Trained engineers are vital when it comes to improving energy efficiency in today’s sophisticated commercial buildings. As we all know, the building controls sector is constantly evolving thanks to advancing technology. It is thanks to the many skilled engineers we have who are well-informed, innovative and methodical under pressure, that so many commercial buildings are sustainable and cost-effective.
Since technology isn’t standing still, we can’t afford to be complacent. This means offering continuous training to our engineers and to the wider industry, so that we remain one step ahead at all times.
This is particularly useful in relation to the 10 80 10 rule. For those of you who missed our previous blog and are not familiar with the concept, it represents the total lifetime costs of a building, whereby 10% of the costs of a building are invested at the construction stage; 80% is spent on operating the building and the remaining 10% is accounted for in dismantling and demolition. The majority of the operational budget is accounted for by the running of building services which includes air conditioning, heating, lighting and ventilation.
Why does this matter? Well the common reason this occurs is through a lack of understanding or awareness of well-engineered building controls systems and the positive impact they have on the though-life performance of a building. When there are short-term contracts, budgets and impending deadlines to meet,it is sometimes the building controls that get cut which has a significant impact on increasing the long-term operational running costs.
These long-term increased running costs far outweigh the short-term gains that were made at the outset by reducing a number of sensors and zones. By bearing in mind 10 80 10, it is easier to comprehend the need to spend more at the start of a building project in order to lower operational costs and make a Return on Investment (ROI). Let’s remember, the lifetime of a building may span tens of years.
Therefore, the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is urging the industry to consider the lifecycle of today’s commercial buildings from the beginning of the design phase. This is the best approach for a successful strategy over the long term.
Training is integral to achieving this. New people on all levels of the supply chain are joining the industry every day and it’s critical that everyone understands the long term merits and true value of effective building controls. The same goes for existing workers, sometimes it’s a case of changing the habits of a lifetime and thinking about the long game and overall vision.
We need the best training possible at the outset and the best trained engineers all the way through the life of the building to keep it on or above its optimum performance curve. Trained engineers can keep the building moving with changes in technology, using their knowledge and training to bring innovation to every level in the process from construction to through-life maintenance.
It goes without saying that the end user of a building needs a building which is sustainable, comfortable for occupants and cost-effective throughout its entire lifetime. By taking into account the 10 80 10 rule and placing more importance on using effective building control systems and the abilities of the Control Engineers from the outset – this will make a significant difference in reducing the overall running costs of a building.
As a way to address this to the wider industry, the BCIA offers accessible training to help those new or experienced within the sector to get up to date with the fast changing and dynamic world of building controls. There is an introductory module for those who do not need to gather the full technical detail of building controls, while the remaining modules cover a wide variety of content aimed at all levels on the ladder.
We must never stop learning – this is an industry that is continually evolving and therefore we must not remain static. Embracing training will ensure that we achieve our goal and our responsibility of ensuring that we lower operational costs in commercial buildings.