New RIBA guidance sets out to demystify smart building technology 

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The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published its Smart Building Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published its Smart Building Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work. Developed with ScanTech Digital, Glider Technology, Kier and Hoare Lea, RIBA says this free resource will support anyone involved in the design of newbuild, retrofit or refurbishment projects to implement smart building technology. The Smart Building Overlay introduces smart building terminology and outlines the benefits of embedding smart building technology from the outset. Its principles can be applied to projects of all scales and scopes.

At a domestic level, smart technology can be used to remotely and automatically manage heating, lighting, security, appliances, electric vehicle charging and air quality.   Commercially, it can support business activity and space versatility, and optimise management and maintenance regimes. For example, in an office building, a system that automatically adjusts lighting and heating in response to weather conditions and occupancy levels can reduce energy consumption and operational costs as well as providing user comfort.

Smart building technology also supplies data on building performance, helping to evaluate and address operational energy usage, and mitigate safety risks.

RIBA President Muyiwa Oki said:  “The Smart Building Overlay is a helpful roadmap to guide built environment professionals in using smart technology, which is an important tool to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. Our research shows that, too often, the decision to include smart technology in a project is often made too late. So, this guide prompts the client and project team to integrate smart technology discussions at every stage of design and construction. It recommends involving specialists at the earliest possible stage to ensure successful project outcomes.”

Recently RIBA also published new guidance to ensure that stakeholder engagement is considered, when appropriate, at every stage of planning, designing and constructing buildings and places. The Engagement Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work is a free resource for built environment professionals, developed in collaboration with the Association of Collaborative Design (ACD)Sustrans and supported by the Landscape Institute.