Building Management Systems


Building automation is the automatic centralized control of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and other systems of a building by means of a building management system or construction automation system (BAS). Building automation targets are improved occupant comfort, efficient operation of building systems, decreased energy usage and running costs and improved service life cycle.


Building automation is an example of a distributed control system – computer networking of electronic devices designed to track and regulate the building’s mechanical, electrical, fire and flood protection, lighting (especially emergency lighting), HVAC, and humidity control and ventilation.


BAS core functionality keeps building climate within a specified range, provides light to rooms based on an occupancy schedule (in the absence of overt switches to the contrary), monitors performance and device failures in all systems, and provides maintenance staff with malfunction alarms. A BAS would reduce the cost of building energy and maintenance compared to a building that is not regulated. The majority of commercial, residential, and industrial buildings designed after the year 2000 have a BAS. Many older buildings were retrofitted with a new BAS, usually funded by savings in energy and insurance, as well as other savings associated with preventive maintenance and identification of faults.


A BAS-controlled building is also referred to as a smart house, a smart apartment, or (if a residence) a smart home. In 2018, in Klaukkala, Finland, one of the world’s first smart houses was built in the form of a five-floor apartment block, using Kone’s Residential Flow solution created by KONE, allowing even a smartphone to act as a home key. Historically, commercial and industrial buildings relied on reliable protocols (such as BACnet) while proprietary protocols (such as X-10) were used in the homes.


Recent IEEE standards (notably IEEE 802.15.4, IEEE 1901 and IEEE 1905.1, IEEE 802.21, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.3at) and consortium efforts such as nVoy (which verifies compliance with IEEE 1905.1) or QIVICON have established a standard-based basis for heterogeneous networking of many devices across many physical networks for a variety of purposes, and guarantees of the quality of service and failover suitable for supplying Commercial, commercial, military, and other institutional users therefore often use systems that are often of a scale different from home systems.


Nearly all green multi-story buildings are built to meet the carbon, air, and water conservation characteristics of a BAS. The demand response of electrical devices is a typical function of a BAS, as is the more sophisticated ventilation and humidity monitoring required by “tighten” insulated buildings. Most green buildings also use the maximum number of low-power DC devices. Even a passive house design intended to consume no net energy whatsoever will typically require a BAS to manage the use of heat capture, shading, venting, and timing devices.

Automation system

The term broadly used building automation system refers to any electrical control device used to operate a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) device for buildings. Also, modern BAS can control indoor and outdoor lighting, as well as security, fire alarms, and basically everything else in the building that is electric. Old HVAC control systems, such as 24 V DC wired thermostats or pneumatic controls, are a form of automation but lack the versatility and functionality of the modern systems.

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