Our Industry

Optimize Building Performance: Troubleshooting a BMS Post-Installation

By Jim Murray

Building Management Systems (BMS) are critical for the efficient operation of modern facilities. However, it is common to find that a BMS doesn’t work as intended post-installation. This can be due to several reasons, which, if not addressed, can lead to inefficiencies, and increased operational costs.


One primary reason for a BMS not functioning correctly is the lack of proper load for testing. Facilities like data centers are often built and equipped with a BMS before they become fully operational. In these early stages, these data centers may not have the necessary equipment to generate the load required to test all aspects of the BMS. Some proactive owners use load banks to simulate full load conditions to ensure proper system testing. However, only some projects adopt this practice, leading to untested systems and unresolved issues.

Another common issue is that the BMS was incorrectly installed or configured. And without thorough commissioning and optimization, the system may not perform as expected. This lack of a comprehensive testing phase means that problems might only become apparent months later.


It can take months to identify a malfunctioning BMS because one primary indicator is a change of seasons. Transitioning from summer to fall involves switching from full cooling mode to economizer mode. If the BMS hasn’t been thoroughly tested and optimized, it might not handle this transition smoothly, leading to a lack of expected energy savings and inefficiency.

Tenant complaints are another red flag. Frequent issues with temperature control, air quality, or other environmental factors often point to a poorly functioning BMS. When the system isn’t properly managing the building’s needs, it reflects in the comfort levels and satisfaction of the occupants.


Commissioning is crucial to avoid these issues. This process ensures the BMS is installed correctly, and all parts of the system function as intended. Commissioning is just the first step. To optimize building performance, ongoing monitoring and optimization are necessary. This involves regularly checking the system’s performance and making necessary adjustments to ensure it continues to meet the building’s needs efficiently.

Do you have a question or think your building may not operate correctly? Let’s connect! Send me an email at jmurray@wbengineering.com.