMS works behind the scenes to ensure that a building is automatically controlled to provide the required level of heating or cooling at different times of the day as required.

The system is usually composed of multiple different devices such as sensors and valves and controls pumps, fans, AC and boilers etc… keeping the environment within the building at a comfortable temperature. It can protect your building from fire or flood by shutting down and activating devices and plant quickly as it sees problems arising.

Each of the different devices send back information to the local controller within the local panels. The controller can then send out the required signal to the plant to ensure the system is running according to the building design. All this information is funnelled back to a head end computer which then visually displays the system to in house facilities management team who can monitor or change settings as required. This system shows any issues and allows them to act quickly to rectify any potential problems by raising an alarm in the event of a problem.

BMS systems can save you money! By automating the system, it will ensure a more efficient management of your electrical equipment, as the systems will now be working at their optimum ability. This way, you will also make savings on repair, maintenance, and servicing costs. While the cost of installing the BMS is rather high, you can compensate by making significant energy savings as a result.

Ian Lewis