What’s with all the standards?

Sterling Tech – What's with all the standards?

Ed Macey-MacLeod of Sterling Tech explores some of the many different standards, detailing why and how they are useful in the context of intelligent buildings.

An intelligent building requires a convergence of technologies and disciplines. Solutions that have been found by one discipline may be usefully applied to another. Advice specific to one discipline should be shared by all disciplines where it is transferable and applicable. Engineers should also be aware of what those in another field are being taught about their own discipline.

Standards bodies, professional societies and trade organisations have published literature on the design and implementation of intelligent buildings. They have also produced information for other purposes that one should consider when designing an intelligent building. Some documents are best practice guides, some are standards and others are explanatory guides meant to inform.

The standards that follow are readily available to professionals in our field, however it is imperative to address why and how they are useful in the context of intelligent buildings. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but as you will see there is much design advice available from different sectors, not one single authority. Information from the various disciplines overlaps, often usefully enriching the way a project can be approached.

Standards explained… 

Sterling Tech – What's with all the standards?
Standards bodies, professional societies and trade organisations have published literature on the design and implementation of intelligent buildings.

ANSI/BICSI-007 Design and implementation practices for intelligent buildings

The American standard, intended for worldwide adoption, specifically covers telecommunication cabling design for intelligent buildings. The standard includes requirements and recommendations for the design of cable pathway, room layouts with examples, and grid layouts to accommodate building services devices. As well as this, it includes requirements for documentation, commissioning and management of an intelligent building. That said, it does not provide any information on producing or programming interactions among systems. So, why is this useful? Well, the documentation Comprehensively addresses the infrastructure requirements of networked building services devices; discussing protocols for building services and their data exchange requirements. It also ensures the infrastructure design conforms to European and international standards.

BS EN ISO 16484-1 Building Automation and Control Systems Project specification and implementation

 This international standard acts as a guide to creating a project specification for a Building Automation and Control System (BACS). In summary, the documentation describes the considerations one should address for the design, installation and commissioning stages. Assisting the company’s approach, the documentation provides comprehensive descriptions of the project documentation required. But, why is this beneficial? The documentation can simply be used to define the requirements of a Building Management System (BMS) or can be read and applied more widely to all of the systems in a building. Its requirements for documenting integrations between systems should be considered for all systems in an intelligent building.

BS EN 50173-6:2013 Information technology – Generic cabling systems – Part 6: Distributed building services

Conforming to British and European standards, this document details the requirements of a structured cabling system to support building services devices and other network devices. The advantage of this being that, intelligent buildings require a network infrastructure to support the networked building services devices. This is one of three defined standards for network infrastructure, the others being BS ISO 11801 and ANSI TIA-EIA 568B. Notably though, it should be used in concert with the aforementioned ANSI/BICSI guide to intelligent buildings.

BS EN 50398-1 Alarm systems. Combined and integrated alarm systems. General requirements

Again, conforming to British and European standards, this document gives guidance on integrating alarm and non-alarm systems. The document provides useful definitions of alarm, notifications and alerts; whilst also, suggesting a priority classification for alarms –which, of course, depends entirely upon on the originating system and severity of the alarm. So, what is it that makes this documentation so beneficial? When collecting all systems together in an intelligent building it has to be acknowledged that an alarm, caused by a life-safety system, may be more important than one caused by an audio-visual device. The concepts outlined in this document can be applied to all systems in a building to categorise their alarms. This is helpful for managing systems, reducing nuisance alarms which erode confidence, and processing interactions based on events.

BSIA 210 An installer’s guide to Internet Protocol (IP) in the security industry

This documentation Serves to give the reader a basic understanding of IP, the components of an IP network and any special considerations that should be made when considering the use of an IP network for electronic security systems – access control, video surveillance, time and attendance, Etc. It acts as a useful primer to those seeking to understand how their building systems use an IP network; though redundant for those familiar with networking.

Building Automation System over IP (BAS/IP) Design and Implementation Guide

A private companies’ design guide was published by Cisco and Johnson Controls back in 2008 specifically to address the Johnson Controls Metasys building management system, and its use of an IP network. The documentation discusses building services protocols and their management over an IP network, whilst addressing active network design including switches, firewalls, broadcast domains and resilience. The guide usefully instructs the reader through the active network design required for building services systems, although specific implementation methods have since been superseded.

CIBSE Guide H – Building Control Systems

This building control systems documentation delivers an introduction to control systems for environmental conditioning plant. It predominantly concentrates on control of plant but also discusses networks and integration. Control strategies, or interactions, are HVAC biased, but the concepts are transferable; lightly touching on analytics using data derived from the system. Whilst the documentation covers control of HVAC plant using a building management system but contains concepts transferable to other building services, which can prove useful. The CIBSE Guide H also explains use of IT networks for BMS devices, full network convergence (intelligent buildings), user management, developing interactions, commissioning and ongoing management of the BMS.

EEUMA Publication 191 Alarm systems – a guide to design, management and procurement

This is a very detailed guide on how to manage alarms, alerts, notifications and other events that could otherwise distract an operator from the task at hand. Written for those operating industrial processes in mind – such as chemical manufacture, power generation and natural resource refining – the guide contains direction on the design of alarm processing, performance optimisation and specification of alarm systems. Following this guide will allow any intelligent building platform to triage alerts, notifications and alarms so that they are dealt with productively by the platform and by the operator. Nuisance alarms on any system can degrade the operator’s confidence in the system and prevent them from seeing and reacting to important alarms. Documentations as such should be used in conjunction with BS EN 50398-1 above.

IET Code of Practice for Cyber Security in the Built Environment

This short but broad guide is aimed at those who are not well as well versed in information security, and, particularly, the requirements of non-domestic buildings. IET Code of Practice for Cyber Security in the Built Environment covers information security of the building information pre-construction. It details just how much attention should be given to all of the building’s systems during and after construction. Written specifically to address information security for a construction project, its appendices helpfully detail areas specific to intelligent building designers, giving guidance as to what should be considered part of the information security posture for systems installed in the building.


  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *