To deliver on aggressive climate goals, buildings will have to be sophisticated, complex designs that incorporate the latest technology in all components. Not only will a building have to be designed and built to the highest green standards, but will have to possess an intelligent forward-thinking plan to maintain and upgrade as the building ages. The degree of diligence required to stay in front of the building life cycle is intense and must encompass all systems in the building.
A Master Systems Integrator (MSI) is the service provider that has the master plan view. An MSI partners with ownership is a beneficial relationship to deliver a high performing, effective, smart building that is ready to adopt new technology and is sustainable into the future. The MSI collaborates with the client to develop solutions to service the current needs and operation, and that are also flexible and adaptable to operational changes and evolving climate goals.
The MSI doesn’t have to know everything or be the sole implementor, but they must oversee and provide quality assurance that contractors install systems consistent with the design. The MSI role has expanded as the integration of smart technology into all aspects of building management has grown. The MSI must work closely with suppliers and vendors to ensure that everyone is working toward the same client defined goals. The MSI should be engaged from the concept stage and provide agnostic guidance.
It is key for the MSI to be an educator as well. The smart building industry is ever changing and the MSI will ensure that the project team understands the options that are available regardless of brand. The MSI will prioritize sustainability by offering solutions that will consider future growth and change, which may look different than selecting the lowest cost options.
Many devices in smart buildings are collecting data. The MSI will help clients organize and understand the implications of the data and how the indicators can be turned into action items. The MSI will ensure systems communicate properly and collect the right data. Ideally, data will be displayed in a single easy to read dashboard.
Buildings are becoming more complex, with increasing IP-connected devices. The difficulties in managing the multitude of devices and vendors with competing interests are handled by the MSI. The MSI is engaged for the long term, to integrate and manage the IP-connectivity and keep it on track to advance ownership goals.
The MSI builds an intimate relationship with ownership and the building itself and is the bridge between the two. An MSI will conduct conversations with the customer to identify goals and preferred suppliers; and will work closely with contractors to ensure that the customer’s vision is carried out. The MSI’s responsibilities progress with the phases of the project. The MSI tasks for each phase will entail many of the following:
- Whole Building Evaluation
- Develop a road map of design and sustainability
- Assist in design decision-making
- Navigate selection of control systems, electrical systems, mechanical systems, IT, software and security
- Identify funding sources
- Identify integration points for smart systems
- Develop software solutions to collect data and provide an easy-to-use dashboard
- Coordinate infrastructure needs
- Resolve issues identified with ownership, tenants and contractors
- Coordinate trades/contractors to maintain overall schedule
- Assist in developing scopes of work for subcontractors
- Create a plan for testing and commissioning procedures
- Educate ownership, tenants and contractors on usage and optimum performance settings
- Monitor building performance
- Assist in project development and integration of new systems and technologies
When the Albireo Energy Team is engaged as an MSI, they bring a depth of experience in all aspects of building performance management. Albireo has the capability to merge building systems including BAS, energy systems and EPMS, with business systems such as work order systems, ERP and HR systems and specialty systems like room scheduling, smart parking, and identity management. The goal is to create a truly smart building not just an automated building.
The Albireo team takes a comprehensive view of building performance to optimize efficiency in energy usage, building management, maintenance, and ongoing commissioning. Building stakeholders need to be educated and informed to make beneficial decisions that will impact the building throughout its lifecycle whether or not it is a long-term hold. Compliance with climate legislation means that commercial real estate investors will value smart, efficient high performing buildings that will meet current and future goals. Engaging an MSI is no longer a consideration but is now a necessity. Investing in an MSI is investing in the future.