• How is the construction sector affected by the smart building trend?

    Smart buildings can provide a boost for those who use the buildings and those who manage them. The buildings themselves can monitor and control various functions such as ventilation, lighting, heating and security.

    But the systems require adaptations and new skills among architects and project planners.

    The term ‘smart building’ is used to describe buildings that use sensors and monitoring to regulate the indoor environment. The first smart buildings were introduced in the 1980s, although the technology’s early use for smart homes goes back even further – to the 1960s and 1970s. Recently, climate-smart buildings have become increasingly popular, with buildings being able to optimise their energy consumption by regulating temperature, air quality and lighting according to how many people are in the building.

    Integrated and standardised information management needed

    Smart buildings often require a different type of information management regarding the construction project. This is because smart buildings involve a variety of technical systems and devices, such as sensors, control systems, communication solutions and IoT devices. To integrate these technical systems and devices, it is important to manage information regarding the construction project in a structured and organised way.

    A key aspect is that different systems must be able to communicate with each other, with data collected in a smart, future-proof manner. This requires common standards. Some examples are EN 16484 and EN 15217, which are European standards for integrated control and monitoring of technical systems in buildings, and IFC (Industry Foundation Classes), which is a standard for exchange between different software programs in the construction industry. Information management should also cover the entire life cycle of the information, i.e. from its creation to its archiving or erasure.

    Area of focus and rapid development

    Smart buildings are an area in which technology is developing rapidly. This requires architects and construction companies to keep up to date with the latest technologies and how they affect architecture and design. Smart buildings often require a flexible design that can be adapted to different needs and technical systems. For this reason, not only do architects need to know how to integrate the various technical systems and sensors into the buildings, but they also need to consider flexibility in the design so that buildings can be adapted and developed over time. When calculating the costs of a smart building project, slightly higher construction costs must also be weighed against the benefits in the operation and management phases.

    Constructing smart buildings requires adjustments to the construction process to ensure that technical systems and devices are integrated effectively. This means that the different technical systems and devices are planned and installed so that they work together in an optimal way. Last but not least, good training and comprehensible documentation and manuals are required for the users of smart buildings.

    App control and smart technology also for the private sector

    Smart building technology has also made it popular for individuals to integrate smart technologies into their homes. Again, heating, lighting and monitoring are at the forefront.Using an app to control everything from boilers to lighting and robot vacuums has become commonplace. This naturally also affects the design and construction of private buildings. More flexible design, integrated wireless networks, smart heating systems with solar panels and much more require knowledge and new skills from architects, contractors and construction companies.

    To summarise, there are great gains to be made for both the environment and for those who use and manage smart buildings. They are more comfortable and energy efficient and can help achieve a more sustainable society. However, the new technology requires training and standardisation to reach its full potential.



    Request a demo