- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 02 Apr 2019
Building management systems BMS
Building services are systems installed in buildings to make them comfortable, functional, efficient and safe. They can be controlled by simple mechanisms such as manual switching, clocks or detectors such as thermostats or motion detectors, or they can be controlled by more complex building management systems (BMS).
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
- Fire, smoke detection and alarms.
- Motion detectors, CCTV, security and access control.
- ICT systems.
- Industrial processes or equipment.
- Shading devices.
- Smart meters.
NB: The phrase Building Energy Management Systems is sometimes used interchangeably with Building Management Systems (BMS), however, strictly speaking, Building Management Systems can be used to monitor and control a wide range of building systems whereas Building Energy Management Systems relate specifically to energy-related systems such as HVAC, lighting and power systems.
Building management systems help building managers understand how buildings are operating and allow them to control and adjust systems to optimise their performance. As well as collating data and allowing ease of control, BMS can help; visualise data, automatically generate reports and create alarms and alerts when parameters are exceeded, failures occur, or with prognostic systems, when failures are likely to occur. They can also allow comparison between spaces, buildings and benchmark data.
Intelligent building management systems bring together information and controls relating to a number of different systems operating using a range of different software applications and allow them to be controlled form single interface. This makes monitoring and analysis more straightforward and comprehensive and allows information from one system to influence the controls for another.
The effectiveness of BMS will depend on the range and quality of the information it receives from sensors and the programming of how this information is used. For example, information about external and internal conditions can be used to determine the level of heating required so that plant can be activated and a building pre-heated before occupants arrive.
Historically, BMS has been associated with large commercial buildings, however as equipment has become easier to control, monitoring and detection has become less expensive, and wireless technology has become available, buildings of all sizes are having increasingly complex control systems installed. This can for example allow home owners to connect to their home and switch on devices such as lights and heating before they arrive. See internet of things and smart buildings for more information.
BMS can help:
- Give better control of systems and conditions.
- Data gathering and report generation.
- Increased productivity.
- Allow better informed response to complaints.
- Allow allocation of operating costs within a business or to tenants.
- Allow more targeted use of resources for replacement and maintenance of equipment.
- Early detection of issues.
- Reduced operating costs and carbon emissions.
- Improved equipment life.
- Improve safety.
Building management systems may now be integrated with building information models (BIM) to allow performance in use to be compared with design criteria and design simulations. This can help identify potential problems in operation or design and can help validate modelling techniques. Building information models might also include information about the operation and maintenance of building components.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Air conditioning.
- Air handling unit.
- Big data.
- Building Automation and Control System BACS.
- Building energy efficiency - is building automation the answer?
- Building energy management systems.
- Building energy management systems (BEMS) for data centres.
- Building engineering physics.
- Building services.
- Building services engineer.
- Commercial building automation market.
- Cyber threats to building automation and control systems.
- Data centres.
- Electrical control systems.
- Energy management and building controls.
- Fan coil unit.
- Global building energy management systems market.
- Intelligent building management systems IBMS.
- Internet of things.
- Mechanical and electrical.
- Mechanical, electrical and plumbing MEP.
- Mechanical ventilation.
- Parking reservation systems.
- Passive building design.
- Plant room.
- Solar gain.
- Smart buildings.
- Smart meter.
- Smart meter owners report higher, not lower, bills.
- Types of alarm.
- Wireless vs wired building energy management system.
Featured articles and news
Achieving sustainable roads funding in England.
Your chance to comment on the draft BS 851188 - flood resistance products and flood protection products.
Rebuilding could take 20 to 40 years.
RSHP’s high-rise residential towers win a tall buildings award for excellence.
BSRIA study reveals strong growth in 2018.
Dame Judith Hackitt confirmed as keynote speaker – one year on from the Hackitt Report.
Save £100 on tickets.
Modern slavery in the construction sector.
What to bear in mind when claiming damages in construction.
How do we achieve sustainable clean-water infrastructure for all?
What you should know when appointing an architect.
A brief history plus some new developments.
How computational fluid dynamics (CFD) helps building design.