Many of the systems that go into a commercial building are anticipated to have a long lifetime. We expect building materials such as structural steel or concrete to last for the life of the building. The mechanical and electrical systems are expected to have a service life that may be from 15 to 40 years, depending upon the systems selected. At the same time, there are parts of the building that have fairly short lives. For example, carpet and paint may only be expected to last for five years before needing to be refreshed. If we start looking at the owner’s equipment, we find that much of the IT gear, such as PCs, printers, and networking equipment, may have a service life of 2 to 5 years before becoming functionally obsolete.
So where do controls and BAS fit in this mix? Well, since they are part of the mechanical system, it seems reasonable to expect them to last for up to 40 years. In reality, some parts of the control system (such as dampers or valves) might very well last that long. But the vast majority of the control system is more similar to the owner’s IT gear than to mechanical equipment and is going to have a much shorter lifespan. How short? The answer is “it depends.” Here are some general rules of thumb: