How Much Does A BMS Upgrade Cost?

January 13, 2022 By Mid-Atlantic Controls 4 minute read

a facilities manager views warehouse building management system settings on an electronic device

Nothing lasts forever, including your building management system (BMS). As a BMS gets older, upgrading is often the best and most economical way to extend your system's life.

To nail down the cost of a BMS upgrade, a controls contractor must account for a range of considerations, such as:

  • The size (square footage) of your facility
  • The equipment types and number of devices
  • The features and functionality required

An upgrade is a cost-effective way to meet modern management needs and, at the same time, prepare your system for the future. Let’s explore the details of what goes into a BMS upgrade cost.

How Do You Know You Need a BMS Upgrade?

Upgrading your BMS lets you benefit from the latest smart technologies without replacing your existing equipment. Advanced energy management features can help save on energy costs, while intelligent settings can increase operational efficiency.

Building management systems become more and more challenging to use as they age. Here are some signs that your system is ready for an upgrade:

Support no longer available – You cannot get replacement parts or find technicians with the old-school know-how to keep your system going.

Degraded performance – Poor network speeds, outdated user interfaces, and inadequate equipment management options hamper your facility management efforts.

Decreased reliability – Maintenance, repairs, and recalibrations become increasingly frequent and expensive, making your system nearly inoperable.

Eventually, you’ll reach a point when the cost to maintain your system outweighs the cost of an upgrade. But how much does a BMS upgrade cost?

Read More: Security Risks With Old BAS Systems

Factors That Contribute to BMS Upgrade Cost

A building management system upgrade cost can run from $25K for a small structure with minimal equipment to $3M for a large campus with many buildings.

That’s an extensive range! Where the cost for your specific upgrade sits on the spectrum depends on several factors.

Size of building

Typically, the smaller the building the less costly it will be to upgrade it. Small buildings have less square footage and equipment, and fewer tenants than larger facilities, such as shopping malls, hospitals, and office complexes.

Building type also affects the cost of an upgrade. A sensitive environment, such as an operating suite, has specialized needs that make upgrading more challenging, which adds cost.

Number of buildings

The more buildings involved, the more a BMS upgrade will cost—more buildings mean more equipment, more sensors, and more network devices. However, upgrading also allows you to increase energy efficiency across all your facilities, adding significant savings over time.

Managing multiple buildings also increases complexity when it comes to controls. For example, a government complex could have office space, laboratories, and archive buildings, each with unique needs for comfort and safety.

Equipment

Equipment type also factors into the building management system upgrade cost. Your facility may have a simple HVAC-only system, or there may be HVAC, lighting, fire, security, and access control. High complexity means heightened cost.

The age of your equipment has a bearing on upgrade costs, too. Integrating an older system requires specialized controllers, as legacy systems are often proprietary and only operate with equipment from a particular manufacturer. 

However, with today’s technology, a controls contractor can integrate a proprietary system into a non-proprietary “open” BMS to provide a unified management portal. This type of legacy upgrade costs a little more but preserves the value of your equipment, allowing you to maximize your original investment.

Functionality needs

Advanced technology gives you many flexible options for building management, but it also increases BMS upgrade costs. When determining the functionality required, it helps to evaluate your current system.

  • What’s working for you right now? What isn’t?
  • What information would help you improve building management?
  • How is building data transferred?
  • Are people who need information able to get it?
  • What is your goal for energy efficiency?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the advanced features available in a new BMS, but you ultimately want to focus on a system that makes it easier to manage your building. That’s the functionality you should prioritize.

Also, BMS needs may evolve as time goes on. Put some thought into the next five to ten years—will there be renovations, different tenants, or expansion to a larger campus? Securing advanced functionality with an upgrade today can prepare your BMS for the future.

BMS Upgrades by MACC

At MACC, we have decades of experience upgrading a wide range of building management systems from hospitals to schools to national operations centers. We’re dedicated to open platforms that give our clients maximum flexibility regarding equipment selection and maintenance.

Legacy systems we can upgrade include:

We’re proud to provide clients a superior experience by working together to create a path to the upgrade that works for their facility and budget.

Budgeting for a BAS Upgrade