Survey: UK housing market 'unprepared' for smart buildings

A UK survey conducted by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and Scottish electrical trade body SELECT has found that 55% of building services providers feel that a ‘lack of clear advice/knowledge’ is a barrier to installing connected technology in buildings.

Among the consultants, engineers, end clients, local authorities and facilities managers who responded to the ‘Connected Technology Survey for Clients’ survey, four out of ten (40%) said they were unfamiliar with the implications of the phrase ‘Internet of Things.’

Approximately six in ten (61%) working in building construction and management furthermore stated that they have no plans to ‘evaluate and install connected technology.’ In spite of this finding over half of respondents say ‘a limited number’ or ‘very little’ of these buildings have connected technology installed, but a similar number expect this to increase to a ‘significant’ or ‘overwhelming majority’ in the next five years.

With many feeling buildings across the residential, commercial and industrial industry will soon become smarter despite a lack of clarity surrounding connected technology, the organisations involved state they aim to work to educate stakeholders on its benefits.

“The survey findings show that clients rightly recognise that a smart technology revolution in buildings is on the horizon, but are generally unprepared and lack the knowledge at present to make this a success,” said Steve Martin, head of specialist groups at the ECA.

“In the coming period, the ECA will work with the wider industry to help building clients develop and implement plans to take advantage of these commercial and technological opportunities.”

Dr Hywel Davies, technical director at CIBSE added: “As digital technology becomes ever more pervasive, it will have an increasing penetration in the buildings sector. The real challenge for our sector is to deliver digital technologies that can satisfy users who are used to technology offerings, functionality and user experience from Silicon Valley.”

At present, clients said the main reason for installing connected technology was to ‘improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills’ (58%). Over the next five years, respondents said the technologies most likely to be installed in buildings are: CCTV and security (78%), heating (74%), fire systems (69%), and BEMS (67%).

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