Net gains

BCIA President Graeme Rees discusses Government changes, industry trends and some tough decision-making for the BCIA Awards.

In a significant move in February the Prime Minister announced the disbandment of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of his cabinet reshuffle. Since the United Kingdom left the European Union, the department for BEIS has been responsible for setting the environmental, Net Zero and sustainable goals for the future. In its place, three new departments have been established; the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero; the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology; the Department for Business and Trade. It is my belief that with a renewed focus on Net Zero, it will bring about a clearer strategy for positive environmental change.

I am optimistic that the new Government departments will help galvanise investment in Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) and present an opportunity to illustrate the huge contribution building controls can make. The BCIA’s recent Market Information Service report for the full year in 2022 saw the highest set of figures recorded to date, and revealed some very encouraging data for the building controls industry and the opportunities are undoubtedly there for us to build on our position of strength.

Delivering genuine value

One of the BCIA’s objectives is to raise the awareness of building controls in communities beyond the traditional space. There is a value proposition for a huge range of players in this market, including facilities management providers and mechanical contractors, such that the data provided by buildings does deliver genuine value when structured, presented and used appropriately.

Data in buildings provides a constant source of learning. The systems available now, with remote connectivity and analytical tools, can be checked thousands of times in one hour, whereas years ago they would perhaps be checked annually by one person with a toolbag. Data analytical tools give us the advantage of being able to monitor what is happening and predict maintenance requirements before they cause a serious disruption.

Ahead of the curve

Retailers were initially ahead of the curve in using data to their advantage because retail science is all based on data. Where are people spending most money? Which area of a shop has the highest footfall? In office buildings data can now tell us where footfall is concentrated in particular areas and which areas of the building are less busy, and this is where data analysis begins to pay for itself – and more! I have heard it suggested that for every pound that is spent on energy in a building, £10 will be spent on the equipment over the lifecycle of the building, but £100 is spent on the staffing, operations and productivity of the business. This comes from a “serve the people, not the building” approach, but if we serve the building correctly we can also serve the people and much more cost efficiently too.

May the fourth be with you

You have hopefully already seen the shortlisted finalists for this year’s BCIA Awards. The BCIA would like to thank everyone who took the time to enter and gave the judges plenty to think about once again such was the quality of entries this year. To see the examples of innovation and talented people leading the way in building controls gives me great pride to be a part of this sector and I look forward to joining many of my industry colleagues at the Awards ceremony and dinner on 4th May and finding out who the winners are. It promises to be another spectacular evening.