The Project Delivery Methods for Building Automation Systems (BAS) Are Broken — We’re Here to Help Fix It
If you’re wondering why the building automation system (BAS) you just installed doesn’t work correctly, it might be your project delivery method. In this article, we’ll take a look at common issues with BAS project delivery methods and how they might affect your results.
The Problem with BAS Project Delivery Methods
We’ve seen it time and time again — consultants, architects, engineering professionals, and contractors in constant competition for that precious resource: TIME. The endless competition for time requires a continuous cycle of triaging priorities.
Unfortunately, engineering consultants and contractors tend to focus on the most impactful items early in the project and give lower priority to the building automation scope. These impactful items tend to be larger physical components such as chillers, large AHUs, and major infrastructure items that come with high price tags and demand engineering priority upfront.
This approach focuses to the larger pieces of the puzzle, while the “glue” that holds the puzzle together — the BAS — often gets pushed aside to be dealt with later on.
The exhaustive nature of time and resources makes the notion that BAS scope can be dealt with later a dangerously counterintuitive proposition. Therein lies the problem: the BAS project delivery method delays focusing on BAS until it becomes a complex problem later in the project. By then, resources are depleted and time is no longer on your side.
How Problematic Is a Poor BAS Project Delivery Method?
One of the primary reasons the BAS project delivery method fails is a lack of collaboration and communication among project stakeholders. Those involved (including building owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and BAS vendors) work in silos without proper coordination. This fragmented approach leads to misalignment, delays, and costly rework.
The lack of comprehensive planning and clear definition of BAS requirements is another major issue with current project delivery methods. Vague or inadequately detailed project specifications often lead to ambiguity and conflicting interpretations. As a result, the delivered BAS may not meet the building owner’s expectations or perform optimally.
After installation and commissioning, another challenge arises: inadequate training and knowledge transfer. Building owners and facility management teams often receive minimal training on operating and maintaining the BAS, which limits their ability to leverage its full potential. This lack of knowledge can lead to underused system capabilities and difficulties in troubleshooting issues.
The Effects of Bad Project Delivery Methods
The challenges presented at the end of a project (due to lack proper alignment on BMS scope) cause headaches. Whether you’re the capital project manager, operations director, engineer, or contractor, everyone suffers. Issues we’ve seen include:
- Lengthy, drawn-out commissioning processes at the end of a project
- BAS items make up 90% of the commissioning issues log
- Project schedule delays
- Increased potential for change orders due to lack of clarity around BAS scope
- Deviations from owner standards due to rushed BAS scope
- Delays or challenges with balancing
- Alarms not working properly
- Trends not configured
- Excessive call backs to projects
- BAS communication issues causing critical system failures outages
Why Should You Change Your Project Delivery Method Now?
BAS plays an increasingly more important role in optimizing building system performance, improving energy efficiency, and delivering indoor air quality (IAQ). These aren’t the rudimentary systems of yesteryear. Network integration requirements, data collection issues, and energy dashboarding or metering needs require a dedicated focus in today’s climate.
Buildings of the future will require high-performing, properly engineered, and successfully delivered BAS in order to meet the challenges of increasing energy efficiency pressures and system performance needs.
“Energy efficiency” and “system performance” used to be industry buzz words, but today’s world has real financial implications tied to how a building performs. Your BAS is the central nervous system of the building and needs to work correctly to make the most of your building asset.
Benefits of Hiring a BAS-Focused Engineering Firm
The BAS project delivery method is indeed broken, but it can be fixed. BAS-focused firms like Enica Engineering are built to navigate this emerging and complex problem. We are your hedge against misalignment risks that can result in potentially serious short-term and long-term problems for your capital projects and operations teams.
Enica Engineering focuses solely on BAS scope. We emphasize collaboration and communication, define clear BAS project requirements, and provide comprehensive training to help ensure BAS implementations. Our goal is to deliver your desired outcomes and long-term benefits to you as the building owner.
We strive for a more efficient and effective approach to BAS project delivery that unlocks the full potential of building automation by creating sustainable and intelligent commercial buildings.