Specifying BAS in manufacturing, warehouse buildings

Warehouse, manufacturing and logistics facilities need engineering experts to specify various building automation systems

By Consulting-Specifying Engineer May 25, 2021


  • Jarron Gass, PE, CFPS, Fire Protection Discipline Leader, CDM Smith, Pittsburgh
  • Mike Morder, PE, CPD, Design Engineer II, Southland Industries, Dulles, Va.
  • Bryce Vandas, PE, Mechanical Group Lead, CRB, St. Louis
  • John Gregory Williams, PE, CEng, Vice President – Design Studio, Harris, Oakland, Calif.


Is your team using building information modeling in conjunction with the architects, trades and owner to design a project?  

Mike Morder: Our team uses Autodesk Revit as a standard for all modeling, which allows us to collaborate in 3D with architects, trades and other members of the team. By using the Revit platform, we can implement BIM in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the project and end needs.  

Bryce Vandas: Yes, we typically design up front in the model along with structural engineers, architects, as well as MEP disciplinesThese models are then passed through the process to trades and eventually the ownersBringing trades and construction groups in earlier to become familiar with the models and seeing the development of the project helps keep all parties informed and moving the same directionIt can be tricky to do a formal model handoff where the trades actually take full control of the model. 

In what way is the need for more smart technology and features in such buildings affecting your work on these projects?  

Bryce Vandas: Increasingly clients are looking for more energy savings thru the use of smart technology. Smart technology makes thing simpler in some ways, but can be significantly more complex trying to integrate them. 

How has COVID-19 increased or enhanced automation or technology in these facilities? Describe the project 

Bryce Vandas: COVID-19 has put an increasing emphasis on employee health. With this additional consideration such as hepa filtration and ultraviolet sanitation is looked at in common areas. The architectural layouts of getting people in and out of a building are also being focused on to eliminate cross contamination. 

Has the “internet of things” come up in discussion or been implemented on such projects? Has this integration impacted the project?  

Bryce Vandas: IoT is slow to be adapted in the life sciences and food industries. These industries are a little slower to adopt new technologies and quite often have to be validated, which can be difficult with IoT. 

What smart devices are owners requesting and how are you meeting these needs?  

Bryce Vandas: The two areas of smarts we have seen owners requesting are in people tracking with card readers and sensors as well as energy efficiency. Depending on the areas and requirements, there are various solutions that we have deployed to meet those needs. 

Cybersecurity is an increasing concern — are you seeing such concerns impacting your work on warehouse, manufacturing and logistics facilities? 

Bryce Vandas: Yes, cybersecurity is of increasing concerns especially with all the connected devices and IoT devices being implement. Now that everything from a lighting control system to an air compressor can be connected to the internet, clients are rethinking networks and data they allow in and out of there systems. This has led to an increase in number of networks and segregation of wiring, racks and even rooms to keep critical process control systems isolated.