The BCIA's 30th Birthday
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA), which has grown from 11 members in its earliest days to around 120 members, accounting for 80 per cent of the UK’s building controls market.
Originally launched as the Building Controls Group (BCG) by Secretary of State for Energy John Wakeham in 1991, the BCIA has become a single voice in the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) sector to promote better understanding, application and use of building controls. Before its inception many companies operating in the controls sector had felt for some time that there was no single focus for their efforts to strengthen and develop the technology. It was subsequently decided to set up a new group within the Energy Systems Trade Association (ESTA). The new group’s key objectives were to establish a professional Code of Conduct, and advance technical standards, contract conditions and training and marketing the benefits of controlling energy usage and making potential users aware of the technology available to them.
These core aims are still at the heart of the BCIA’s activity 30 years later, something which the organisation is proud to celebrate annually with the BCIA Awards, first hosted in 2007 and now attracting record breaking numbers of entries and guests year after year. A number of well-known celebrities have also appeared as guest speakers at the Awards, including presenter Steph McGovern and comedians Lucy Porter and Holly Walsh.
BCIA President Terry Sharp believes the 30th anniversary is something for all BCIA members to be proud of: “For the BCIA to be going strong after all these years is a tremendous achievement only made possible by its members and their devotion to its cause,” he said. “Not only are we still going, but the rate at which the BCIA has expanded and increased its presence and influence within its own sector and in the wider industry owes a huge credit to the efforts of the members, committees and working groups involved in its ongoing success.”
There have been some interesting industry developments during this period. For example, soon after the Association started, a second group of control system specialists was formed amongst the then installers of BEMS. Back then, the market was dominated by the controls manufacturers and names like Satchwell, Honeywell, Landis & Gyr, Staefa and Tour & Andersen held the majority share. These days over three-quarters of controls installations and servicing is done by the independent sector and most controls manufacturers focus on product development and distribution.
Technological advancements have also changed the marketplace, as Sharp observed: “Perhaps one of the most marked areas of progress is the emergence of affordable open communications standards that allow hybrid systems and brands to coexist within a BEMS. Gone are the traditional motor control centre (MCC) panels which housed the starter gear and large data gathering outstations of the early BMS. These days smart plant, often with individual remote controllers, share operational data over IT networks or edge-technologies directly to the cloud.”
In recent years, one of the BCIA’s most significant contributions to government policy has been towards a review of the proposed changes to Part L of the Building Regulations. This year also saw the launch of the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship Standard, in partnership with training provider Group Horizon, designed to address an industry wide shortage of BEMS Controls Engineers who will use the technical skills they learn on the Apprenticeship to keep the buildings of the future running efficiently.
Terry Sharp concluded: “The BCIA has played a crucial role in shaping our built environment. I am proud of the organisation’s past, motivated by its present and excited for its future. It is my hope and firm belief that in 30 years’ time somebody will be in my shoes heralding the 60th anniversary of the BCIA!”
Growing Importance of Efficient Building Management Promises for Rewarding Career in BEMS Sector, says BCIA
A diverse, stimulating and profitable career is the potential reward for anybody looking to pursue one of the many professions available in the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) industry, according to the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA), which has made 2021 its “Year of Training”.
BCIA President Terry Sharp, said, “Whenever an impressive new building appears on our landscape, whether it’s a stadium, tower or a new shopping centre, it is usually the architects who grab the headlines. But buildings are a lot more complex than just empty shells and a lot of the more interesting technology can be found behind the exterior walls. Modern legislation and environmental targets have made good building management a necessity, meaning that building controls engineers have a vital role to play in making our buildings energy efficient and sustainable.”
The BCIA offers a full suite of training courses which are designed for those wishing to upskill or start their journey as a Building Controls Engineer. The courses include BCM01: Fundamentals of HVAC and Building Technology, BCM02: Measuring and Control Technology, and BCM03: Hydraulics in Building Systems.
BCM01 gives an overview of the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) industry and the systems and technologies used in the control of heating, ventilating and air conditioning.
BCM02 offers comprehensive training on the theory of measuring and control technology and is designed for engineers and technicians who have some knowledge and field experience with a minimum period of one year within the industry.
BCM03 involves the main water circuits and systems used within the building services controls environment. This course includes the necessary mechanical knowledge needed to understand applications and covers all aspects of valve sizing and control.
Anybody who completes these three courses will be awarded a BCIA Technical Certificate. They will also become eligible for the Building Controls Integrator ECS card provided the applicant also holds a formal BS7671 qualification in the current edition of the wiring regulations (currently BS7671: 2008, 18th edition) as well as a current (up to date) Health & Safety Certificate or recognised ECS H&S exemption.
The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) is the sole ID and competence card scheme for electrotechnical operatives in the UK. ECS cards are issued by the Joint Industry Board (JIB) as a way to recognise and verify the competency of electrotechnical operatives working in the UK. The Building Controls Integrator ECS card is designed to meet the need for the growing body of controls engineers to gain appropriate recognition for the skills they have acquired.
The ECS recently launched an online Remote Invigilation service, which allows candidates to undertake the ECS HSE Assessment and the BCM01, 02 and 03 exams remotely to gain accreditation for the Building Controls Integrator card. More information about the Remote Invigilation service can be found here.
Terry Sharp concluded: “Whether it’s new builds or retrofit projects the controls industry has a huge number of exciting projects to offer. The next generation of engineers will be the key drivers in evolving technologies to create a more environmentally friendly building landscape for tomorrow. The training courses mentioned here could be the first step on the way to a long and exciting career.”
BCIA Awards 2021 Finalists Announced
The Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) is delighted to announce the finalists for the BCIA Awards 2021. Despite a difficult and unprecedented year the record has once again been broken for the number of entries received, giving the judges plenty to think about. The finalised shortlists can be found by following this link.
Terry Sharp, President of the BCIA, said: “It is fantastic to see that despite all the difficulties of last year we have once again received a record breaking number of entries for the BCIA Awards. Many discussions I have had with industry colleagues have centred around how the effects of lockdown could change how we manage our built environment in the longer term. The standard of entries received has shown how our members have remained as innovative and forward-thinking as ever and it will be fascinating to see who takes home the prizes in September.”
The 2021 Awards will be held on Thursday 9th September 2021, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. For further details please contact Hayley Hopkins on: email@example.com
Leading Trade Association Contributes to Government review of Part L of Building Regulations
A working group from the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) membership recently contributed to a review of the Government’s proposed changes to Part L of the Building Regulations.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has issued a consultation on changes being considered to Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) of the Building Regulations for non-domestic buildings and dwellings; and overheating in new residential buildings. The proposed changes are aimed at simplifying and harmonising standards between new and existing installations. A key highlight is the requirement for centralised automation (BACS) to be provided on all installations greater than 290kW and the requirement for self-regulating devices to avoid overheating spaces. Furthermore, BACS are described as centralised control and switching systems that meet the standards of BS15232 Class A.
As the UK’s leading authority on the control and automation of building services, the BCIA welcomes the changes and proposed enhancements within and offered further suggestions to encourage energy efficiency through the application of automatic control solutions.
Terry Sharp, President of the BCIA, said, “The scheme is moving in the right direction to encourage the use of energy efficiency technologies and is starting to describe the minimum standards expected of efficient installations. We admire the greater ambition for the use of automation and have suggested how further energy savings could easily be economically achieved.”
Individual members and manufacturers with specific interests may wish to comment further and are invited to contribute themselves by following the link at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-buildings-standard
The BCIA is a single voice, representing a growing and dynamic building controls and BEMS sector in the UK.
The overall aim of the BCIA is to promote better understanding, application and use of building controls. In order to achieve this the BCIA works with organisations and institutions such as BESA, ECA, CIBSE, BIFM, FETA and others to share knowledge and improve the performance of building automation. The Association is also committed to promote higher standards among membership through discounts on the BCIA’s suite of training courses and through the development of the approved BEMS Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard for our sector.
The BCIA also seeks to influence legislation such as Part L of the Building Regulations to ensure that the crucial role that controls play in energy efficient buildings is recognised at all levels; and increase market awareness among specifiers and end-users about the importance of good specification, design, installation and post-occupancy support.
The BCIA is run by its members under strong governance and appointment to the Management Committee is by election only. Members are encouraged to participate in the Marketing, Technical and Skills Working Groups which enable the BCIA to tackle particular issues and projects in a focused way. These groups are well supported and critical in delivering the strategy for change.
Aims & Objectives
The overall aim of the BCIA its to promote better understanding, application and use of building controls. In order to achieve this the BCIA works with other organisations and institutions such as BESA, ECA, CIBSE, BIFM, FETA and others to promote the interests of our members. The Association is also committed to promote higher standards among membership through discounts on the BCIA’s suite of six training courses and through the development of the Apprenticeship Standard for our sector.
The BCIA also aims to influence legislation such as Part L of the Building Regulations to ensure that the crucial role that controls play in energy efficient buildings is recognised at all levels; and increase market awareness among specifiers and end-users about the importance of good specification, design and installation.
The BCIA was formed in 2004, from a merger of two earlier long-standing groups. The Association is now part of the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) so that it has access to lobbying at European level, and the ability to discuss key issues with other parts of the construction sector.
The BCIA is run by its members, for its members and appointment to the Management Committee is by election. Members are however encouraged to participate in the Marketing, Technical and Skills Working Groups which enable the BCIA to tackle particular issues and projects in a focused way.
Terry Sharp, President, NDA Consulting
Graeme Rees, Vice President, BCIA
Jon Belfield,Immediate Past President, InTandem Systems Ltd
Roger Borer, Executive Officer, BCIA
Richard Bush, Chair of the Technical Working Group, Priva UK
Karl Walker, Chair of the Marketing Working Group, Beckhoff Automation