WHAT ARE A BUILDING NETWORK OPERATOR'S RESPONSIBILITIES?
June 17, 2020
We are approached by an increasing number of clients requiring a Building Network Operator (BNO) installation for their development project, but they are understandably confused by the patchy information available.
Here we provide a handy summary of exactly who a Building Network Operator is and what their responsibilities are.
What is a Building Network Operator?
A ‘Building Network Operator’ is an organisation that owns the electrical installation between the ‘intake’ and the home (or business) owner’s installation (their fuse board) in a property that is split into more than one premise.
The Building Network Operator may be an organisation with an electricity distribution licence (such as the DNO - Distribution Network Operator - or an IDNO - an Independent Distribution Network Operator).
Alternatively, because the regulations deem this to be a licence-exempt role, it could be another organisation such as the building owner or outsourced to a Facilities Management company.
What are typical examples of BNO installations?
There are two predominant occurrences when you have a true BNO installation.
* When you request a new electrical supply for a multi-premise development from your DNO, but they do not undertake works beyond the intake.
UKPN covering the South East do not.
For example, you may have a mixed-use development of retail and apartments. In the offer from your DNO, they may offer multiple MPANS so each can have an individually metered supply, but the DNO’s work may stop at the main intake. In this situation, you need to arrange for an alternative contractor to install between the intake and the meter and this will be a BNO installation.
* When you are converting a property which has an existing supply and the DNO confirms the existing supply is sufficient for your requested capacity.
For example, this is most common when a commercial property is being converted into apartments. There may be an existing bulk metered supply on site, perhaps even a substation owned by the DNO, and they offer you multiple MPANs to repurpose the existing supply for your apartments. An alternative example is an existing commercial property being split into multiple units – on a retail or business park. Once again, you need to arrange for an alternative contractor to install between the intake and the meter and this will be a BNO installation.
What are the responsibilities of the BNO?
Regardless of who it is, the Building Network Operator will be responsible for the design (to IET wiring regulations BS 7671), installation and maintenance of the electrical installation past the intake point.
In short, if there is a fault or issue with the cables, boards, switches or isolators, it is the BNO’s responsibility to resolve it, at their cost. Imagine if a supply to an apartment or business was suddenly lost, it would be the BNO’s responsibility to get the power back on.