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Тerms of reference is the basis of engineer design. Magazine “ABOK”

Magazine “ABOK” (edition 05/2012).

A.S. Vinogradov, Perao technical director
A.V. Mikhailik, Perao general director, member of NP “ABOK” committee “Intellectual buildings and information and control systems”

Keywords: terms of reference, information infrastructure of building utility system’s set, project, design.

Today Russia is frequently called a country of laymen; a country of people who prefer any occupation except the occupation they studied. It is one of the reasons of distrust to experts. And the fact that in building an investor often prefers to be a customer, though he is not a professional in this field, only confirms this opinion. The consequence is the mistakes at all the stages of object’s building or even nonfulfilment of important stages. At the last case the most frequent is the absence of a terms of reference for projecting or its incorrect compiling. The aim of this article is to inform the reader about importance, necessity, timeliness of a correct terms of reference for information infrastructure of building utility system’s set, and also to show the typical consequences in case of careless treatment of this stage.

   The Terms of reference is a basic document; a foundation on which the whole information infrastructure of building utility system’s set is based. And mistakes made at this stage would inevitably lead to great problems during projecting, mounting and operation of the whole set which would be an unstable construction in this case. Let us consider what is necessary for improving the situation.

Information infrastructure of building utility system’s set
   Information infrastructure of building utility system’s set includes:
• data transfer networks (global, local, computer networks);
• voice transfer networks (telephone networks);
• virtual private networks (VPN);
• wireless networks systems;
• television signal distribution systems;
• acoustical warning systems;
• IR-signal transfer systems;
• video control systems;
• control access systems;
• burglar and fire alarm systems;
• door intercommunication systems;
• dispatching and automation systems;
• broadcast network systems;
• common timing systems;
• power supply control systems;
• Uninterruptible power supply and no-break power control systems;
• lightning control systems;
• air preparation control systems.
   The above mentioned systems are always developing and frequently they are the one complex automation solution. The tendency of uniting all utility systems by common data transfer network continually gains in scope. It gives the opportunities of optimal operation, more energy efficiency and lessening of the total price. Every system has additional functions/services for users. First of all, an investor, usually a layman in the field of information technologies, comes to an executor to get such a system for having a final product – the services which infrastructure would provide for final users (leaseholders/clients/owners etc.). An investor aims at getting a final product as soon as possible and in minimum price. Any stages which are not directly connected with infrastructure launching are often interpreted as unnecessary. Working according to the project documentation is a standard for professionals. In some cases a customer is not satisfied by this requirement as interprets it as “unnecessary” expenses. If projecting and mounting functions are entrusted to one executor, one can often hear from a customer: “I do not need a project, I need a working system; it is you who need a project, so do it at your own expense”. It is a sign of a short-sighted position. We constantly have to face poorly working systems, full absence of documentation and necessity of stepping in for defects’ elimination. That is why the auditing of building utility system’s set is so much required.

Information system project
Projecting is the process of project’s developing, that is a set of documentation aimed at creation of a definite object, its operation, renovation and dismantling, and also at checking or presentation of intermediate and final solutions on the basis of which this object was developed. Projecting is a long process and it includes the stages starting from preparation of a terms of reference to prototypes’ testing. In other words, a project is a forerunner of a system. A system carried out by a project would never be better than a project, it can be worse if it is carried out in substandard way but it cannot be better. That is why a project is a major document which shows the system’s potential, and also characterizes the quality of services which would be later rendered to system’s users. The better a project, the better a system. The performance quality depends both on quality and service rate, reaction to problems and fault lookup in a system. It is much more complicated without project’s documentation as one need a higher level of experts and expensive equipment what influences on quality and cost of final system’s services badly. That is why a project is an essential part of a system needed for its efficient operation. Sometimes after system’s launching (without a project) an investor requires project documentation and makes it for already existing system; it only gives an idea about a current system but does not influence quality of services; any expert judgments and changes in a project lead to immediate financial losses as a system is already functioning.

Stage Stage’s name, short description % from information infrastructure % from Total Cost of Ownership
1Compiling of preliminary list of requirements to LAN subject to building construction, its purpose, ground area, utility systems. A customer informs an executor about the facts which can be somehow connected with information network. Except technical specifications request, a planner has to figure out the sense of a customer’s needs and probably suggests unknown services and facilities according to experience. Usually a customer has no need in direct investments at this stage.00
2Forming of a terms of reference for information infrastructure modeling. Formal fixing of all necessary requirements to information infrastructure building utility system’s set needed for commencement of operation and potential requirements. A terms of reference is an essential part of a contract together with floor plan and general site’s layout.0,600,04
3Forming of a terms of reference for information infrastructure building utility system’s set. On the basis of input data a package of engineering documentation is made which includes structured cabling schemes attached to floor plans and general site’s layout, explanatory memorandum, regulatory references, equipment specification.5,500,34
4Completion of planning, handing of engineering documentation to an executor, commencement of designer's inspection. Designer's inspection economizes much funds as the same contractor works both on line laying and on electro-project works. During designer's inspection a planner informs executors and controls the way communication copper and fiber-optic cables are exploit, controls preparation slots and equipment niche.0,330,02
5Laying of communication lines. Carried out by designer's inspection, contractor’s work on preparation and fulfillment is estimated separately by rates of works with electrocables.10,000,60
6Installation of passive network equipment. Installation of equipment boxes, distribution of structured cabling lines by patch panels, mounting of fiber-optic passive.3,780,23
7Verification, marking, structured cabling certification of information infrastructure. After structured cabling certification by required category and line qualification, the most important part of information infrastructure can be considered done. Active equipment which is a big part of budget can be gradually developed, at the same time not loosing potential facilities included in a terms of reference.1,200,07
8Mounting, launching and setup of active information infrastructure, connecting to information infrastructure and other utility system’s set. Works can be carried out immediately or gradually. Well-planned solution is scalable and flexible what enables to avoid repeated costs and to adapt solution precisely according to requirements. Budget of maximum supplying information infrastructure with equipment.78,605,70
9Carrying out of periodic monitoring, service, %/per year0,200,01

   Qualitative infrastructure which meets customer’s requirements cannot be developed without preliminary special evaluations and tests. A customer must be interested in and asks an executor for project documentation, seeks for achieving maximum quality, foresees requests and needs of users. Manufacturing process of projecting is effortful and may take several years. During all these years projecting can be implemented by different executors, be in charge of different representatives of a customer. Requirements may change then, requests and wishes may be forgotten, every project’s participant may include something new to the final system and as a result a product may finally be of low quality.

A terms of reference for information infrastructure of building utility system’s set
   A terms of reference is a source document for projecting of technical object. A terms of reference sets basic purpose of developing object, its technical and performance characteristics, quality coefficient and technical and economic requirements, regulations for necessary stages of documentation making (engineering, technological, software etc.) and its content, and also special requirements. A terms of reference is a foundational document to which a planner adheres. All wishes and requirements have to be pointed in it. Compiling of such document by extensive planning system can take much time and sometimes can be interpreted by a customer as unnecessary work or “bureaucracy”. This stage requires much customer’s efficiency and first of all, it is work to which one has to be ready. An extensive terms of reference not always makes a good impression on a customer as it is a forerunner of huge expenses and investments which would be repaid not in near-term outlook (in case of a commercial object). That is why executors, who are immediately ready to install a system without a terms of reference and a plan, are in favour of such short-sighted customers but not those who insist on necessity of realization of all these stages. For clearness it is better to distribute works on realization of information infrastructure of building utility system’s set on stages with short description of works and percentage of total budget of realization of information infrastructure by maximum amount of equipment and percentage from Total Cost of Ownership (land, building, engineer communications, construction work etc., in future). The analysis was carried out by the authors based on their own work experience. In the analysis of percentage of information structure construction works were not taken into consideration, only directly connected operations and procedures were taken into account. As it presented in this short analysis, investments in the amount of 1.3% from aggregate value to information infrastructure is enough for getting a flexible and scalable solution. Cable lines are in use for decades (warranty period of leading manufacturers is 25 years). All these factors enable to keep and double investments, make them highly efficient. 0.04 % of object’s aggregate value (terms of reference) influences much development and supplying an object with services of utility system’s set, thus increasing assessed valuation of an object and cost of further possession. Considering this, all the participants of building and projecting of system’s set, both from a customer and an executor have to be very responsible by compiling a terms of reference. One should estimate both current and potential needs. The better a planning statement, the better an information infrastructure. That is why a terms of reference is a basis of information infrastructure building utility system’s set. Building utility system’s set would not have complex centralized control without information infrastructure, that is efficient operation and monitoring would be impossible and as a consequence losses on renovation, energy loss etc. would increase. Residential and nonresidential objects with developed information infrastructure are estimated much more expensive of similar objects without such an advantage. It is connected with the fact that an object with developed information infrastructure is easily updated and flexibly adapts to new tasks, and there is no need in serious investments. There are a lot of customers who are not aware of possibilities of modern building systems and information infrastructures. This lack of information together with formal relation of a planner lead a customer to necessity of significant expenses for renovation and modernization of building systems’ set. It lowers customers’ loyalty and increases doubts about necessity of erecting developed building solutions as according to their own experience (or their friends) it caused little profit and much costs. The result is that building systems and especially information infrastructure get minimal priority and financed on the leftover principle. In this case it is the executors’ fault as everything required from a customer is usually presented (input data, paying capacity). An executor being a technician usually does not inform a customer about modern possibilities in engineering and does not go deeply enough in current and potential customer’s needs. Many planners and participants of engineer solutions introduction market concentrate on the role of equipment vendor and forget about the fact that customers require service which systems provide built with equipment but not the equipment itself. Concentration on equipment sale is caused by profit got from the most paid field. There is a trap where an executor looks for easy money and looses customer’s loyalty and does not have the opportunity to get further work. Market participants (integrators, planners) should better change this situation, thus widen market as leading world manufacturers and developers of solutions and equipment do. And the best step is a responsible and deep elaboration of a terms of reference.

2. GOST 21.101–97. System of project documentation for building. Main requirements for project and work documentation.
3. NBP 105–03. Detection of premises’ categories, buildings and outdoor installations for explosion and fire hazard.
4. PUE 7. Arrangement rules for electrical installations.
5. RD 78.36.002–99. Technical facilities of objects security systems. Conventional, graphic denotations of system’s elements.
6. RD 78.145–93. Systems and sets of security, fire and security fire alarm. Rules of procedure and acceptance of work.
7. SNiP 3.05.06–85. Electrical devices.

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