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Software Issues

Software is probably the number one issue with control systems. Given that control systems are networks monitoring and managing data points and running control sequence programs, problems with software and data management is not a big surprise. Problems can crop up with the initial configuration of the data points in new or replacement BMS systems. In existing buildings you may have multiple naming conventions, a lack of as-built control drawings, and overall poor data management, making it difficult and time consuming to obtain accurate information on point configuration. Even if you get accurate information on the data points, there may be human errors in configuring the points in the software.

Beyond the configuration of individual points is the management of the control strategy software where both the control logic and appropriate parameters must be identified. If the control logic between different HVAC equipment is not sound, parameters for set points or ranges for other data variables are not suitable, or the space use has changed, you have a control system that is providing suboptimal performance for the underlying building system.

The building management system (BMS) that manages and monitors controllers, data points, and control sequences can also be a software issue. Many of the problems are related to the BMS being an IT device. It has databases, operating systems, software applications, requirements for security, and a need for IT support. With no underlying support from IT or a lack of IT expertise within Facility Management, software problems will occur. In addition, a typical BMS system also has problems of omission. The BMS may not have intuitive graphics, analytic software or any application tools to support technicians and engineers in quickly identifying problems and solutions.

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