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What is a BMS (Building Management System)?

Building Management Systems (BMS), sometimes called a Building Automation System (BAS), is a computer-based system installed to control and monitor a building’s electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, energy, fire systems, and security systems. It consists of software and hardware.

A BMS is crucial to managing demand for energy in a cost-effective way and essential to all new builds. It allows owners and landlords of buildings to reduce energy costs and provide optimum comfort for users, tenants and residents of the buildings. It allows remote management of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) so that maintenance staff do not have to spend time visiting each building or room to shut down, switch on or adjust temperature levels or air conditioning.

Because data is consolidated in a single system, a BMS improves reporting and information management leading to quality, informed decision-making, better performance and a reduction in energy use, thereby saving money.

The question we get asked the most is “what exactly is a building management system and what does it do?” A building management system (BMS) in layman’s terms could be described as a computer-based control system that is installed in a building to control and monitor the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as heating and ventilation. Many people don’t even realise their building has a BMS but this if often a sign of a system operating effectively. A BMS works behind the scenes to ensure that a building is automatically controlled to provide the required level of heating or cooling at different times of the day as required.

In recent years there has been a switch in emphasis towards energy conservation, many building management systems are now referred to as BEMS (building energy management system). A BMS is the most effective method to monitor and control energy use within a building. It can control which areas of a building are heated or cooled, what times of the day / days of the week and what temperatures are required.

A BMS typically consists of one of more control panels installed within a plant room which are wired to various sensors, valves and switches etc within the building. This allows the BMS to monitor and control the building effectively.

Temperatures are monitored by installing sensors, these vary in type, typically an outside air sensor would be installed to monitor the outside temperature, various room sensors would be installed to monitor and control different zones and immersion / duct sensors would be installed on heating pipes / air handling units to monitor and control the heating / cooling.

Heating valves or duct louvers have actuators mounted to them which allow them to be controlled by automatically opening and closing them.

Meters can also be monitored to provide information on energy usage including gas, electric and water, sub meters are often installed to determine energy use in specific areas of a building.

Within the BMS control panel there are controllers which hold the strategy that is used to control the building. Nyke Energy Services Ltd are accredited systems integrators of Trend Controls, Cylon Controls and EasyIO Controls. All manufacture a range of controllers used in building management systems.

If you are unsure on any aspects of a building management system, one of our experienced engineers will be happy to answer your questions, simply contact us by phone or email.


Listed here are some of the most common systems, roughly in order of popularity:

Trend, Honeywell, Tridium, Satchwell, Siemens, TAC, Cylon, Landis & Staefa, Priva, York, Andover, Johnson Controls, Sedona, Alerton, Delta, Schneider Electric (Struxureware), JEL, Heatmiser, Sauter, Daikin and Allen-Martin.

Listed here are some of the less well-known BMS systems:

KNX, Kieback & Peter, American Automatrix, Distech-Controls, Barber Colmen, GFR, ALC (Automated Logic), Easy IO (Samsung), Seachange, Trane, Wago, Beckhoff, Coster, Deos, Azbil Yamatake and UTC Carrier.

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