As buildings become “smarter,” they are becoming more communicative. Besides the automation side of these buildings, there are also increasing ways that buildings, assets, software, and maintenance teams are communicating back and forth.

While CMMS programs started as a good way to simply organized maintenance plans, they can now be a powerful resource for data, analytics, predictive maintenance, and notifying other systems and technicians about critical breakdowns, failures, and alarms. Part of what makes this communication possible is BACnet.

BACnet is a communication protocol for Building Automation and Control (BAC) networks that leverage the ASHRAEANSI, and ISO 16484-5 standard protocol.

BACnet was designed to allow communication of building automation and control systems for applications such as heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning control (HVAC), lighting control, access control, and fire detection systems and their associated equipment. The BACnet protocol provides mechanisms for computerized building automation devices to exchange information, regardless of the particular building service they perform.

One important tool that BACnet can now communicate with is a CMMS. A CMMS previously generated work orders based on time or user identified breakdowns. With a BACnet system integrated into CMMS, maintenance teams can be automatically and instantly notified by BACnet enabled devices, which are running 24 hours a day.

Let’s say a motor pump fails or goes into a critical state. This information is picked up via BACnet and can then be sent to a number of other building systems. One system would be a CMMS, which when notified by BACnet, can automatically generate a work order with a list of procedures, replacement parts, and other information pertinent to the breakdown. And this information can be automatically emailed or sent to the mobile device of a qualified and available technician as soon as it occurs using the CMMS capabilities.

Besides just relaying immediate information, a record of these alarms is stored in the CMMS for important history data which can be viewed and analyzed through reporting, KPIs, and analytics tools. With this data you can predict future breakdowns, view trends, calculate cost history, and many other critical assessments of maintenance data.

Companies such as Johnson Controls, Honeywell, Siemens, and Schneider Electric are the leaders in Building Automation Systems (BAS) using BACnet technology, and handle different strategies for different assets. A large campus or facility may use multiple BACnet programs. A good CMMS program is able to pick up information from multiple BACnet programs. That will limit the amount of downtime and increase reaction time to critical assets and processes.

The integration of BAS and CMMS offers several benefits to the smooth operation of the building:

  • Immediate response to any alarm condition or critical alerts by a qualified technician.
  • All details are available in the work order, so it minimizes wasted efforts and trips.
  • The use of “run time” values minimizes the need for unnecessary preventive maintenance (based on the calendar only).
  • Overall better utilization of maintenance resources, better equipment operating conditions, and satisfied tenants, all work towards making a building “smarter” and more efficient for the building owners.

Call Eagle at 262-241-3845, or send us an email or schedule a demo to learn more about our software and how we could help your organization.