As the Building Safety Act 2022 comes into force, a leading provider of building management services is urging facilities and building managers to ensure their emergency lighting systems are ‘fit for purpose.’
The call for action from Abtec Building Technologies (Abtec BT) comes following a number of fires in high rise buildings in recent months, and at a time when the call for the ‘stay put’ policy to be abandoned. Welcoming the new legislation, the company believes such incidents place a much-needed spotlight on the need for more integrated approaches secure, robust emergency lighting reporting solutions which allow occupants to safety exit the building.
Abtec BT, who launched ARGOHub – a software as a service (SaaS) offering, believes too many buildings reman ill-equipped with outdated emergency lighting systems and testing practices. This means they are not fit for purpose and cannot be relied upon in the event of an incident. Fully supportive of the current industry standards, ARGOHub can be tested in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004/BS 5266-1:2016, which specify the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises.
“Emergency building services is about more than fire alarms,’ comments Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec Building Technologies. “As the focus on building safety continues to increase, it is absolutely vital that those with responsibility for building safety take a good look at their existing systems and ask whether they are truly fit for the purpose they were installed for.
“Building managers must be sure they can control, monitor and test their emergency lighting systems with ease and confidence. We know from experience that integrating technology such as ARGOHub into building management systems will enhance overall building safety and bring peace of mind to building owners, operators and users everywhere. For any building manager who remains unsure of how things can be improved or made more robust and reliable, we are here to help.”
For more information and to download ARGOHub’s white paper visit www.argohub.com.
A new partnership between Abtec Building Technologies and Acutrace will help organisations across the UK benefit from enhanced energy measurement as the drive to deliver smarter, more efficient buildings intensifies.
Acutrace is a cloud-based energy measurement and sustainability platform designed to provide businesses with reliable and accurate energy consumption data. It uses a Measure, Visualise, Analyse and Control (MVAC) process to help organisations save energy, and reduce costs and carbon emissions.
The platform can interface with any building management system and existing energy meters, with data accessible 24/7 from any web-enabled device. The data gathered can be used within sustainability reporting to achieve international certification and standards such as ISO5000, LEED and the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB).
With Abtec acting as Acutrace’s System Integration Partner in the UK, it opens a new market for the Dublin-based software company whilst enhancing Abtec’s existing energy monitoring portfolio with customers able to integrate the platform into their building management projects to create smarter and more efficient buildings.
Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec Building Technologies commented: “Making simple changes to how we manage buildings can have a significant impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions. In the face of rising energy costs, we are finding that more than ever, carbon-conscious businesses are seeking out solutions that help them create more efficient buildings. Acutrace’s measurement platform complements our existing building energy management services, and this new partnership allows us to offer customers across the UK a complete approach to monitoring and measuring their energy use so they can save energy and reduce carbon emissions.”
Aidan McDonnell, CEO at Acutrace, added: “Abtec has a proven track record in delivering successful energy management projects from start to finish. Their turnkey building management offering combined with the Acutrace energy measurement and sustainability software platform will provide businesses and building owners with complete peace of mind when tackling energy measurement projects. We have already collaborated with Abtec on several projects, including the iconic Leadenhall Building in London. The strength of the relationship we have built ensured that when we sought to appoint a System Integration Partner in the UK, Abtec were the logical choice. By working in partnership with them we can ensure our customers across the UK have access to full project support as they reduce energy consumption and decarbonise their buildings.”
Photo Caption: Abtec Building Technologies partners with Acutrace – pictured left to right: Gavin Doyle (Operations Director, Acutrace), Duncan Greene (Head of Technical, Abtec Building Technologies), Dave Watkins (Director, Abtec Building Technologies) and Aidan McDonnell (CEO, Acutrace).
As Abtec Building Technologies seeks to enhance its service offering to industrial and commercial customers, the award-winning smart buildings provider has announced the appointment of Kieron O’Toole as Head of Industrial IoT.
In his new role, Kieron will lead the business unit responsible for the design, implementation and management of IoT and data infrastructure for Industrial and commercial customers – from edge to core to cloud. This will allow Abtec BT to deliver even greater expertise and value in smart buildings and the new wave of smart factories being implemented globally. The Industrial IoT service brings together Abtec’s range of digital services including IT/OT converged data networks; high availability data centres and WAN; cyber security; intelligent lighting, heating and access control; CCTV; presence tracking; and 24/7 infrastructure and energy management.
These digital foundations reduce operational cost and risk for customers, but they also form the bedrock of wider Industry 4.0 programmes such as digital twins, supply chain integration, machine learning and AI optimisation, whilst enabling a world of new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors and applications to be deployed.
Prior to joining Abtec at the beginning of October, Kieron has worked extensively across the industrial and enterprise ICT environments in systems engineering and businesses improvement roles for organisations such as Polestar Interactive and BT Global Services. He is also a member of Aston University’s Industrial Advisory Board and the Institute of Consulting.
Of his appointment, Kieron comments: “It is an exciting time to be joining Abtec Building Technologies. Industrial IoT will play a transformative role in customer experience and production efficiency and will enable new ways of working across the entire supply chain. Using my knowledge and experience, I am looking forward to being part of Abtec leveraging its unique expertise, assets and service wrap in the industrial market to provide our customers a reliable data infrastructure partner.”
Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec Building Technologies, commented: “We are delighted that Kieron has joined Abtec in this new role. He has a proven track record in delivering results, and his expertise will add value to our business as we grow our Industrial IoT service offering.”
A leading integrator of intelligent buildings networks has confirmed its status as a distributor of Siemens KNX enabled technology.
To service Siemens KNX users in the UK, Abtec BT, which is headquartered in Leicestershire, has launched a new on-line brand and profile: KNX Hub. The KNX Hub will serve Siemens KNX users – and those who have a need for approved KNX training and support.
Abtec BT is a multi-award winning business and has been a leading integrator of Siemens KNX products for many years. Several of Abtec BT’s most high-profile projects have used Siemens KNX technology and have been recognised for their technical excellence at industry awards.
The new KNX Hub, which goes live on September 15th 2020 will, over time, be expanded to offer full e-commerce capability and easy on-line ordering.
Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec BT, commented, “As a team, we have a long and special relationship with Siemens and in particular its KNX technology. We are very excited by the opportunities that our distributor agreement presents for both parties. We’re uniquely well placed to offer premium support and training to the market and we look forward to getting things moving. Our new business brand – KNX Hub – will help us to keep our focus; and to better serve the needs of customers. We very much look forward to building on the foundations we’ve put in place.”
Ian Ellis, Marketing Manager at Siemens Building Products: “We are delighted to be working with Abtec on the launch of their KNX hub and look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
To visit the KNX Hub, click here.
Twelve months on from the launch of a ground-breaking emergency lighting software technology, Abtec Building Technologies (Abtec BT) says it is now as important as ever for building managers and operators to focus on building safety.
ARGOHub, a software as a service (SaaS) offering, was launched by Abtec BT last Autumn after five years in development in response to an urgent market need for secure, robust emergency lighting reporting solutions.
With post-Grenfell legislative changes continuing to hit the headlines, the subject of building safety – and buildings which fail to keep occupants safe – remains headline news. Most recently, residents raised concerns about the safety of homes in Brooke House, Basildon, where emergency lighting did not work; the leader of Basildon Council said he would “do what he could” to help residents find new homes if they wanted to move.*
In the commercial sector, with more people returning to their place of work, Abtec BT believes even greater work is needed to shine a spotlight on the ways in which building users can be assured of safety at all times.
Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec Building Technologies, comments: “Building safety continues to need the full attention of our industry – and there must be a ‘no compromises’ approach from building owners and managers. Emergency lighting is about more than the luminaires, and building managers and operators must be sure they can control, monitor and test their emergency lighting systems with ease and confidence. Yet too many buildings reman ill-equipped with outdated systems and testing practices. This means they cannot be relied upon in the event of an incident.
“With the recently launched Draft Building Safety Bill, those with responsibility must take a good look at their existing system and ask themselves whether it is truly fit for purpose. We know from experience that integrating technology such as ARGOHub into building management systems will enhance overall building safety and bring peace of mind to building owners, operators and users everywhere.”
Launched September last year, ARGOHub allows building managers to maintain a close watch on system performance and respond quickly to actual or potential faults. For clients with multiple sites, ARGOHub can be integrated with Google Maps to provide location-based monitoring worldwide. Fully supportive of the current industry standards, ARGOHub can be tested in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004/BS 5266-1:2016, which specify the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises.
For more information visit www.argohub.com.
News this week of the certification of 1000th DALI-2 product, has been welcomed by leading building controls and networks integration company, Abtec BT.
Confirmed by The Digital Illumination Interface Alliance (DiiA®), the open, global consortium of lighting companies that aims to grow the market for lighting-control solutions based on Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI®) technology, the news offers proof of the growing demand for the DALI-2 Protocol.
Launched three years ago, DALI-2 protocol has established itself very quickly as one of the most popular lighting control platforms on the market.
DALI-2 certification involves rigorous testing and independent verification of test results, which gives confidence in cross-vendor product interoperability. Users and supporters of the technology – including Abtec BT – believe that this significant milestone offers proof of the widespread demand for DALI-2 in the lighting control market, as well as belief in its importance to the sector.
Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec BT sees DALI -2 enabled products as a game-changer in the built environment sector. “We have used DALI certified technology successfully on projects for many years. There is no doubt, however, that DALI-2 gives us a wider choice of products as well as more features and increased testing in comparison with first generation DALI products. We predict that the number of certifications will continue to rise as new tech such as Bluetooth and features come on line – and we look forward to using it to its full potential.”
Commenting on the milestone, Paul Drosihn, general manager at DiiA said: ‘The very rapid growth in certification of DALI-2 lighting control products shows no sign of slowing. The progress we’ve seen to date reflects the advocacy shown by the global lighting industry.’
In addition to LED drivers and other control gear, the list of certified DALI-2 products includes application controllers (devices that make decisions and send commands), bus power supplies, and input devices, which provide user-derived and environmental information to the lighting-control system.
During these exceptional times, at Abtec Building Technologies we are continuing to support our customers as best we can. To ensure continuity of service, we have implemented a number of measures.
Where possible our staff are working at home with a skeleton staff working from the office, following government guidance.
We have to think responsibly and consider the safety of our staff, supporting the Government initiative to slow down the COVID-19 pandemic is our number one priority. In line with the advice to only travel if it is absolutely necessary, we have suspended site-based work where possible. Maintenance and site-based work that is absolutely necessary will be carried out under strict physical distancing, as set out in guidance by the government and the World Health Organisation.
As the situation changes, we will continue to monitor the situation and update you in due course. For more information please call us on 01858 438550 or email email@example.com.
We hope you and your families stay safe during these unprecedented times.
A leading provider of building management services is urging facilities and building managers with responsibility for educational establishments to ensure their emergency lighting systems are ‘fit for purpose’ – following a spate of high-profile incidents.
The call for action from building controls specialist Abtec Building Technologies (Abtec BT) comes following a spate of well-publicised safety-related closures of schools and university accommodation blocks across the UK. Notably, students in Bournemouth were recently given the option to leave their accommodation after a series of hazards were discovered, with inspectors expressing concerns over the fire doors, sprinkler systems, emergency lighting and the fire alarm system.
Incidents such as this have placed a much-needed spotlight on the need for more integrated approaches secure, robust emergency lighting reporting solutions.
Abtec BT, who launched a new software as a service (SaaS) offering – ARGOHub – in 2019 believes too many buildings in the education sector reman ill-equipped with outdated emergency lighting systems and testing practices. This means they are not fit for purpose and cannot be relied upon in the event of an incident.
Fully supportive of the current industry standards, ARGOHub can be tested in accordance with BS EN 50172:2004/BS 5266-1:2016, which specify the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises.
“Emergency lighting is about more than the luminaires. From school and college buildings to student accommodation, building managers must be sure they can control, monitor and test their emergency lighting systems with ease and confidence,” says Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec Building Technologies. “It is very worrying that once again, the integrity of emergency lighting in the sector is being questioned. It absolutely vital that all those with responsibility take a good at their existing system and ask themselves whether they it is truly fit for purpose.
“We know from experience that integrating technology such as ARGOHub into building management systems will enhance overall building safety and bring peace of mind to building owners, operators and users everywhere. For any educational establishment that remains unsure of how things can be improved or made more robust and reliable, we are here to help.”
For more information and to download ARGOHub’s white paper visit www.argohub.com.
A white paper that answers questions regarding the benefits of non-proprietary, automatic emergency lighting testing and its benefits to building owners, managers and operators has been published by Abtec Building Technologies.
Effective control and monitoring of emergency lighting systems is more highly prized than ever as building management systems (BMS) come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of recent tragedies.
In response to an urgent market need for secure, robust emergency lighting reporting solutions, Abtec Building Technologies (Abtec BT) launched a new software as a service (SaaS) offering: ARGOHub. ARGOHub offers powerful functionality for the control, management and fault reporting of emergency lighting systems.
The accompanying white paper includes up-to-date information including:
It is essential reading for building owners, operators, managers, facilities managers, health and safety managers, estate managers and bursars operating in the social housing, education and commercial property sectors.
Dave Watkins, Director of Abtec Building Technologies, comments: “At a time when building safety is under scrutiny like never before it is crucial that everybody involved with the management of large occupancy buildings, including schools, colleges, office complexes, factories and multi-storey dwellings, understands the regulations concerning the provision and testing of emergency lighting systems.
“Put simply, building managers and service companies must be able to maintain consistently effective management and monitoring of emergency lighting systems. Our white paper provides a comprehensive overview of emergency lighting and serves as a reminder of what is required in order for emergency lighting systems to be effective.”
The white paper is available for download at https://argohub.com/white-paper/
Abtec Building Technologies (Abtec BT) has provided the control system for the main and emergency lighting systems at a new Siemens facility in Lincoln, rated by BREEAM as ‘Very Good’. The HYDRA integrated building energy management system (BEMS) from Abtec provides the foundation for the solution, ensuring comfortable lighting levels for staff and the testing of emergency lighting in line with the highest safety standards. Moreover, Siemens is achieving energy savings of up to 60% when compared with a traditional installation, delivering an almost immediate return on its investment.
When Abtec won the Siemens contract it immediately began to assess the task in hand. The new-build storage facility was set to feature a large quantity of racking between which lighting fixtures would be required. It was clear from the outset that the choice and setting of such lighting would have to be optimised to deliver the correct lux levels. While the lighting was supplied by another company, Abtec’s remit was to provide the necessary controls, for both the main and emergency lighting provisions, and deliver system integration to the central battery system in the warehouse.
A further task was to provide a solution for the office block, which takes up around one-third of the new site at Lincoln. Again, the objective was to provide the controls for main and emergency lighting. Daylight, presence and manual dimming control were among client requirements in the office block.
“We installed HYDRA, which could not only control the lighting, but also report on the lighting levels being used and any associated cost savings,” explains Russell Downing, Building Controls Engineer at Abtec. “HYDRA advocates open systems and, in this instance, is working with three different networks: IP, KNX and Dali. We needed to ensure that all three systems worked in unison.”
At the Siemens facility, the IP-based network communicates with a two-wire bus system (KNX) for local control, and subsequently with a DALI system. Key to this is the Siemens Gamma N141 DALI/KNX gateway, which enables communication with DALI devices over KNX. A Tridium JACE® 8000 controller and server platform ‘hosts’ the Hydra graphics and facilitates the scheduling of the emergency lighting tests and timeclock functions on the system.
Full control is provided at the new Siemens facility, where lights can be programmed to come on at target lux levels that are defined by the user. Having this system in place means Siemens can capitalise on daylight saving hours whereby lighting comes on at a lower level during the summer months due to the brighter days. In turn, significant savings can be achieved.
“It is important to point out the maintenance capability of HYDRA,” explains Mr Downing. “For example, if a light doesn’t come on, it could be because the lamp needs replacing – HYDRA will tell you what’s wrong. If it’s a ballast failure, then the need to replace and recommission the ballast will be indicated. Ultimately, the client’s engineering team and their representatives now have the capability to maintain the system themselves, quickly, and without calling someone out, thus achieving further savings.”
Emergency lighting was also an important part of the Siemens project. The system that Abtec has installed means that the testing of emergency lighting is performed by a scheduler within HYDRA. The scheduler ensures that maintenance is in-line with the BS5266-1 code of practice.
“Emergency lighting at the facility has a duration test annually and a function test on a monthly basis,” says Mr Downing. “This allows for savings to be made by Siemens as they don’t have to call out an engineer to undertake the tests. By adhering to this code of practice they are also future-proofing against any new legislation that might come into play moving forwards.”
The warehouse at the Lincoln site features a central battery system based on the use of normal luminaires. Here, the Abtec solution not only includes battery system testing, but full system integration. Final circuit monitoring also forms part of the system functionality. When a circuit failure is detected, not only is an alarm raised, but the illumination levels of the remaining lighting circuits are raised to 100%, thus compensating for the loss of illumination from the failed circuit.
Logic functions are used to switch on central battery-supplied lighting over DALI, which ensures 100% maximum load on the central battery system during test periods. Across the site, the system created by Abtec is able to provide the status of PIR presence detectors over BACnet so they can be utilised by the zonal HVAC control system without any requirement for additional sensors.
Abtec also devised a test solution for the self-contained battery system installed within the office block. Here, the luminaires feature integral batteries.
Crucially, the ability of Abtec to pre-program the HYDRA system offsite meant that disruption to the construction process could be minimised. Any late amendment requests were completed during final on-site commissioning.
“Siemens will already be experiencing a highly energy-efficient building, with lower energy bills,” concludes Mr Downing. “What’s more, expenditure on maintenance tasks will be minimal.”
Abtec’s involvement in the new-build project lasted six months. The facility went fully operational in the spring of 2018.