Building Automation, Systems Integrator

What is a Master Systems Integrator (MSI)?

Control systems are more than a collection of subsystems that interact to sense, monitor, or control. Integrating various subsystem components reduces energy demands, increases responsiveness, and reduces overall system costs. It also reduces system complexity.

Having a single user interface to many different subsystems reduces staff training requirements and removes the need to monitor different interfaces, leading to greater efficiency. Single-seat monitoring, control, alarming, reporting, and scheduling are part of the established baseline requirements for improving system efficiency.

Most buildings utilize a variety of technologies installed and provided by multiple vendors. In order to accomplish a fully integrated building, a Master Systems Integrator (MSI) is required to orchestrate the design and integration of these technologies, ensuring uniform integration and sustainability.

The advantages of a single infrastructure reach into almost every aspect of a facility, including reduced up-front construction costs, lower life-cycle costs, improved system management, enhanced back-office reporting, better service, and proactive maintenance.

Enter the Master Systems Integrator. Through a multi-year service agreement (usually a minimum 5 years), this consultant sets up best practices, advises on the campus master plan, and makes sure specifications are installed and enforced so benefits are achieved. Like the IT consultant who designs the campus data network, backbone, and systems, the MSI focuses on the control systems, graphical and point naming standardization, common databases for the subsystems, communications protocols, and system architectures for all new projects. The MSI often consults directly with the facility’s IT group on issues such as security, scalability, and energy management to make sure the objectives for all new building systems are met.

An MSI works directly with the owner and the owner must commit to the MSI’s integration platform, i.e. Niagara based Distech. The MSI will then build and maintain the chosen integration platform. This puts the onus on the MSI for the building systems integration, as well as making sure open systems, open procurement, and fair and competitive bidding practices are used. The MSI is also responsible for the design and implementation of the system standardization, ensuring a common look and feel for the various buildings and systems. 

Soon, it will become more common to see Division 25 RFP’s requesting an MSI. Splitting the specification into two pieces (the MSI and the Controls Contractor) allows for multiple bidders to bid on separate buildings on a multi-building campus, and also offers a common graphical interface design and implementation for the entire campus. The MSI contracts are often for several years, with the option to bid out to others after a period of time. 

LONG has the expertise to be a Master Systems Integrator for you Building Automation Systems. Reach out to LONG for questions on how we can serve as your MSI.

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Joseph Moran

Joe Moran is responsible for the oversight of LONG’s Oregon business units: Building Automation, Mechanical Solutions, and Security Solutions. With over 30 years of experience in the HVAC equipment and controls industry, Joe brings a unique perspective to the LONG team and their valued customers. Joe grew up in the industry. After graduating from University of Portland in 1984, he went work as a salesman for a local HVAC company. Two years later, his dad hired him to build up the HVAC side of the business at Moran Oil Company. He also worked as an Equipment Manufacturer’s Representative for more than 15 years. Later in his career, he took on the role of General Manager for a small independent Contractor, where his proven track record drew the attention of LONG.