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Invest in building controls to reduce operational costs, says BCIA

The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is urging industry to invest in building controls at the design stage of a building in order to lower the overall operating costs in today’s commercial buildings.

The 10 80 10 concept represents the total lifetime costs of a building, whereby 10 percent of the cost of a building is invested at the construction stage; 80 percent is spent on operating the building and the remaining 10 percent 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.

A study from the Royal Academy of Engineering showed that for every £1 it costs to build, it will cost £5 to maintain and a further £200 to operate a building during its lifetime. However, too often the £1 spent in the construction phase is squeezed by value engineering and the potential maintenance and operational efficiency benefits are not realised. This is particularly evident in Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) where connected points are paired back, metering is removed or commissioning time is cut short.

The latest figures from the BCIA’s Market Information Services (MIS) revealed that a new record was set early this year of £654.8m for the total controls and BEMS market in the UK. This highlights a 0.3 percent increase in comparison to one year ago and outlines the impact that controls systems have in today’s buildings.

Therefore, building managers who utilise effective building controls at the design stage will considerably reduce the running and maintenance costs of a building while increasing energy efficiency and performance.

Jon Belfield, president of the BCIA, said: “The importance of an effective controls system being implemented at the design stage of a building cannot be underestimated. By investing more in building controls right from the start of construction projects, building user satisfaction will increase and the operational costs over the lifecycle of the building will be significantly reduced.”

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