What Is A BMS System?


Building management systems BMS


Building services are building systems that are designed to make them comfortable, usable, efficient and safe. These can be operated by basic mechanisms such as manual switching, clocks or detectors such as thermostats or motion detectors, or by more sophisticated building management systems (BMS).


Building management systems are computer-based systems used for tracking and managing construction facilities like:


  • Lighting.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
  • Fire, smoke detection and alarms.
  • Motion detectors, CCTV, security and access control.
  • ICT systems.
  • Lifts.
  • Industrial processes or equipment.
  • Shading devices.
  • Smart meters.


They may also be used to monitor and control power distribution, energy consumption and uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) and may be referred to as building energy management systems (BEMS).


NB: The term Building Energy Management Systems is sometimes used interchangeably with Building Management Systems (BMS), but strictly speaking, Building Management Systems can be used to monitor and control a wide range of building systems while Building Energy Management Systems primarily refer to energy-related systems such as HVAC, lighting and power systems.


Building management systems help building managers understand how buildings work and enable them to monitor and modify their performance-optimizing systems. In addition to collecting data and enabling monitoring, BMS may help; visualize data, produce reports automatically, and create warnings and notifications when thresholds are reached, failures occur, or with prognostic systems when failures are likely to occur. We can also allow comparison of spaces, buildings and benchmarking data.


Intelligent building management systems combine information and controls related to a number of different systems operating using a variety of different software applications and enable single interface control. This makes monitoring and analysis simpler and more comprehensive, allowing information from one system to influence controls on another.


BMS’s effectiveness will depend on the range and quality of the information it receives from sensors, and how this information is used to program. For example, information on external and internal conditions can be used to assess the heating level required to enable the plant and to pre-heat a building before the occupants arrive.


Historically, BMS has been associated with large commercial buildings but as equipment has become easier to control, tracking and detection have become less costly and wireless technology has become available, buildings of all sizes are increasingly having complex control systems installed. For example, this can allow homeowners to connect to their home and switch devices like lighting and heating on before they arrive. 


BMS can help:


  • Give better control of systems and conditions.
  • Data gathering and report generation.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Allow better informed response to complaints.
  • Allow allocation of operating costs within a business or to tenants.
  • Allow more targeted use of resources for replacement and maintenance of equipment.
  • Early detection of issues.
  • Reduced operating costs and carbon emissions.
  • Improved equipment life.
  • Improve safety.

Building management systems can now be incorporated with Building Information Models (BIM) to allow a comparison of results in use with design criteria and simulations. This can help identify possible operational or design issues and may help validate modeling techniques. Building information models might also include information about building system operations and maintenance.

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