January 2005
Interview
AutomatedBuildings.com

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EMAIL INTERVIEW -  Tom Lohner & Ken Sinclair

Thomas J. Lohner, P.E., Vice President, TENG Solutions

Mr. Lohner has 23 years of experience in building systems engineering and building technology. He has designed and managed a diverse segment of project types including corporate/office, health care, telecommunications, and cultural facilities for both private and public clients. Tom specializes in all aspects of building mechanical systems design and operation. His knowledge of mechanical and electrical system design coupled with building technology (Information Technology, Controls, etc.) have enabled him to solve challenging problems in the areas of indoor air quality, energy management and system integration. Mr. Lohner is registered professional engineer in 10 states and holds a Masters Degree in Building Energy Engineering from the University of Colorado. Currently, Mr. Lohner is Branch Manager for Teng's office located in Glen Allen, Virginia and is a managing principal for all Teng Solutions projects nationally. Tom is also Chair of CABA's Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Council as well as Chair of the Intelligent Building Ranking System Task Force.


Intelligent Building Ranking System Request for Proposal

Sinclair:  What exactly is the Intelligent Building Ranking System all about?

Lohner:  In order to do this response justice, a little back ground on the Integrated and Intelligent Building Council (IIBC) is in order. The IIBC was formed in 2002 as a direct result of the Technology Roadmap for Intelligent Buildings, a project funded by a number of Canadian government departments and managed by CABA.  There were a number of barriers to the growth of the building automation industry addressed in the TRM and CABA decided to form a council of its' members to help address some of these issues.  The IIBC started with a core group of about 15 members who had been on the steering committee for the TRM.  There are now over 150 IIBC members working in 5 Task Forces.

Task Force No. 1 is focused on developing an Intelligent Building Ranking System (which we have called a BIQ –for Building Intelligence Quotient).  The task force has developed the framework for an Intelligent Building Ranking Tool over the last year and is ready to solicit proposals from interested technology companies.

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Sinclair:  Can you give me a quick description of the work done to date on the Task Force 1 – Intelligent Building Ranking System?

Lohner:  The IB Ranking System will be an online tool intended to assist building owners/managers, the commercial real estate industry and other industry stakeholders assess the level of integrated systems within a building (i.e., develop a BIQ).  A comprehensive list of intelligent building criteria has been developed as well as a “ranking matrix”.  An IB ranking workshop was held in Dallas this past year in conjunction with the BuilConn conference to review and refine the ranking matrix.  This matrix and the various Intelligent Building functional areas now will form the basis for a comprehensive ranking tool.  The task force has recently completed the development of a formal request for proposal and is ready to engage the services of a qualified contractor.    

Sinclair:  What Specific Contractor Qualifications is the Task Force looking for? 

Lohner:  The ideal contractor would be an active player in the Intelligent Building industry and have a good understanding of the various functional areas that comprise an Intelligent Building.  Design and build experience in most of the functional areas would be helpful. The main functional areas for an Intelligent Building include:

  1.  Communications Systems

  2.  Automation and Security Systems

  3. Facility Management Applications  

In addition, the contractor should be very versed in the web development, databases and the creation of statistical based numerical models.  Ranking tools that have been developed by other industries but that are similar to what the Task Force is looking for include; Green Globes and BREEN ranking tool.

We are suggesting that contractors who are interested in responding to the RFP but may not have all of the expertise required sub-contract with other companies to provide a complete solution.

Sinclair:  What are the some of the Highlights of the RFP?

Lohner:  The RFP will be advertised starting January 15, 2005 and we hope to have a contract awarded by February 15th.  One of the major milestones will be the second Intelligent Building Ranking Workshop to be held in June in conjunction with the REALCOMM conference in Anaheim, CA.  The contractor will be responsible to host this event and we are looking for industry stakeholders to help develop the material for this workshop.  The results of the workshop will be used in the statistical ranking model that will form the basis of the tool.  The contractor will also be required to demonstrate the web user interface and content presentation at the CABA exhibit booth. 

Any industry technology provider that represents one of the major functional areas should be present for the workshop to make sure that the attendees have the correct understanding of the value and importance of their technology – relative to the other functional groups.  This is their one chance to influence the vote casters.

We are asking the contractor to complete the ranking tool development and host the finished product on the web by September 15th, 2005.

Control Solutions, Inc Sinclair:  Will the use of the Ranking Tool cost anything or will it be free of charge?

Lohner:  The original concept agreed to by the Task Force was that the tool would be free and used widely by anyone desiring to learn more about Intelligent Building technologies.  Although the IIBC has been successful in raising funds for the 5 task forces for 2005, at this point in time we are not able to completely fund the ranking tool development.  As part of the RFP, the Task Force is soliciting alternative funding sources to permit the tool to remain free of charge (like web page advertising, etc.).  We will continue to look for industry sponsorship for all of the IIBC activities to ensure that we can provide a free service to the industry.  We have recently received confirmation that Siemens Building Technologies has become our first industry sponsor, joining some government department sponsors, and we have received verbal commitment for additional industry funding after the beginning of the new fiscal year. Industry has been very supportive of the work of the IIBC and we are confident that we will be able to provide a free tool.    

Sinclair:  How will the tool be updated and amended to reflect the ever changing world of Information Technology?

Lohner:  The Task Force will continue to exist as a steering committee that reviews new technologies and continues to adopt new approaches and advancements in building technology.  We hope that the industry will provide continual feedback to the ranking tool administrator to improve the content and informational sections so that the tool can be used as a learning forum as well.  We see the actual ‘BIQ’ numerical ranking as an ever escalating value that increases as new technologies and systems are adopted into the ranking tool, thus raising the benchmark for the industry. 

Sinclair:  I wish the Task Force good luck in identifying qualified contractors to submit proposals for this project.   How can the industry participate in this exciting Task Force and/or submit on the proposal?

Lohner:  Thank you Ken, for giving us the opportunity to describe the request for proposal to your readers.  The RFP will be hosted on the CABA web site.  If anyone has any questions or comments, they can contact Kirk McElwain McElwain (kirkatcaba@sympatico.ca) or go to the IIBC web page at http://www.caba.org/councils/com_intelli.html. Anyone not interested in submitting on the RFP is encouraged to participate in the Task Force and help advance the industry knowledge and valuation of building technology.

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