Diversity of membership enhances BCIA’s technical knowledge

Since its formation in 1991 the BCIA has never stood still. Always evolving, the BCIA has continued to work with other organisations, such as BESA, ECA, CIBSE, BIFM, FETA, sharing and gaining knowledge as part of its overall aim to promote better understanding, application and use of building controls.

Part of what has added to the strength of the BCIA is the diversity of its membership. In the early days most members were controls manufacturers, but during his spell as Chairman Roger Woodward began to introduce system integrators into the BCIA, as he explains: “Some of the bigger companies were a bit set in their ways and took a while to accept the changes, but the whole industry has certainly changed and now about 75 per cent of the industry are system integrators and they have become the dominant force.”

Diversity is also evident in the different routes people have taken into the industry. This is well demonstrated by the three recent additions to the BCIA’s Management Committee. Simon Patman, for example, has almost 20 years of direct industry experience in various roles including design, engineering, project management and sales, while Stacey Lucas started out as a Customer Service Advisor and worked her way up to become Commercial and Marketing Director at Sontay. In contrast, Matt Brown has over 25 years’ experience as a Management Accountant and is relatively new to the building controls industry. Their respective backgrounds will, however, prove extremely valuable and will bring a fresh perspective to the work the Management Committee, and its sub-groups, the Marketing, Skills and Technical Working Groups, are involved in.

Work by the Technical Working Group goes towards helping members and those in the building controls and BEMS industry work more effectively by providing guidance on best practice. For example, the Technical Guide to control sensors, titled “Good Practice Guide – Control Sensor Selection and Installation”, sets out to describe good selection of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) sensors used in Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS).

A BEMS is only as good as the sensor used to measure the controlled variable (temperature, humidity, pressure etc.) and transmit it as a measured value to the controller. It is crucial that the sensor should provide an accurate measurement of the controlled variable at the reference point in the control loop. Failure to meet the desired conditions satisfactorily, can lead to poor control, energy wastage and occupant complaints. Traditional BEMS use hard wiring between sensors and controllers. Later technologies, such as wireless, internet based and SMART sensing technologies, are also set to play major roles in the built environment of the future and will no doubt provide even more discussion for the Working Groups.

All Technical Guides can be downloaded from the “Resources” section of the BCIA website.