Organised by Datateam Business Media in association with BSEE magazine, the very first Building Services Forum took place at the Building Centre in London on Thursday 8 February, with delegates, speakers and exhibitors commenting on the usefulness of the event and calling for its return next year.
The host for the day was the chief executive of FETA, the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations Russell Beattie. FETA is the recognised UK body representing the interests of over 400 manufacturers, suppliers, installers and contractors within the heating, ventilating, building controls, refrigeration and air conditioning industry to policy makers and the wider public.
The Forum featured some of the leading voices in Building Services speaking on a range of topics, including future-proofing your investments with BMS; walking the legislation tightrope to mitigate unnecessary business costs; developing intelligent and interactive HVAC pipe networks; protecting buildings from cyber-attack; what you need to know about the Internet of Things and more. There was the opportunity to ask questions at the end of both the morning and afternoon sessions with some of the debates proving very lively indeed.
Barry Pinder is a BEMS engineer at Imperial College London. He has been in and out of BMS for nearly 30 years and having worked for companies on the commercial and contracting side, he has a good understanding of the gaps in current technology. Speaking at the event, he said he was there to give manufacturers and service providers some idea of what he is looking for in terms of building management systems. “As an end user I feel like I am a lone voice in the industry,” he said. “What I want is standardisation of BMS strategy, together with more useful user interfaces (they can often be over complicated) and better data analytics. I’m looking for technology that closes the loop, almost like artificial intelligence, something that does everything without the maintenance team having to go back to the plant.” Commenting on the engineering gap he says it’s the “remedial, reactive and corrective actions” that are currently missing.
Peter Wasmuth works in asset management at Network Rail, he said: “All of the subjects were very interesting and while some of the content was about reminding us of what is already out there, it’s important that it does that, because we need reminding! There is always a gap between what can be done and what needs to be developed; products take between one and five years to get to market so, we have to keep communicating and sharing ideas between different industries, to get the products we want.”
Peter’s colleague, a project engineer at Network Rail said: “There has been information shared here today that would be very useful for future works.”
Gill Hewart, a consultant at Opeque said: “I particularly enjoyed the talk about cyber security – it made me think very differently about how we manage BMS; it was certainly useful for raising awareness.”
Exhibitor and speaker James Palmer, business development manager at North Building Technologies said the day had been “well attended, with some really good people. I think we are all talking about the same thing, which is great, it means we are all going in the right direction.”
Host Russell Beattie agreed the event had been very well received. He said: “The event was a great opportunity to both examine current challenges but also to take time to consider some of the opportunities that emerging developments such as the IoT will bring for our sector. Speakers and audience alike were overwhelmingly positive about the need for us all to stay alert to the pace of change.”
Jacqui Henderson, business director for Datateam Business Media was pleased to see such a good turn-out. She said “The aim of the event was to provide a platform for innovation and debate which would play a role in shaping the future of building services and feedback from delegates suggests we did just that. We have already booked the venue for next year and I look forward to announcing details about more regional events in the near future. I’d like to thank our sponsors, exhibitors and you, the delegates, for supporting our first ever Forum.”