Having said that, in line with the downturn in new buildings, the number of full building refurbishments is also expected to reduce due to the difficult economic climate.
As intelligent building controls have become more complex, the value of each individual contract has risen significantly so that contracts valued between £100 000 - £350,000 represent the largest share by value.
Perhaps not surprisingly, London and the south east account for the largest regional expenditure on intelligent building controls and for 32 per cent of the total UK expenditure. This is clearly down to the large number of non-residential properties within the region.
Although society's attitude to energy usage is changing and there is an increasing awareness of the need to reduce the consumption of natural resources, this alone will not drive the demand for intelligent building controls. Nevertheless, the importance of corporate social responsibility on companies' growth strategies should not be underestimated; an organisation that displays its green credentials is more likely to be favoured by the public.
While the need to reduce energy largely drives the specification and installation of intelligent building systems, building services are made up of many other systems, such as heat pumps, solar thermal and combined heat and power. Packaged systems like these will only be energy efficient if their controls are integrated.
Companies are also more conscious of their energy expenditure. End-users of IBC systems have become more aware of the need to obtain information about their buildings. The information can subsequently be used to develop performance indicators and to identify ways in which energy expenditure can be reduced. As a result, end-users are becoming more willing to invest in IBC systems.
Legislation is another main driver for the increased use of intelligent building controls. Part L of the 2006 UK Building Regulations was heavily influenced by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), notably the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates.
All new buildings have to pass through the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) calculation (or equivalent). Achieving this increases the requirement for a better control of HVAC systems and also sets a requirement for energy monitoring. This increases the scope of building controls because the energy metering system is usually linked to the IBC system.
The latest revision of the EPBD began at the end of 2007 and is likely to increase the emphasis on the controls requirement of HVAC systems in order to increase the energy efficiency of buildings. The IBC market can therefore look forward to further growth, despite the current economic climate.
BSRIA Proplan is a global market research specialist in the building environmental controls, fire protection and security sector. BSRIA Proplan is led by BSRIA senior researcher Jeremy Towler.