The Keys to a Successful BAS Integration

BAS integration involves using open-source tech to keep legacy systems in play longer.

You wouldn’t drop an old engine into a newer car body unless, of course, it’s a classic powerplant that’s still got what it takes. The same goes for building automation systems (BAS) integrations in your property. There’s nothing wrong with older automation infrastructure provided it has the muscle to perform in tune with newer, higher-tech add-ons.

And, the truth is that a lot of older, often proprietary, “backbone” equipment continues to work well. What matters is how it’s integrated with newer technology to power the cost savings, efficiencies, and added benefits that the latest systems are designed to provide. That takes experience, industry knowledge, communication, and planning.

In this blog, we’ll explore what goes into designing and rolling out a high-quality BAS integration that gets the most out of both existing and new equipment from multiple vendors. Read on to learn how you can build a BAS integration that fires on all cylinders. 

Power You Can Use: Keys to Better BAS Integration

Building Automation Systems (BAS) are networks of monitoring, delivery, and control devices designed to optimize the performance of your building’s management systems while improving occupant safety, comfort, and convenience. 

A fully integrated BAS system can include:

  • HVAC equipment and control systems
  • Ventilation filtration and quality control
  • Ambient and area lighting and shading systems
  • Access control systems, CTV monitoring, and motion control
  • Fire, smoke, carbon dioxide, and leak detection system

A typical BAS installation involves connecting new equipment from several vendors with existing infrastructure, and ensuring that the control systems of all components can work together to deliver functionality and performance targets.

For a successful, trouble-free integration, it’s important to work with an equipment supplier and installation specialist who is comfortable with systems provided by multiple vendors. Just as important, it’s critical to work with a partner who takes the time to understand your needs and the challenges and constraints involved in your upgrade.

Now, let’s break down the key strategies involved in any well-executed BAS integration, and consider tips, best practices for a successful implementation, as well as common mistakes to avoid. We also consider some of the key benefits that a professionally managed BAS integration brings to your property and organization.

BAS Integration: 6 Strategies for Success

Let’s begin by considering six critical strategies that are essential to any successful BAS integration project.

1. Thorough Planning

A detailed plan provides the roadmap for your BAS integration. However, the first step in creating this plan is to determine what you want your integrated equipment to achieve. 

Set clear deliverables. Modern technology allows providers to create almost anything at a price, so be sure to identify at the outset clear deliverables that match your priorities. Failing to do this can lead to cost overruns, installation do-overs, and equipment that fails to meet key targets. 

2. Clear Communication

BAS integration is a major investment in your building. It’s important to involve all stakeholders in planning from the start to make sure the outcomes match their various needs and priorities. Key stakeholders typically include:

  • Owners
  • Investors
  • Consultants
  • Tenants or clients
  • Utilities and waste-disposal companies
  • Independent vendors
  • City and other local authorities
  • Local fire department officials

3. Budgeting

Most importantly, it’s critical that you and your stakeholders know, understand, and agree on how much money you want to spend on your project and on what specific functionalities and communicate this clearly to your equipment supplier or integration specialist.

Experienced, responsible suppliers like Conexus prefer to work with clients who know how much they want to spend and on what. This makes it easier to develop a system that meets your pocketbook, delivering on and exceeding expectations while also scaling to meet your future needs.

4. Compatibility Assessment

Experienced providers also know that integration is not — or shouldn’t be — a complete do-over. Ideally, integration is about connecting control systems, not the underlying equipment. 

For providers, a compatibility assessment is a significant part of planning, opening a window into how individual systems work together. In many cases this involves getting new control and monitoring equipment as well as graphical interfaces to work with your existing infrastructure, so you have complete control from a single digital sign-in.

5.  Selecting the Right Technology and Vendors

It pays to get good advice about the integration equipment you install. That means working with a vendor who understands the strengths and weaknesses of the leading brand equipment on the market and how it relates to your needs and existing infrastructure. 

Working with a partner who understands the power of emerging open source technologies like BACnet to improve the longevity of existing building systems, simply future upgrades and connect with “legacy” proprietary systems is also very valuable. At Conexus, we have a deep commitment to leveraging the power of open-source technology, and our staff are experts at configuring customized drivers to keep proprietary systems in play.

6. Ongoing Maintenance

Neither is BAS integration a one-and-done deal. In fact, it shouldn’t be, because systems are dynamic and require running in and periodic maintenance and adjustment to deliver optimum savings and results.

Fortunately, integrated systems also make maintenance easier and more predictable. To get the most out of your installation, work with a full-service provider who can provide ongoing support, maintenance, and parts, and one who offers ongoing upgrades to ensure your integration performs at or above your stakeholder’s expectations.

Integration Tips and Best Practices

Strategies are great in theory but hard to implement in practice. Here are some practical ways to achieve a seamless and efficient integration.

  • Ask for demonstrations: Before committing to any specific technology or vendor, ask for demonstrations of their BAS solutions. Seeing examples of graphics and controllers can also help you understand how a system will work for your needs. 
  • Verify compatibility: How compatible is equipment with existing infrastructure and gear from other vendors? Consider using third-party drivers if they are a better option than manufacturer-provided interfaces. 
  • Involve experienced integration experts: Work with integrators who have experience in your industries and with the systems you plan to use. They must understand how to use particular products and how to troubleshoot all the equipment in your system.
  • Test thoroughly: Insist on running your system in demo mode for several hours to verify compatibility and performance. Catching problems early can prevent damage and costly fixes or reinstallations later. 
  • Plan for ongoing support: A successful BAS integration doesn’t end with installation. Plan for ongoing maintenance and schedule regular check-ups to take care of software updates and address any emerging issues promptly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes that can derail your BAS upgrade and lead to delays, cost overruns, and sub-optimal performance.

  • Skimping on compatibility assessments: Work with experts who know how to integrate both leading-edge and legacy systems. Don’t settle for “good enough”. 
  • Underestimating the importance of stakeholder communication: Involve everyone from the beginning and keep them informed of both progress and setbacks. 
  • Neglecting detailed planning: Detailed planning helps identify potential issues early and sets clear expectations, budgets, and timelines for your project.
  • Inexperienced vendors: Anyone can say they know how to integrate a BAS but many will simply advise throwing more money at the project. Choose a vendor with the knowledge and experience to make the most of your existing equipment.
  • Overlooking maintenance: Skipping on maintenance means you’re paying for equipment that is not running at its best. You also miss out on one of the biggest advantages of an integrated BAS: planned, predictable maintenance.

6 Long-term Benefits of BAS Integration

A well-executed BAS integration offers numerous long-term benefits that can significantly enhance your building’s performance and efficiency. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Improved operations: Centralized control and monitoring of building systems, streamlines operations and reduces the need for manual interventions.
  2. Better security: Integrated access controls and surveillance provide better protection for your building and its occupants. 
  3. Energy savings: Properly installed, integrated, and maintained BASs deliver measurable, meaningful savings on energy and water use. 
  4. Improved occupant comfort:  Better, more consistent temperature and air quality, improves occupant comfort, adding value for your tenants or clients. 
  5. Simplified maintenance: Track and manage your maintenance schedule with single-point access to interval logs and smart predictive maintenance tools. 
  6. Scalability and future-proofing: Today’s BAS solutions have scalability and interoperability built-in, making it easier to upgrade, scale, or modify systems. 

Conexus: Get Smart About Your BAS Integration

If you’re serious about reducing costs and maximizing the benefits of your BAS integration project, planning and installation are no place to cut corners. Be sure to work with an equipment supplier with the experience and knowledge to deliver a system that meets your budget and exceeds your expectations. 

Conexus is a leading supplier and installer of cutting-edge BAS control and integration equipment. With a deep commitment to open-source technology and principles, we have the skills needed to improve outcomes and keep your existing, effective legacy backbone in place.

As a full-service provider, we work closely with you to envisage, design, and install a system that makes the most of your existing infrastructure and budget, while planning for the future. And, we back it all up with ongoing maintenance, support, and troubleshooting.

Contact us today about a free quote for your BAS upgrade, or click below to learn more about our BAS integration solutions.

View Our BAS Integration Solutions

Request a Free Quote