January 2012

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In-house BAS Department?

What skills should an owner look for to better support their building systems especially controls and BAS?

Paul Ehrlich, Ira Goldschmidt & Angela Lewis
Building Intelligence Group

As published
Engineered Systems 
December Issue - Column

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A few weeks ago we received e-mail from a facility manager at a large community college, asking an intriguing question about the economics of creating an in house group of BAS technicians.  He went on to propose that this could be similar to an IT group, allowing for the college to find and retain qualified individuals offering them competitive salaries and providing centralized support. 

The question about the economics (i.e. ROI) of an in-house BAS department is a challenge and may be the topic of a future column or article.  But the more interesting question for this month is what skills should an owner look for to better support their building systems especially controls and BAS.

There are a series of skills required to properly manage a BAS.  These range from the ability to readily understand mechanical systems and to use the BAS as a tool for effective building management, to the ability to readily troubleshoot and program these systems.  Many believe that there is a minimal level of BAS expertise that every owner needs on staff; however, we would take this further and say that the majority of the facility management staff should have some amount of BAS expertise depending on their job description.  These would include:

Tier I:

Tier II:

contemporary Finally there is an advanced set of skills.  These are skills which owners may choose to provide in house, or they may rely on a servicing contractor to assist in providing them.  These include:

Tier III:

The skills in Tiers I and II are essential for any organization to have in house.  Those of Tier III are also essential but can be provided either contractually or internally.  Why are these skills so important?  Well, controls are a key element in achieving high performance building operations, and it is an element that needs to be applied daily in order to achieve this “high performance”.  Providing this level of attention has many benefits including reduced energy costs through improved efficiency, as well as improved support for the facilities mission including uptime, comfort and productivity.

About the Authors

Paul and IraPaul and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and Developers. More information can be found at www.buildingintelligencegroup.com  We also invite you to contact us directly at Paul@buildingintelligencegroup.com or ira@buildingintelligencegroup.com


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