I hope this message finds you and yours well and in good health.
I was happy to read an article in the ASHRAE magazine that was forwarded to me by Kevin Delahunt. The article was written by the President-elect for the 2019/2020 year. With the permission of Darryl K Boyce,
P.Eng. I have reprinted his presidential address in this month’s magazine. His inaugural talk referenced a point of view that many Building Operators share. That today's buildings built are very sophisticated, not only mechanically, electrically and architecturally but as well in the design of operational programming strategies in the control of energy management. We are not keeping up with the speed of change, and the potential of these buildings suffer, costing in investment dollars and loss of return on investments. These challenges include a lack of consistent definitions of what a Building Operator should know, professional qualifications, and standards, as well as gaps in training and education, and Operator practices. The average age of a Building Operator is 57 years old. The training and upgrade of the average Operator have not kept up with the design of facility operation. Addressing these challenges will enhance the value of Building Operators by preparing them to operate high performing buildings in the present and future; it will encourage younger people to enter the discipline as a career choice. The educational institutions will not support a career that is not fully defined.
That in addition to the above, the designers of these systems are failing in accounting for who will be the ongoing operators of the buildings and the systems therein. That the people who have experience with the day-to-day control of the systems and years of operational experience should have a part in the design. What is left, can be a large gap between intent and function.
One key challenge in this area is that educational content is lagging some technological advances in building systems strategies and control. Various educational and training programs for Building Operators exist, but they remain fragmented and do not appear to be meeting the needs of industry. There is no recognized certification system for Building Operators, and confusion exists amongst employers and
operators about the appropriate qualifications and training required. Education and training of building operators are also hindered by an industry culture that does not encourage ongoing training. There needs to be a partnership between designers, industry, and educational institutions to develop a national training and certification strategy that is adaptable to the latest advances in building systems, technologies and provide benchmarks to ensure that the Building Operators are equipped with more consistent, comprehensive, and relevant skill sets.
We have let each other down. The designers for not understanding the users, the educators for not developing the curriculum and following the changes to the industry, the Operators for not staying up with the competencies required of them, and the regulators for not fully managing the syllabus and curriculum. We work in an industry that is technically advanced, the changes are rapid. There needs to be better collaboration between the groups to make this work more effective. Most importantly we must
recognize the gaps, such as Darryl Boyce, P.Eng has pointed out, and then be willing to do the work to close them. We should have in all jurisdictions, a unified education system that is including, but not limited to governments, associations, industry, and educational institutions. It will be a long road, but as with any journey, first, you must get off the porch!
Take Care, Stay Safe , be Kind to one another.
Copyright © 2021 Building Operators Association Canada - All Rights Reserved.
Designed By Mike Thompson