Give me a Compliant Agent
Friday, March 21, 2008 at 06:59AM
Toby Considine in Markets and Innovation, Standards

Compliance is one of the new critical services that intelligent systems can offer buildings and their owners. Compliance is performance plus documentation. Compliance adds value to any process. Compliance can convert a process into a service. Compliance is what lets you know what it is that you have.

Traditionally, compliance is the concern of those with legal requirements. Pharmaceutical manufacture needs to be performed within environmental conditions defined during their approval process. Animal quarters must be maintained in accord with defined best practices. Clinical spaces must be maintained in accord with licensing requirements. Pharmacies must maintain conditions that keep their delicate supplies active.

Compliance also preserves and improves value. Recently, landlords have found that tenants will pay more if buildings are green, but only if the owner can prove it. Energy saving reductions can reduce building healthfulness—monitoring compliance with such standards as those developed by the Healthy Building Institute will prove that health is not being sacrificed to efficiency. Sooner rather than later, tenants will demand and reward provable quality of service (QOS) measurements.

Unfortunately, compliance for building systems tends to be bolted on rather than recognized as an original requirement. Bolted on solutions are not very good. Customer expectations for this market are low. Market expectations are low. There are no common definitions to grow/validate this market.

We need to define a common framework for validation of environmental spaces, define a compliance information exchange as a buildingSmart Information Delivery Model (IDM). IDMs are how information standards fit into buildingSmart. Defined IDMs for compliance will enable designers to incorporate compliance needs into buildings plans at an earlier stage.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing environments, animal research facilities, medicine storage areas in pharmacies, and data centers (to grab a wide handful) all may wish a common data payload. Let’s say that, for the sake of argument, that the requirement of all these what I would call “regulated environment spaces” is Provide a narrow temperature with a tolerance of T’, a humidity of H with a maximum variance of H’, and the ability to document same for compliance checking at an interval not to exceed M minutes. Animal Quarters might need a Ventilation number as well. To add in microelectronics/virus research, we might need Pressure standards.

The IDM becomes a standards-based way to deliver compliance information to the enterprise. The IDM also becomes the basis for specifying the systems that you are revealing, defining standards for autonomous commissioning of the regulated environment space. The same IDM also then become the basis for specification and energy modeling.

Article originally appeared on New Daedalus (
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