Developing the buildings of the future

The drive to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency in commercial buildings means that demand for skilled engineers will rise steeply over the coming years. Peter Behan explains how building controls engineers can acquire the necessary skills to meet growing demand for efficient, seamlessly integrated buildings.

As the world strives to reduce its carbon footprint, the importance of efficient building management continues to grow. One of the results of this is that the technology that goes into buildings, whether new-build or retrofit, is becoming more advanced than ever, and its complexity means trained and qualified engineers are required to install it.

Modern legislation and environmental targets have made good building management a priority and the next generation of Building Controls Engineers will be the key drivers in evolving technologies.

Group Horizon offers a full suite of training courses for the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) which are designed for those wishing to upskill or start their journey as a Building Controls Engineer.

BCM01, for example, gives an overview of the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) industry and the systems and technologies used in the control of heating, ventilating and air conditioning, while BCM02 offers comprehensive training on the theory of measuring and control technology and is designed for engineers and technicians who have some knowledge and field experience. BCM03 involves the main water circuits and systems used within the building services controls environment. This course includes the necessary mechanical knowledge needed to understand applications and covers all aspects of valve sizing and control.

Anybody who completes these three courses will be awarded a BCIA Technical Certificate and become eligible for the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme’s Building Controls Integrator ECS card provided the applicant also holds a formal BS7671 qualification in the current edition of the wiring regulations (currently BS7671: 2008, 18th edition) as well as a current (up to date) Health & Safety Certificate or recognised ECS H&S exemption.

A few steps further

After you have successfully completed the BCIA modules BCM01-03 then why not think about going a few steps further and qualifying for an Advanced Technical Certificate? This can be achieved by completing courses BCM04 to BCM06 and gives engineers the opportunity to prove to clients and employers their full understanding of the six building controls subjects which cover Fundamentals of HVAC & Building Technology, Measuring & Control Technology, Hydraulics in Building Systems, Control Function in Heating Plant, Control of Ventilation and Air Conditioning Plant and Control of Cooling Systems.

For anyone looking to embark on a career as a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) Controls Engineer, Group Horizon now offers a three-year technical training programme, which offers a balance of on the job assessments and technical training covering all aspects of the industry. The BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship has been designed to address an industry-wide shortage of BEMS Controls Engineers and includes a series of classroom and/or online sessions covering the technical theory which is included in the BCIA technical course modules BCM00 – BCM15.

The first two Apprenticeship programmes have been fully booked up and the feedback has so far been very positive. Jake Jarram, BEMS Apprentice at Building Controls Specialists Ltd, said: “I have been very impressed with how well structured the modules are in the BCIA course I am completing. The lecturer is very experienced and skilled in the industry, showing a very positive outlook on HVAC and is very keen to pass on their knowledge. 

“When working day-to-day for BCS I have developed a great variety of skills which are invaluable to someone of my age, working in various places and contributing towards the completion of the project/maintenance. I am looking forward to my future in the building controls industry.”

The Building Controls industry is wide and diverse and offers numerous opportunities for skilled engineers. To ensure you stay ahead of the competition and prove your competence in this rapidly expanding market Group Horizon’s specialist tutors, who each bring a wealth of experience in their chosen field, will deliver the training that will ensure the future of our built environment is in safe hands.