Electrical Contracting News (ECN) July 2017 - Page 50

SPECIAL FEATURE HOME AUTOMATION & INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS GETTING SMART WITH CABLING There are clear advantages to making buildings – and construction processes – smarter, but this isn’t just about harnessing the latest digital technologies. It’s also about taking a smarter approach to the basic infrastructure elements such as cabling, says Mark Redfern, managing director at Wieland Electric. B uildings are undoubtedly becoming more ‘intelligent’ in terms of how they are designed and constructed and in the ways they make use of the latest technological advances. Many of these advances should also make the ongoing operation and maintenance of the building more straightforward through its life – one of the key drivers behind the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM). 50 | July 2017 It’s also the case that the ‘building intelligence’ features that get most attention are those that are perceived as ‘advanced’ – because they are seen as being more exciting. For example, there is a great deal of interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the communication opportunities that this offers in a wide range of building types. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the ‘basics’ and how the design and application of the fundamental components of a building can also be smarter. As far as the building’s services go, you don’t get much more fundamental than the cabling. It’s absolutely essential for all of the relatively ‘mundane’ aspects of the building’s performance and habitability, as well as being a necessity for the connectivity that is required for smart performance. Yet because cabling is such a familiar and commonplace component of the building it is actually quite easy to overlook the critical role it plays – in terms of its impact on construction schedules as well the building’s performance. In this context,