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Operator Issues

Operator issues are the human aspect of control systems. A typical example would be an engineer or a technician overriding a control parameter such as a set point without documenting the change. The override affects the control system, as well as other engineers or technicians that may be working on that portion of the system, but, not informed of the change. This human aspect of the control systems plays a part at the larger organizational level of a the facilities management department, where the operation doesn't emphasize preventative maintenance, training for its staff, or maintenance of the control systems.

Steps to Take

b Inventory and document your control systems. Identify the location of all equipment and the version of the components and software.

b Recalibrate your sensors as well as the analog signals to the field controllers.

b Gather and manage data related to the control systems such as as-built control drawings and points list. Don't wait for an emergency to have to scramble to find everything.

b Audit and evaluate the existing controllers for parts availability, service, and overall capability.

b Develop a step-by-step methodology for troubleshooting. For example, you may start with the information from the BMS, check the controllers and any IT network involved, which should help in localizing the problem. After that you may need some instrumentation to check cables, communications signals, and voltage or current between a field controller and a sensor or actuator.

b Assess the needs of the building owner and operators. If you are dealing with a portfolio of buildings, get a BMS system that can provide an enterprise-wide solution rather than managing buildings individually.

b Identify the software applications required. At a minimum you'll need energy management and an analytic application, such as fault detection and diagnostics.

b Evaluate whether an upgrade is justified. Take into account maintenance cost on the older control system, and the energy savings and potential utility rebates and incentives on the new control system.

The performance level of a building is directly related to the performance level of its control systems. One cannot manage a high performance

Figure 21.2

Figure 21.3

building without high performing control systems. The importance of maintenance of these systems cannot be stressed enough. Regular preventive maintenance assures that the control systems and equipment operate well, extends the equipment lifecycle, minimizes repairs, and affects energy consumption and occupant comfort.

 
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