It’s an age-old problem encountered by HVAC, process cooling and building automation service contractors, time and time again: sophisticated building systems are bypassed, set to manual, or otherwise tweaked by facility personnel who don’t have a firm grasp of how they operate, thereby degrading overall performance and spurring costly repairs or failures.
Many buildings and facilities start out with state-of the-art building automation systems meticulously designed, installed, and commissioned to operate within very-specific settings and parameters. Oftentimes, however, these systems are maintained by maintenance staff who are inexperienced or don’t have a clear understanding of how they work. When problems arise, these workers often place systems in hand mode to keep things up and running, bypassing automatic sequences and alarms. Temporary fixes become permanent ones, causing new problems that snowball into other equipment and components, which are then placed on manual to compensate as well. Eventually, systems that were once perfectly orchestrated to automatically provide efficient, effective heating and cooling can no longer properly adjust to changing conditions, and in many cases actively work against each other. The result: decreased energy efficiency, occupant complaints, expensive repairs, and even catastrophic failure when critical alarms are bypassed.
Temporarily switching a system to manual mode or bypassing an alarm can sometimes be acceptable to avoid a shut-down of operations, with temporarily being the operative word. Problems leading up to such actions should be rectified as soon as possible and should never be left to languish. Well-trained, experienced building personnel is an imperative when it comes to complex building automation systems, and it is important to ensure that new hires are properly trained in the facility’s BAS. An expert in building automation systems, MSC / Mechanical Service Corp. can provide BAS diagnostics and service and can assist clients with personnel training.