How does a Building Management System Work?

There are many different kinds of Building Management Systems (BMS). Each has its own special functions and ways of working. Most BMSs are designed to support property managers through centralised controls for building assets like plumbing, electrics and other essential systems. Other software is designed to support the tasks that fall to a building or strata manager. Building Management Systems are sometimes confused with Community Management Systems, but each support different building management needs.


What is Building Management?

Building management covers a number of different jobs, from managing the building and its infrastructure through to managing the needs of the building’s users – residents, office workers or staff and guests in the case of a hotel.

Both managing a building and managing occupant’s needs come under the umbrella term of ‘building management’ or sometimes ‘facilities management ’– which can make the lines between roles blurry. However, the different focus of the roles calls for different systems to support them.


The best building management software for building managers

Property managers or facilities managers are generally responsible for the ‘hard services’ in a building. They take care of structural aspects like fire systems, electrical services, lifts and similar elements. A building management system that incorporates operations and maintenance manuals, sensors for monitoring integral building systems, and has a central control that enables the use of these systems to be tracked, controlled and reported upon is best for property managers.

In this scenario, a BMS enables buildings to become more efficient in their use of resources – for example, electricity use can be reduced by automating supply in communal areas with motion sensors. Planned maintenance for the structural systems can also be monitored and reported upon with this type of BMS.

Building and strata managers who are responsible for the life inside the building are better supported with Community Management software. Community Management Systems for these types of building managers enable the multiple functions that happen within a building to be scheduled, communicated to occupants and monitored to ensure they are completed to the agreed standard on time.

For example, residents’ maintenance requests, or even preventative maintenance work, can be scheduled with a community management system. The correct contractors can be booked, residents notified of the impending works and the actual work tracked through one platform until it’s completed and signed off. Records are automatically kept for future reference.

Document libraries for leases, warranties, insurances and even committee meeting minutes keep important paperwork secure and to hand. Community calendars allow residents to book communal spaces and give complete oversight of all the activities going on in a building for the strata or building manager. The result is a more engaged community and sustainable, efficient systems.


How to use a building management system

Both Building Management Systems and Community Management Systems are accessed and controlled from a computer. Some systems, like BuildingLink’s community management software, can be accessed from a smartphone, allowing managers to get things done while on the go.

BMS and Community Management Systems are usually hosted in a cloud to allow multiple people to access it from anywhere. Because of this, the security of these management systems is paramount. The right people should need access but security must be strong enough to keep all data safe and out of the public domain. Private servers are the most reliable way to balance accessibility with security.  

BMS and community management software can improve a building and its community’s resilience and sustainability. Because of this, some governments are recommending their use and it’s likely that demand for them will continue to increase.

When choosing a building management system, be mindful of who will be using it, and what functions it needs to support. Most residential and hotel complexes benefit from a community management system for their day to day operations. Larger and newer strata can benefit from both BMS and community management software.