Latest News - Abtec Building Technologies

18
Aug

Industry award for Abtec

Abtec Building Technologies has been awarded accreditation from Safecontractor for its commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety.

Safecontractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors.

Abtec is principally involved in the building services sector, specialising in reducing the energy used by large buildings with the implementation of ‘smart’ building technology.  Last year saw a record turnover for the company with a number of high profile projects, including; Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, F1’s Red Bull Racing factory, and Damien Hirst’s new London gallery.

Dave Watkins, commercial director at Abtec Building Technologies, comments; “We are continuing to see lots of growth and this accreditation will enable us to deliver that growth safely.”

John Kinge, technical director of Safecontractor said, “More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Abtec has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.”

Under the Safecontractor scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users only via a website.

23
Jun

New Emergency Care Hospital Supported by KNX

Abtec’s latest KNX project is now live.  England’s first specialist 24/7 emergency care hospital is now delivering services to patients.  Behind the scenes, the Northumbria Specialist Care Hospital in Cramlington, has over 3,500 KNX devices and 6,000 DALI luminaire fittings.

Novel uses for KNX

Abtec designed, configured and deployed the hospital’s extensive KNX and DALI networks.  As well as controlling standard devices, such as heating and cooling, there are novel uses for the protocol too.  Theatre anaesthetic gas volumes are monitored, with alarms triggered if they breech set points.  Critical blood bank refrigerators’ temperatures are monitored to ensure the safe storage of bloods.  Water temperatures are kept to a rigid monitoring regime too, to mitigate the threat of legionella.

Automated emergency lighting testing

The hospital’s entire lighting uses DALI over KNX to deliver sophisticated, interactive lighting control.  The lighting design complies with CIBSE Lighting Design Guide L2 specification, and emergency lighting testing and reporting is now a scheduled automated process.

Abtec’s KNX engineers created several areas of integration with other building control protocols.  The building’s third party access control system now integrates with lighting and climate control.  Access cards no longer just open doors they also trigger lighting and heating in certain rooms.

Dave Watkins, Commercial Director Abtec Building Technologies, notes “This is another great example of KNX going beyond room and building control.  The open standard is now being used to monitor critical resources in the building”.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital opened on 16th June 2015 and is the first purpose-built hospital in England to have emergency care consultants in a broad range of conditions on site 24/7.  The new emergency care hospital will treat seriously ill and injured patients from across Northumberland and North Tyneside and is part of Northumbria Healthcare’s new model of emergency care which will help save more lives and improve clinical outcomes for more patients.

11
Jun

Protecting Buildings from Cyber Attack – Part Two

In our second article for KNX Today looking at protecting buildings from cyber attack we explore tactics to protect BMS and head ends.  You can read the full article here:
KNX Today

 

Over the last two years we’ve seen an increase in the number of attacks against automated buildings.  Many of these attacks, including the ones that have made the headlines, have occurred because of the lack of security added to the BMS when installed.

Knowing what security measures to take and, more importantly, how to implement them is a challenge.  This is where we can help.  Our sister organisation, Abtec Network Systems, has specialist knowledge to help secure BMS and head ends.  It has helped many BMS and energy specialists harden their network connections and add appropriate security to projects.

It’s worth talking to the client about security from the early stages of the project as this will help identify what kind of security is appropriate.  Most of the BMS security measures we discuss in the article are low cost and fairly simple to implement.  Some of your larger projects will warrant additional security measures, for example if the project includes building access control, and again we can help here too.  We can work on your behalf, identifying the best security measures to take, with your client.

Call us on 01858 438 550 to discuss how we’ve helped other specialists like you secure their clients’ projects.

Don’t forget we’ve also created a free training session that looks at securing building automation projects.  You can book onto this here:

CPD Training

 

Also, our white paper looking at the best way to provide remote connections to BMS can be found here, it’s well worth a read.

White paper
11
May

Protecting Buildings from Cyber Attack – article highlights steps to protect KNX projects

In our latest article for KNX Today, the leading online KNX journal, we explore some of the steps to take to protect KNX projects from cyber attack.  You can read the article here.

Attacking industrial control protocols and building management systems (BMS) is nothing new. Over the last 18 months however, the number of reported attacks on such systems appears to be growing. The common thread between some of the more notable cases is Internet Protocol (IP) networks. The trend in deploying building control projects over IP networks has the potential to make those systems less secure – if you don’t exercise appropriate IP security.

The article highlights some of the simple steps to take to secure KNX projects delivered over IP networks.  It’s part of a series of articles that addresses the changing deployment methods of BMS systems.  Historically these systems have been deployed on their own self-contained network.  It’s now popular to deliver KNX and BMS projects over IP networks.  The articles focus on protecting these projects from cyber attack.

For more information about how to deploy KNX and BMS projects over IP sign up for our free training

CPD Training

 

or download our white paper “Providing Remote Access Connections for Building Services Projects”

White Paper
25
Mar

Remote Access White Paper for M&E, BMS and BeMS Engineers

Remote Access for BeMS, BMS and Building Control Systems

As BMS, building and energy control systems get ever more sophisticated, many now come with remote access options out of the box.  The benefits of remote access for BMS and building control systems are pretty clear; the ability to deploy changes and resolve issues without the cost of travelling to site.  For energy specialists they also provide a great way to monitor energy use remotely.
Download

 

The challenge is that many of us are using standard internet access to make those remote connections.  This, together with the fact that many popular BMS and building control systems don’t have the strongest built in security, can create vulnerabilities for your clients.

This white paper explores what other options are available for consultants and engineers.  It highlights the variety of connectivity technologies and suggests what would be best to use when.  The paper recommends using private, secure networks rather than the internet to access client sites remotely, and gives clear recommendations to help identify the right network provider for your projects.  The great this is that the cost of private, secure connections that avoid the internet is about the same as standard internet connectivity.

Download the white paper here.

Download

 

And don’t forget if you need help with IP networks we’ve developed a free, accredited training session that can be delivered at your premises.  Find out more here.

CPD Training
21
Oct

Abtec at the Building Controls Show

We are looking forward to visiting The Building Controls Show on Thursday 23rd October.  As well as giving us a great opportunity to look at new controls technology, we will also be delivering our CPD, Navigating IP Networks.

It will be interesting to compare this event to the Light and Build 2014 exhibition we visited earlier this year.  One of the biggest take away points here was the idea of connected devices.  Most of the new products we saw were connected, at some point, to a network.   The interesting point was just how little the manufactures of those connected devises had thought about network security.  Many were flummoxed by simple questions around security.

This is exactly what our CPD offers, a guide to how to protect your projects from cyber security threats when delivering projects over IP networks.

You can book onto the CIBSE accredited course when you arrive at the exhibition.

 

8
Aug

New IP Networks CPD Training Available

After raising an important issue regarding security in building services deployment in the CIBSE Journal.  We’ve decided to launch our own training for M&E engineers, building services consultants and engineers.

The IP networks CPD training, which has been approved by the Charted Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), is free and can be run on your site.  It can be run over a lunch-hour with plenty of time for questions and answers.

As more building building controls and building management systems are deployed over IP networks the training delivers the following:

  • How to select the right type of IP network
  • An appreciation of security and redundancy in networking
  • How to provide secure remote access to building control devices

Download our brochure about the course.

 

CPD Download

 

To book a session or for more information contact us on 01858 438 550.
16
Jul

Abtec Building Technologies Helps Create Europe’s Greenest Building

Abtec Building Technologies, the UK’s leading building control experts, has revealed the extent of its work on Europe’s greenest building, the Crystal.

This iconic, East London building was opened to the public on 29th September. “It’s fantastic to see Abtec’s cost and energy reduction expertise in use in this landmark building” says Dave Watkins, MD of Abtec Building Technologies.  Read all about it in this new case study.

The uniquely shaped, glass-clad structure is London’s newest landmark and encompasses an area of more than 6,300 square metres. Inside is the world’s largest exhibition on the future of cities covering 2,000 square metres. The high-tech exhibition is fully interactive with two immersive film theatres and more than 50 screens with a host of games and experiences that help visitors explore the cities of the future.

Abtec’s role in this historic building included:

  • Designing and implementing the building control system for the lighting; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; blinds and window ventilation
  • Integrating intelligent window and roof vent actuation to the main building control system, to enable natural ventilation and air flow
  • Building the external façade lighting control

“Our technology has helped Siemens take complete control of the building. It will be integral as the building aims to be one of the greenest in the world” adds Dave.

10
Jun

Time to get Serious About Security

We’ve raised an important issue for building contractors in this month’s edition of the CIBSE Journal.  As our industry starts to deploy more projects onto an IP network, do we have the relevant knowledge of IP networking to do this securely?

Lack of networking security is an issue that we see will grow and grow.  In recent months we’ve seen a number of high profile building hacks that have hit the headlines. One of Google’s Australian offices was hacked into in 2013, the hackers were able to download floor plans and access the building’s controls. In December 2013 malicious hackers ‘compromised’ an estimated 40 million customer credit card details of US discount store Target.

It’s alleged that the Target hack was executed through a remote access connection set up by a HVAC company that provides remote monitoring into large refrigeration units. Whilst the details of the Target hack are still sketchy, an investigation is still ongoing, we are certain that the Google hack was delivered by an unsecured ‘back door’ into the company’s BMS.

Does this mean that BMS systems are inherently unsecured?

Absolutely not, what it highlights is that our industry’s attitudes to security matters needs to change.  We’ve raised this issue in this month’s edition of the CIBSE Journal, the trade journal for building services engineers.

We’ve helped many BMS and M&E contractors ensure that their projects are deployed safely and securely. Our Network Design Validation Service helps reduce the risks of problems occurring to your projects, and can ease the deployment of the project too. Contact us on 01858 438 550 for more information about our Network Design Validation Service.

12
May

New online store for the building professional

Abtec Building Technologies is behind an innovative online store for professionals involved in construction and building. The website, Lighting for Professionals, is aimed at M&E engineers, interior designers, architects and anyone else involved in the construction market.

“With Lighting for Professionals you can order high quality LED light fittings. The items on the site have been selected because of their durability, high quality LED components and ease of fitting.” pronounces Chris Topham, Head of Marketing at Abtec.

The site holds much of the stock of the Spanish LED lighting company BPM Lighting. “We’ve been working with BPM Lighting for some time now and we are really pleased to be the first UK online retailer supplying BPM’s products” adds Topham.

The site offers a trade account function that offers customers additional discounts and extended payment terms. Find out more by visiting www.lfp.uk.com