JBC Controls — raising the level of customer-focused performance

CentraLine, JBC Controls, BMS, controls, systems integrator
Mark Wright, managing director of JBC Controls.

Based in its new premises in Atherton, Manchester, JBC Controls is one of the leading independent systems installers in the UK with an outstanding reputation for innovation, quality and delivery performance. With over 30 years’ experience, the core of its business philosophy is the absolute belief that meeting clients’ expectations has to be founded on rigorous internal processes designed to deliver project and service contracts on time and to specification.

A building management system (BMS), arguably the most complex system installed in a commercial building, controls or interfaces with all of a building’s mechanical, electrical and public-health services. To design an effective and efficient BMS, engineers must be capable of not only understanding the functionality of a building’s services but also translate it into a description of operation that can be programmed into the control and integration software.

Neil Griffiths, controls project director, says, ‘To ensure consistent quality, it is critical that we have both internal and external accountability. All our engineering practices must conform to a company-wide footprint of procedures and processes based on what we have developed over a long experience of delivering systems on time and to specification.

‘Systems Installers are fundamentally control engineers, and we, more than any other discipline, appreciate the importance of applying objective setting, communication and feedback to ensure our internal processes perform as well as the control systems we design. This analogy runs right through JBC Controls. We thoroughly understand that, like a control loop, our speed of response and accuracy of lead times is dependent on the efficiency of our systems and their reaction time to variations and change.’

JBC Controls and its sister company ATC of Belfast already had a strong commitment to using software-based internal procedure to optimise internal assets. This has been embedded into the ethos of both companies, which now have an integrated supply chain of control panels, installation and service. This ensures reduced lead times and increased market competitiveness.

Mark Wright, managing director explains, ‘JBC Controls is committed to growing its market share in the UK. We totally understand that market competitiveness is the key to growing our business — but not at the cost of quality, system performance and delivery. Our business philosophy is that price competitiveness is generated by adhering to the company’s engineering and project processes, which reduce our cost and can be passed onto our clients. Customer value can only be expressed by demonstrable economic savings at competitive prices based on solid attention to our own costs without a reduction in labour or material quality.

‘Critical to us delivering value to our customers is the ability to listen to their requirements and being able to offer independent systems using manufacturers suited to their specific needs. To this end we have partnered with what we believe are the industry’s leading manufacturers. This enables JBC Controls to offer a wide choice of system capability to match the specification and budget of our clients.

‘CentraLine by Honeywell is our partner of choice for Integration. We see the Hawk integration controller using the Niagara software framework as the market leader, particularly as interoperability using open protocols typically Modbus BACnet and MBus, is now becoming the industry standard. The incremental cost versus integration capability of the Hawk is ideally suited for the full complexity range of applications from the small boiler house to the large university campus.’

Building-management systems

In-house manufacturing by experienced panel builders is a key part of JBC Controls’ customer-focused capability

In-house manufacturing by experienced panel builders is a key part of JBC Controls’ customer-focused capability. The fully integrated working relationship with ATC allows economy of scale and provides a solid manufacturing base that can respond very quickly to customer demand. Control panels and motor-control centres (MCC) are designed to individual project requirements. This combination of the latest manufacturing technology and automated processes enables them to work with order to delivery times often within a working week.

The sales and estimating teams work closely together to ensure their design proposal matches the customer’s individual requirements. Each order is allocated a project manager who supervises the design, manufacture and installation of each system. Commissioning is carried out by JBC Controls’ nationwide team of engineers, who have been highly trained both in BMS engineering and on-site health and safety — including, for example, asbestos awareness and manual handling.

Neil Griffiths explains JBC Controls’ approach to project delivery: ‘The industry is looking for the ideal of a graduated handover to the client, sometimes called a “soft landing”.

‘JBC Controls firmly believes that a “soft landing” is dependent on a “soft take off”. Our management culture is that a successful implementation of a project starts from the first enquiry right through to the formal handover and acceptance by the client and end user.

‘To accomplish a soft take off we must not only listen carefully to the client’s engineering and logistical needs but also maintain a mutual dialogue as the project matures. There are few BMS installations that do not have changes and updates. It is vital that we understand and react to these variations and keep our customers updated on any resulting delivery implications.’

Servicing and maintenance

JBC Controls’ approach to maintenance is no different to its project work. The utilisation of customised management software maximises staffing resources to ensure a competitive service. Highly skilled engineers work with customers to understand their needs, explain how the BMS operates and suggest improvements to optimise performance and reduce running costs.

Jim Stothers, service director, explains, ‘JBC Controls and ATC regard maintenance and service as an integral part of a building management system and as important to continued performance as its control panel or software. After installation and commissioning, it is the service engineers who have the responsibility for maintaining the building management system and its relationship with the building user, who often do not fully appreciate the system in terms of the occupant’s environment and the potential for energy savings.

Water highlights in September

It is becoming more and more important that professionals who specify and fit water-services products have a thorough understanding of what is needed to prevent disease, scalding and contamination.

Honeywell will be present at two water focussed events this September.

The first is The Water Event on 16 and 17 September at the NEC, Birmingham. Our team of experts will be on hand to demonstrate temperature control, backflow-prevention products, pressure-reducing valves and back-flush water filters.

The second event is The 11th Annual Combating Legionella & Water Treatment Conference on 24 and 25 September at Aston Villa Park, Birmingham.

This conference is to ensure that the dangers of legionella bacteria and water-safety regulations are fully understood by both engineering and facilities-management teams. Honeywell will be exhibiting its range of controls used in water treatment and the prevention of legionella.   

‘However, successful service operations have to be built on software-based processes and procedures to give complete visibility of the work carried out by our engineers. Regular audits ensure we keep track of all unallocated and allocated work in progress, which is instantly available to management by mobile smart devices. We keep databases of all work carried out on individual buildings and maintain a historic trail, ensuring a full service history.

‘We are growing our business for both our own and third-party installations by tuning service-based software to match our model of delivering customer value at competitive rates by passing on our cost savings.

‘JBC Controls is ideally placed to provide a better service to new and existing customers.’

Mark Wright concludes: ‘JBC Controls is investing in systems, people and assets to provide a solid base of competency and competitiveness. We see an excellent future for both ourselves and our sister company ATC in being able to provide a fast turnaround in projects and a superb service facility based on skilled people and effective processes.

Jim Sword, sales manager for CentraLine by Honeywell comments,

‘JBC Controls has a long history as a well respected systems installer, with an excellent reputation in both building control engineering and service. We are particularly impressed by the systematic approach to project management and service using software-based management tools that they have customised to suit their business.

‘The adoption of the CentraLine Hawk as JBC Controls’ platform for integration will be a great addition to help grow both the systems and service businesses. We have a long experience of sister company ATC, and we are confident they will succeed in their growth plans for the UK.’

If you would like any further information please call CentraLine on 01344 656565 or visit the link below.


For more information on this story, click here: August 2014, 12
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