Knowledge is power

Terry Sharp explains how a little background understanding of building controls can go a long way in helping facilities managers run their buildings more efficiently.

Efficient building management has certainly taken on more interest as well as importance in a post-COVID world, as the UK strives to reduce its carbon footprint. If we are to be better prepared for similar instances in the future then a better understanding of how buildings operate would be hugely beneficial for us all, particularly for those who work with buildings on a regular basis. A lot of the technology that goes into buildings is advanced and complex and requires qualified engineers to install it. However, many people whose job it is to manage and maintain buildings could really benefit from having a basic knowledge of what they are working with.

We are therefore encouraging trades personnel and anyone who is regularly involved with building management to improve their understanding of building controls with the introductory BCM00 course, which provides full coverage of day-to-day involvement in building controls and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), but at a level that does not focus on the technical detail. The BCM00 course, entitled ‘Introduction to Building Controls and HVAC’, is a one-day introductory course aimed at those who do not require the full technical detail of the building controls courses BCM01-BCM06, or who are new to this area of the industry.

By taking this course, facilities managers and estates managers, electricians and other building services trades personnel can all become more informed in this sphere of work as well as highlighting their status within the sector. Anyone who successfully completes the BCM00 exam is eligible to apply for the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) Building Controls Associate card, provided the applicant has also completed an ECS Electrical Safety Unit Assessment and a current ECS Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Assessment. A Building Controls Associate will typically be active in a support role as part of a team of Building Controls Engineers.

Something else we all got very accustomed to during lockdown is restricted travel, and rather than holding meetings together in person we conducted them online through the various programmes and apps available. This practice of working remotely has extended to

the BCIA’s BCM course exams and the ECS HSE Assessment, which can now be taken online using the Remote Invigilation service on the ECS website, allowing delegates to take a formal ECS assessment without having to travel to a centre.

The past year or so has been a real eye opener to how industries such as ours can adapt in difficult circumstances. Taking on new skills and broadening our knowledge as individuals can go a long way to ensuring we are even more prepared in the future.