Closing the performance gap

Published:  05 August, 2015

Only 25% of buildings have any sort of credible controls system

In the July issue of Modern Building Services editor Ken Sharpe’s column was a welcome note, when he highlighted that only 25 per cent of buildings currently have any sort of credible controls system.

It seems an incredibly low figure when you consider that the operation and maintenance of a building accounts for 80 per cent of its whole-life costs.

It is little wonder that buildings suffer from such a vast gap between the forecast energy performance of a building and what actually happens when it is handed over, occupied and up and running.

Later on in July’s issue, Andy Sneyd of B&ES make a wholly justified attack on the role ‘cut and paste’ specification plays in this shortfall between intended performance levels and the reality.

That is why BSRIA’s Model Format for Building Services Specifications is a welcome remedy to this sickness affecting specification. As Sneyd says: “It is designed to be simple and easy to follow so that clients can see clearly what they are signing up for and refer back to and various stages of the project and post-handover.”

And it is not the only tool on hand to help. Where controls are concerned, much work is needed to raise that 25 per cent figure flagged up in this month’s editorial.

That is where the British and European Standard BS EN 15232 Energy performance of buildings. Impact of Building Automation, Controls and Building Management can prove its worth. Using the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive as its base, it provides clear calculations for the impact different levels of control can have on a whole range of buildings.

This enables everyone along the supply chain to see early on the difference a well-thought out controls plan can have on the energy performance of a building.

Both the new Specification guide from BSRIA and BS EN15232 are results of collaborative industry thinking to improve the way building services should be chosen, designed and operated.

And they make the closure of that performance gap an achievable goal.

Karen Fletcher is Director of Keystone Communications

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