The success of the BACnet protocol revolves around whether or not manufacturers
truly produce building automation components that work together in any environment.
The surest way to determine this is through thorough testing of BACnet equipment.
Thus, compliance testing and interoperability testing lie at the heart of the
BACnet Manufacturers Association (BMA) activities.
The association formed the BACnet Test Laboratories (BTL) in 2000 to perform
the testing necessary to create a BACnet product listing program that cites
building automation interoperability, similar to the format used by the Underwriters
Laboratories in the testing of products for public safety.
BMA awarded the first test lab contract to Cimetrics Inc. of Boston. Under
this 12-month contract, Cimetrics will staff the lab; manage the development
of testing procedures and tools; and test products for BACnet compliance. BMA
officials monitor all of the lab's activities to ensure accuracy and fairness
in testing. The testing is done on-site at Cimetrics in a dedicated area outfitted
as a standalone laboratory.
The association is in the midst of an initial test qualification program that
gives BTL's test labs experience with new test tools and procedures using real
products. The trials also allow current BMA corporate members to have their
products tested and listed before other companies in the building automation
systems marketplace, says James Butler, BTL manager.
All test procedures have been developed by a working group of BMA members and
are based upon the draft compliance-testing standard created by the BACnet committee
(ASHRAE 135.IP). Tests performed depend on the product category and the BACnet
functionality specified in the testing application submitted by the product
To-date, seven manufacturers have submitted a total of 28 individual BACnet
products for testing. The results of the first round of testing from the initial
test qualification program will be released simultaneously later this fall.
After a product has been tested successfully, BMA will list it in an official
publication and on its website. Applicants must pay a listing fee of $2,000
per product for the first year and $1,000 per product each year thereafter.
Products that have been tested and listed may display the black-and-white BTL
logo. Negotiations are under way between the BMA and the BACnet Interest Group
Europe that will likely lead to a reciprocity agreement for product testing
"It's likely that consulting engineers and end-users will prefer to specify
and purchase listed products where BACnet capability is required," explains
Butler. "The BTL logo provides assurance of a high degree of compliance
with the BACnet standard."
Detailed requirements for testing can be found on the BMA website (www.bacnetassociation.org).