The answer is simple: convenience. The purpose of the HVAC (BAS) symbol library is to provide accurate UI graphics and comprehensive symbol sets to building operators so they can better visualize and navigate their commercial space. In 2004, QA Graphics created its first Building Automation System (BAS) symbol library as part of its graphics outsourcing business. In 2006, a large control manufacturer purchased the first iteration. Since that time, QA Graphics has sold the library to countless others as part of its Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) BAS library.
Early in 2008, a trend started emerging in the building automation industry—system integrators and large building owners were struggling to obtain access to better UI graphics. Many control manufacturers failed to provide accurate, nice-looking visuals and lacked comprehensive symbol sets. The symbol sets are vital to building operator interfaces, as they reflect what’s controlling a building. To meet this demand, QA Graphics made their internal library available for sale to non-OEM’s. Each library was sold with a license for system integrators or businesses to use on any project as needed at a one-time cost.
System integrators (SI) benefited greatly, as they now possessed a library that was better looking than anything else on the market. End users who hired these SI’s gained beautiful system graphics, which included 3D equipment and animations. System integrators also gained a symbol library that worked in almost any control manufacture software, making it user-friendly and versatile. Many larger businesses purchased the library to use on all their buildings, allowing these companies to set the same standard for each one of their commercial spaces regardless of the control manufacturer. In other words, operators now had the same system graphics no matter what location or system they logged into.
In 2016, QA Graphics came out with version 5 of the symbol library. The Symbol Library v5 offers a competitive advantage in the BAS industry, delivering more appealing and realistic graphics than typically provided with BAS software. It’s currently one of the largest, most diverse libraries on the market. The extensive symbol catalog allows customers to pick and choose only the graphics that apply to their BAS system. As part of the initial purchase, clients were asked to request any symbols that were necessary to fulfill their customers’ needs within a project. QA Graphics added these symbols to the library for free, and we’ve been rolling out updates every quarter. In conjunction with the v5, our company will be releasing a new symbol library in 2019. This will be a high-end vector library that will address the need for responsive design within the industry, moving to both large and mobile platforms. The Vector Symbol Library will include hundreds of SVGS and animation files, more detailed graphics, and higher resolution images that are easily scalable for a mobile device, granting clients the ability to access their building’s graphics right at their fingertips.