A Building Management System (BMS) or Building Automation and Control System (BACS) is a system that manages and monitors all building systems, including the electrical system, HVAC system, renewable energy production, and electricity and gas meters.
What is an integrated building management system (iBMS)?
More recently, integrated building management systems (iBMS) have emerged. Like a BMS, they centralise all building systems, but extend this integration to the entire building environment. Therefore, they also include access control, video surveillance and fire prevention systems, among others.
By centralising all the systems, both a BMS and an iBMS facilitate the management of the building and become a single point of control for the entire building. That is why most new buildings are already built with a building automation control system and, from 2025, it will become mandatory throughout the European Union.
⚠️ Is it mandatory to have a BMS/ BACS in the UK?
By 2025, BACS systems will become mandatory throughout the European Union. In the UK it is currently no requirement, although the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recommends them for buildings whose effective output is over 290 kW.
How do building automation systems work?
Typically, integrated building management systems (iBMS) or building automation systems (BAS) break down into 5 components that interact with each other and form the “system”.
The first component is the information collection points. These can be sensors that measure the humidity, temperature, light, and occupancy of the room; fire or carbon monoxide detectors; or energy meters.
This information is transmitted to the “controllers” – the brains of the operation. Depending on the information they receive, they send commands to all the systems that are connected, such as the HVAC system, lamps, air purifiers, etc. Then the “output devices” carry out the commands.
Communication between all the components is done using a specific language (communication protocols), such as the BACnet protocol. Finally, there is a dashboard from which operators and managers can access information and make adjustments manually.
Examples of automated building management:
- HVAC. Thanks to IoT sensors, HVAC settings can be automatically adjusted to save energy and provide maximum comfort.
- Lighting. An automation system manages the building’s lighting based on occupancy and daily sunlight hours.
- Air purification. The system controls ventilation based on measurements, which is more efficient than human control.
What are the benefits of using a BMS?
To begin with, the correct use of a BMS reduces energy consumption by 30%, according to the “Building Management System Market Forecast to 2023“. In addition, building automation saves on preventive maintenance. So, while the average cost of a building management system is still high, the investment is recouped in just 3-8 years.
However, reducing energy consumption and expenditure are not the only benefits of using a building management system. Building management technology also allows for an increase in occupant comfort, lower carbon footprint, and increased technical efficiency.
A building without a building management system uses 10-30% more energy than a similar building with a BMS.
Building management automation allows better control of room temperature and other air quality indicators in real time.
Centralising all information allows assets to be better managed and monitored, which reduces reactive maintenance.
Smart buildings are more sustainable and more efficient than conventional buildings. This reduces your company’s environmental impact.
However, savings are not the only reason why a BMS, iBMS, or BAS is important for facility managers, owners, and users:
- A BMS allows facility managers to understand where and how they are wasting energy;
- A BMS helps extend the life of assets, which improves ROI for owners;
- For highly complex buildings, such as hospitals or refineries, a BMS promotes optimal working conditions and offers improved safety.
Is building management software and building management system the same?
The terms “Building Management System” and “Building Management Software” are often used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. A building management system is, as we saw, a computer-based control system installed in buildings that manages and monitors various building systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, and security systems.
On the other hand, building management software is the software component of the BMS that provides the user interface for monitoring and controlling the building systems. BMS software typically includes features such as data visualisation, reporting, scheduling, and alarms.
Therefore, the BMS is the entire system that includes the hardware and software components, while the BMS software is only a part of the BMS that provides the user interface for managing and controlling the building systems. So, they are not the same, but they are related to each other.
📝 You may also like: 10 best building maintenance software
The anatomy of smart buildings
The technical aspects of building management include:
- Fire systems
- IoT sensors
- Motion sensors and security
- Other machinery and equipment
For example, data IoT-enabled devices can be pulled into building management software, which streamlines reactive maintenance scheduling and condition monitoring.
Specifically, predictive and preventive maintenance requires timely data, which next-gen building management software delivers. We can categorise these functions as “hard facility management.”
Then, we have “soft facility management,” which combines elements of the building’s ‘front end’, like landscaping, cleaning, etc.
It’s a lot to consider – which is why holistic platforms like Infraspeak combine all aspects of building management into a single collaborative platform.
The need for a Building Management System
Building Management System is designed to automate and streamline maintenance, energy usage, security, and asset management.
Streamline your operations
Implementing BMS improves the overall efficiency and effectiveness of buildings and their assets.
For example, Fernando Martins Ltd. used the Infraspeak platform to streamline operations across 7000 assets and 674 buildings, unlocking a competitive edge which helped them forge better client relationships.
Enhance your security and safety
Meeting high demands for safety and security requires a form of centralised management.
This is particularly important for high-risk buildings or facilities like hospitals, manufacturing plants, refineries, etc. Maintaining a record of activities is a legal requirement in many cases.
BMS centralises safety and security processes, providing enhanced trust and assurance. Building managers can reduce risks and quickly respond to emergencies by monitoring access and detecting and responding to alarms. Boosting safety credentials provides assurance to building occupiers, employees and clients.
Reduce your energy usage
Energy reduction in the commercial buildings sector is a top priority. Building Management Software reduces energy usage and costs by automating control of HVACs, lights, etc.
Analyse your data from centralised dashboards and make informed decisions to improve efficiency.
Automation is an effective method of improving energy efficiency. For instance, by automating control of assets like HVACs, BMS helps cut energy consumption by 10 to 30%.
Automate your reporting
Building Management Software enables the creation of accurate and detailed reports on your facility’s operations.
Automating administrative tasks saves a lot of time – Infraspeak client AvacPiquet saved 8 hours of maintenance and asset management admin a day after implementing our solutions.
By tracking and analysing data, managers can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about their facility’s maintenance and operations.
Maintenance automation is central to the building management process.
For instance, predictive maintenance is proven to reduce maintenance costs by 18 to 25% and extends asset lifetime by some 20%. BMS reduces reactive maintenance and enables modern predictive and preventive maintenance scheduling.
Types of Building Management Software
There are various types of building management software, each designed for specific tasks or operations. Some of the most common types are:
Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS)
A CMMS is designed to manage and schedule maintenance activities, track inventory, and monitor work orders.
It’s focused on centralising maintenance data across physical equipment, machinery, communications, infrastructures, and other technical assets.
Building Automation System (BAS)
A BAS is a software and hardware system that monitors buildings’ mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
It typically comprises energy metres, IoT sensors that measure environmental conditions, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, etc.
Sensors feed this data to a centralised dashboard for analysis and control.
Energy Management System (EMS)
An EMS manages and optimises a building’s energy usage by tracking consumption, identifying wastage, and automating energy-saving measures.
For example, the software could shut off lights, HVAC units and heaters when no one is present in a room or building to save energy.
What is the best Building Maintenance Software?
Building and facilities management has become increasingly complex, ushering forth holistic tools that handle multiple challenges from one centralised platform.
Infraspeak’s Intelligent Maintenance Management Platform (IMMP) is built with the future of building maintenance in mind, going beyond compartmentalised software systems to offer the all-in-one solution building managers need.
Our IMMP differentiates from the competition by combining the practical functions of a BMS with AI-powered insights and analysis. Intuitive dashboards enable managers to view their data with minimal friction or hassle.
Infraspeak’s IMMP is ready for the future of building management and maintenance.
Learn how Infraspeak can help you by scheduling a free product tour with one of our specialists today.