Building services technology is a field related to engineering and it goes by a variety of different terms as well. Some of the terms associated with this filed include technical building services, building engineering, building services engineering, architectural engineering and building services architect. In the simplest explanation of this type of field, building services technology deals with all aspects that bring buildings and other structures to life.
Individuals who work in this field are responsible for all aspects needed to make modern building operate properly in a comfortable, safe and environmentally friendly operation. These types of people work in this field in different countries and different countries have different names for this position. In the United States, the field that uses building services technology is known as the field of building engineering or architectural engineering. In India, for example, other names are used like facilities planners or building services architects.
The entire field is complicated and requires extensive teamwork with other individuals involved in the building of modern buildings. It’s an important role because the way a building is built, the architecture of it, plays a significant role in the demand for the building, its sustainability and its energy demand.
Building services technology can involve a variety of different areas such as:
- Electrical technology
- Design management
- Heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC)
Construction: This area is self explanatory and involves all aspects of the construction side of building services technology. It deals with commissioning systems, construction and the regular maintenance and ongoing operation of services.
Environmental: This is the process of developing improved energy conservation systems for businesses. It also deals with finding new ways to save energy during the actual construction of buildings.
Design: As the name suggests, this part of building engineering deals with coming up with new layouts for buildings in residential and commercial developments. It also deals with any requirements that these layouts need to meet.
Electrical technology: This is a specialty field with a focus on the creation and overall development of all and any electrical systems needed for the operation of buildings and making sure they’re safe and as energy sustaining as possible.
Design management: This is a large field in the area of building engineering. It’s considered to be the business side of design. Design management is supposed to do many things like support creativity and innovation by creating the right environment to work in. This field is also responsible for delivering design solutions, if needed, and making sure the goals and objectives of the design solutions are done and met in an ethically sound way. Design management can be confused with project management, but the two are not the same. Project management focuses more on the administrative skills without any or much consideration for the intricacies needed to deliver a design that’s fully coordinating.
Heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC): This area deals with a specialization in all aspects of HVAC systems including operation, construction and development.
These areas can be further subdivided. Here are examples of a few of the possible building services technology subdivisions:
- Gas, electricity and renewal resources, ie energy supply
- Fire detection and prevention
- Lightning protection
- Escalators and lifts
- Natural lighting and artificial lighting and building facades
- Waters, drainage and plumbing
- Security and alarm systems
- Ventilation and refrigeration
- Communication lines, IT networks and telephones
- Switchgear, low voltage systems and distribution boards
There was a time when any of this type of work was done with very limited computer assistance. Nowadays, many firms use computer aided design software (CAD) programs or computer aided engineering (CAE) software programs. Some of these building services technology programs are created in house. Others are designed by external parties. The goal of each of these programs is to assist in the overall design and analysis of buildings. The benefit of using technology and software is that it’s possible to create virtual models which make analysis and calculations easier and more accurate. The programs allow for more detailed visualization of any solutions that have been proposed. Programs also make it easier to create more accurate spatial planning.
There’s a new trend in the world of building service engineering. It’s a program called Building Information modeling, called BIM for short. BIM is cutting edge in that it has the ability to allow engineers to see prototype architectural structures before construction. It’s like a detailed preview of what will be build before it’s actually built. BIM can include three dimensional and sometimes even four dimensional models. The use of BIM building service technology helps engineers make better decisions regarding the design of buildings. It also assists in more effective coordination between the different teams involved in the creation and construction f buildings.
A more detail definition of BIM is the following. It’s a process that deals with the management of digital representations of places. It’s used to plant, design, construct, operate and maintain physical infrastructures. BIM files deal with a variety of building types like schools, shops, offices, factories, warehouses, prisons, apartments and houses. BMI files can also deal proprietary information about non-buildings like refuse, electricity, gas, waters and wastewater utilities.
It originated as a way to make the construction of buildings more accurate. Traditional building construction relied on two-dimensional drawings. Although this provides the right amount of information to use, the process of building is made easier with building services technology in the form of BIM. BIM takes the traditional two dimensional information and extends it to 3D, 4D and sometimes even 5D. The extra dimensions allow for a better analysis of spatial relationships, geographic information and light analysis. BMI is virtual so it’s easier to share crucial information with all members of the design team like the surveyors, architects, landscape architects, the building services engineers and the civil and structural engineers. It also allows for information to be sent the contractors, sub contractors and owners and operators without any of the information inadvertently getting lost in transit.