BES700 - Building Systems: Practical Overview

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-08-28 16:16:53.696
Last review date 2018-08-28 16:16:53.697

Subject Title
Building Systems: Practical Overview

Subject Description
This subject provides an introduction to, and an overview of building systems, enabling students to relate to the operation of a building in a safe, energy efficient and environmentally conscious manner.

Credit Status
One subject credit.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

  • Discuss what is involved in making a building sustainable.
  • Identify heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems within a building complex with special emphasis on safety practices.
  • List and briefly describe the main components of the building envelope.
  • Describe the basic refrigeration cycle, chiller operation, including evaporators, condensers and cooling towers.
  • Describe the operation and components of an air-handling unit, illustrating the types of AHU's in various systems.
  • Identify various heating systems with emphasis on boiler operation, safety, heat transfer equipment and hydronic systems.
  • Describe the operation of various building system controls, including electric, electronic and pneumatic systems.
  • Develop knowledge of basic electrical distribution in buildings, with discussion of transformers, panels, diesel generation, transfer switches and emergency power.
  • Identify the water services in large buildings, with discussion of water supply, waste systems and cross contamination of water systems.
  • Describe the importance and necessity of the fire protection system with a discussion of fire safety principles, detection devices, sprinkler systems and suppression agents.
  • Analyze basic computer equipment for control of a building environment to maintain comfort conditions and energy conservation.
  • Identify various ways by which you can optimize the efficiency of your heating, air conditioning, air handling, electrical and water systems.

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Execute mathematical operations accurately.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline


  • Sustainability in the Urban Environment
  • How Can Buildings be "Sustainable"
  • Sustainable Design Criteria
  • LEED Certification of Buildings
  • Health, Safety and Indoor Air Quality

  • Introduction to "Systems"
  • An Inventory of Building (Sub) Systems
  • The Building Envelope
  • The HVAC System
  • Electrical Systems
  • Building Control Systems
  • Water Systems
  • Fire Protection Systems

  • Heat Transmission through the Building Envelope
  • Air Flow into and out of the Building
  • Insulation
  • Air Sealing

  • Introduction to Heating Systems
  • Burners
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Distribution Systems
  • Heating Terminals
  • Alternative Heating Systems

  • Introduction to Refrigeration
  • Refrigerants
  • Mechanical Refrigeration Systems
  • Chillers

  • Introduction to Air Handling Systems
  • System Layouts
  • System Components
  • System Maintenance and Efficiency Issues

  • The Building Electrical Distribution System
  • Lighting Systems
  • Electric Motors
  • Other Building Electrical Systems

  • Introduction to Control Systems
  • The Components of Control Systems
  • Computerized Control Systems

  • Overview of Building Water Systems
  • Domestic Water Systems
  • Water Treatment
  • Water Efficiency

  • Introduction to Fire Protection Systems
  • Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Systems
  • Smoke Exhaust Systems 

Mode of Instruction
Traditional Classroom
Lectures, discussions in the classroom, video 

Independent learning with tutor support.  Instructor will contact you by email.

Prescribed Texts
BES700 Building Systems: A Practical Overview, Seneca College, ISBN/Sku #: 0-00011-713-B. Available from the Seneca Bookstore.

Correspondence students, your text fee is included and your text will be shipped to you.

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Since this is a professional credit subject, marking standards reinforce professional practice by demanding legible, tidy work. Written projects should be well organized and grammatically correct, with proper spelling and punctuation. Late projects are penalized. Please obtain standards, dates and additional information from your instructor.

While attendance is not a formal part of the evaluation process, absenteeism will almost guarantee your inability to achieve a satisfactory grade, as there is no formal provision for make-up tests or projects you may miss.

To attain a passing grade for the subject, a student must complete and obtain a passing grade on all combined projects and tests during the term.  For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy. They are available at Seneca Registration offices.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Projects 20%
Midterms 40%
Finals 40%

Correspondence and Online
Project 1              30%
Project 2              30%
Final                      40%

Approved by: Denis Gravelle