Prescription for building automation and controls in hospital, health care facilities

Hospital and health care facility projects are especially important due to their sensitive nature. Engineers chime in on building automation systems (BAS), building management systems (BMS), and controls.


Michael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Member/Owner, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio. Courtesy: Metro CD EngineeringGeorge Isherwood, PE, Vice President, Peter Basso Associates, Troy, Mich. Courtesy: Peter Basso AssociatesMichael Lentz, Associate, RMF Engineering, Baltimore. Courtesy: RMF Engineering


Michael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Member/Owner, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio

George Isherwood, PE, Vice President, Peter Basso Associates, Troy, Mich.

Michael Lentz, Associate, RMF Engineering, Baltimore

CSE: What factors do you need to take into account when designing building automation systems (BAS) for hospitals and health care facilities

Lentz: All major building equipment needs to be tied into the BAS and alarmed for malfunctions. This is due to the critical nature of the systems to function 24/7 and also due to most health care facilities reducing maintenance staff. Emergency power for the automated control system and local panels also needs to be accomplished. Again, due to the critical nature of the systems to function 24/7, the systems cannot shut down, and if the controls are not on emergency when power is lost, the units will not automatically restart after the 10-second delay.

Isherwood: Ease of service and the ability to understand the systems is crucial. Building controls are becoming more complex and maintenance staffs are being asked to do more with fewer resources. We need to make sure we design building control systems that will not become a burden on the staff, but a benefit. 

CSE: How does implementing BAS in an existing building differ from designing controls for a new building?

Isherwood: There are a significant number of small hospital systems that have been using the same BAS for years. Some of these networks will no longer be supported by basic operating computer systems, let alone the BAS system. Also, different manufacturers have opened different control protocols for tying into a BACnet or similar common language. These challenges are huge for small hospitals, from both a solution and a cost standpoint.

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Commissioning lighting control systems; 2016 Commissioning Giants; Design high-efficiency hot water systems for hospitals; Evaluating condensation and condensate
Solving HVAC challenges; Thermal comfort criteria; Liquid-immersion cooling; Specifying VRF systems; 2016 Product of the Year winners
MEP Giants; MEP Annual Report; Mergers and acquisitions; Passive, active fire protection; LED retrofits; HVAC energy efficiency
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
click me