Optimal Solutions for Systems Integration


Many people working in offices often have no idea who or what controls the climate, turns the lights on and off or controls who gets to enter the building. That’s the job of companies like Controlworks.

Since 2003, Controlworks has been a leader in building automation and energy management solutions for clients. The company provides services to customers throughout Australia and New Zealand. From its headquarters in Sydney, the company provides building automation services for a number of sectors including education, research, healthcare, industry, retail, and for buildings from offices, hotels and apartments to leisure facilities.

Project and Sales Director Greg Rouse spoke on Controlwork’s success. “We are focused on keeping good relationships with our clients,” Mr Rouse said, adding, “We are able to quickly bring a solution to our customers. ‘No’ is not an answer.”

Specialising in systems integration, Controlworks is responsible for the design, commissioning and installation of products that control the HVAC, lighting, access control, energy management and other building systems.

The company provides training for building management and control systems projects and operates multiple systems on one network from a single software platform. Data from those systems is assimilated and converted into information that that enhances efficiency, comfort and wellbeing for building occupants and owners.

One service Controlworks specialises in is energy management. The company provides tools for building managers and owners to collect data from multiple sources so they can create reports and profiles and see what trends are occurring in a building’s performance. Controlworks creates a central repository to collate, validate and store data from a number of systems.

To support the building and energy management functions, Controlworks performs scheduled preventive maintenance activities for clients as well as on-call service for new and existing installations to sustain the performance of a building and reduce the incidence and costs of equipment failure and repairs. The company also offers a range of virtual monitoring, technical maintenance, energy efficiency and operational support services including:
– Training
– Upgrade notification and installation for hardware and software
– Database backups
– Software configuration
– Routine re-calibration
– Energy audits, remote energy monitoring and performance contracting
– Recommissioning and retrofits on existing systems
– Emergency repairs
– Environmental management systems for car parks

Controlworks is dedicated to designing solutions and developing projects from concept to completion while adhering to all safety, quality and environmental standards. “We are heavily customer-oriented to meeting their expectations,” Mr Rouse explains. “We’re not a massive company compared to competitors, but that gives us the ability to tailor custom-developed solutions for our clients.”

Controlworks uses the Niagara platform from software company Tridium. By operating on the Niagara framework, it has become one of Australia’s largest Certified Systems Integrators (SIs). Niagara can be managed and controlled over a standard internet connection and integrates different systems and devices onto one platform.

The Niagara platform gives the company the ability to integrate, centralise, manage and control different business systems such as temperature, humidity, ventilation, security and energy in any size building and environment. By adapting the software platform through Controlworks, customers can reduce development time and costs while using less energy and lowering operating expenses in their facilities.

Another vendor Controlworks works with is Aircuity. Aircuity is a leading airside efficiency company providing building owners with sustained energy savings by optimising ventilation rates through its intelligent measurement solutions and ensuring building performance through Aircuity Advisor Services. By combining real-time sensing and continuous analysis of indoor environments, the company has helped commercial, institutional and lab building owners lower operating costs, improve safety and become more energy efficient.

The company also operates with KNX open protocol systems for building control and automation applications across commercial and industrial market segments. The system is used for different applications such as lighting control, façade automation (for blinds and windows), HVAC controls, energy metering, security and monitoring, audio-visual control and interfacing, as well as IP connectivity and remote access.

Controlworks provides these quality energy and facility management services to educational and research institutions, data centres, healthcare facilities, industrial facilities, office buildings, shopping centres, hotels, sporting arenas, and cultural facilities. Some upcoming projects the team is working on include data centre expansions in Sydney and Melbourne. “We have recently started contracts with data centres for companies such as Metronode,” says Mr Rouse.

Another customer is Fujitsu, which operates data centres throughout Australia, (consisting of 15,000 square meters of total floor space) with its locations in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. Fujitsu’s data centre service includes uninterrupted facility management, infrastructure support with redundant and failover systems, internal and external cable pathways, continuous security controls, and a support hotline staffed day and night by site operators. Controlworks also monitors the HVAC equipment for Fujitsu as well as fire trip alarms, switchboard multi-function meters, main switchboard fault and condition statuses and monitoring of units. All BMCS data is backed up on dual redundant servers utilising high fault tolerance and high-availability software ensuring operating equipment runs twenty-four hours a day, all year.

Other data and media centre projects the company has worked on include the Channel 9 Playhouse Media Data Centre, ABC/WIN TV Media Hub Data Centre, Optus North Ryde Data Centre Monitoring Canberra/Melbourne, PACNET Data Centre, Metronode Unanderra, Metronode Silverwater and Metronode Sydney and Melbourne.

When the University of Western Sydney opened a multipurpose building, Controlworks provided a BMCS to control and monitor HVAC equipment throughout the building. The system monitors fire trip alarms, status of lifts, usage meters for water, gas usage meters and hydraulic services. There are additional systems to monitor the lighting controls, connections to time servers and the local master time clock. In order for staff to check on these systems, it designed and implemented a web-based graphical user interface allowing the facilities staff to operate the HVAC equipment on an ongoing basis. It also implemented a centralized system to the UWS main BMCS server which houses over twenty-five of the systems monitored by the company across multiple campuses, allowing the staff to view the system from any computer connected to the UWS’ network.

Controlworks’ energy management, safety and facility management services are used in private hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturers throughout Australia. “Healthcare facilities are under huge pressure to maintain and reduce costs,” Mr Rouse shares. “We are working with engineers to help them out with those issues, making sure we install the best systems for them and provide the information reports they need to create data to keep them informed about how to operate as efficiently as possible.”

The company provides solutions to industrial facilities to reduce energy costs, manage consumption and improve plant performance. Facilities it has installed include HVAC plants at Casella’s Winery in Griffith, NSW; and at Sapphicon Semiconductor.

Working with retail companies such as the Westfield shopping group, the company has installed the group’s pilot for IELVS – an integrated low energy voltage system, reducing costs and bringing data together for facility managers. Volumes of data are captured by the IELVS servers allowing constant tuning and performance optimisation along with accurate forecasting of future utilities consumption. “We see ourselves as a key ally to fulfil the goals of our clients,” Mr Rouse says.

He also addresses the challenges Controlworks faces. “We dealt with the global economic slowdown like most companies, but business has been recently picking up,” he shares. “We are seeing strong growth in our target markets.” Indeed, that growth has seen the company expand over the past few years and it currently employs thirty people in NSW, six in Victoria and four in Queensland.

“We are utilising a similar model in our businesses to easily expand nationally,” Mr Rouse explains, crediting the people who work for Controlworks as a major part of the company’s success. “We are a company that is based on family values, finding and attracting the right kind of talent that makes us who we are. We’ve done a lot of recruitment and we like to keep people here long term.”

What has truly set Controlworks apart from its competitors is its approach. “We have a willingness to work with people and can work in any area on their needs,” Mr Rouse says. “We have a down-to-earth approach with people and that’s what makes us successful.”

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

January 21, 2021, 5:38 AM AEDT