Setting standards for the industry

p12settingBy Steve Harrison, President of the Building Controls Industry Association

Many sectors in construction have called for greater recognition of their significance by other professionals in the industry. We all want to have our say at the earliest stage, and to ensure that we are allotted both the appropriate payment for and the time to do our jobs well.

The controls sector is no different. The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) believes that controls experts can bring a great deal of knowledge and expertise to projects, which can help to create more comfortable, productive and energy efficient buildings.

But we have also asked ourselves what can we as the controls sector do to show that we are committed to high standards in our work? It’s all very well to ask for recognition, but what can we do to earn it? These are questions that the BCIA considers important, and that our members are keen to answer through action.

Firstly, the BCIA has committed to high standards of training in our sector. As well as launching the NVQ Diploma in Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS), the Association is now updating its own Technical Training Courses. It is a significant piece of work, but the BCIA wants to ensure that what operatives learn on the courses will be relevant to them and helpful to their customers.

Furthermore, the BCIA is looking to use its Building Controls Professional Assessment (BCPA) as a means to allow skilled operatives in our sector to demonstrate their skills. The BCPA has been developed as an Assessment of Occupational Competence unit for the NVQ Diploma, but will also be available to senior operatives and their employers to use as an assessment of skill and knowledge.

Beyond its own membership, the BCIA is also looking to raise standards for the end-users of building controls and BEMS. We want to do this by helping them to better understand what building controls contribute to energy efficiency in buildings. The Association is doing this in a very practical way, by working with the European Building Automation Controls Association (Eubac) to introduce its eubac.System Assessment scheme to the UK.

Eubac.System is delivered by accredited assessors and is aimed at providing a picture of what a BEMS contributes to energy efficiency at a given time, and also shows how improvements might be made. The assessment not only demonstrates what is happening now, but also gives building owners a clear picture of payback for investment in BEMS. The eubac.System assessment is designed to be regularly updated, to encourage good maintenance practice.

The BCIA is supporting Eubac by offering the specialised training for Assessors, and will be working to show how this new standard in assessment can support long term energy efficient operation of buildings.

By raising standards for ourselves and in the way we help customers with practical insights, the controls industry aims to gain greater recognition from its fellow professionals in constructions.

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