Posted 12th April 2010

BMS, CMMS, CAFM, IWMS, EMS...confused?

Acronyms abound in the world of building management, representing the different software solutions available in today’s market. You may have read recently that Government bodies are under pressure to reduce the amount of jargon and abbreviations used while conducting business. Will they take any notice? Bob Hope and No Hope spring to mind.

So, we are probably stuck with trendy shortcuts and buzz words. But are they all the same? The simple answer to this is no but they are very similar. Each acronym represents a slightly different approach to building management, but there is some overlap.

Try a brief quiz. All you need to do is identify the following acronyms, and tell us what the differences are...

...answers below.

BMS (Building Management System) – Simply put, BMS systems are designed monitor and control a building’s electrical equipment or resources. These may be Security Systems, Fire Systems, Power Systems, Temperature Control etc. BMS systems are more common in large buildings and often linked to other applications for additional performance monitoring and maintenance management.

CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System) – The core focus of a CMMS system is the management of maintenance tasks. CMMS solutions are valuable tools that offer complete control over resource availability and tasks allocation for engineers. The goal of CMMS systems is to ensure the smooth and safe operation of buildings. CMMS systems offer a complete maintenance workflow that includes asset registers, parts/stock systems and ordering systems.

CAFM (Computer Aided Facilities Management) – CAFM Systems extend the reach of CMMS applications by broadening their scope into other areas and offering a complete integrated computerised solution. Typically, CAFM systems touch all areas of an organisation by encapsulating Reactive Maintenance and Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) task management, Room Booking and Resource Scheduling, Stock Control, Purchase Ordering, Health & Safety, Fleet Management to name a few. Links to other applications such as accounting packages and space management are popular.

IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System) – IWMS are very similar to CAFM systems, whereby the focus is on maintenance and resource management. IWMS systems also include estate portfolio and space management...The two key areas in building management.

EMS (Environmental Management Systems) – EMS systems serve to manage an organisation’s environmental and sustainability programs, by closely monitoring the environmental impact of an organisation’s activities.

As you can see there are several approaches to the management of a building or an organisation’s activity. To encapsulate every conceivable angle into a centralised system is an immense challenge. Many software vendors continue to expand their portfolio of modules with the aim of offering their clients a truly centralised system. For example, have a look at the vast arrange of modules offered by Tabs FM. With a unique blend of modules and systems, the TabsCAFM application continues the drive towards a one system, one solution philosophy.


... more than just software