Building Services Engineer Careers

How to become Building Services Engineer

What does a Building Services Engineer do?

Building services engineers design, install, monitor and maintain the infrastructure of domestic and commercial premises. Infrastructure can include water, gas and electrical supplies, lighting, heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration, telecommunications, security and safety systems, lifts and escalators.

Engineers often work in particular areas such as estimating, design, buying or project management. Some also specialise in a particular aspect of building services, such as mechanical systems servicing or environmental impact assessments.

Engineers work closely with clients and other professionals including architects, engineering technicians and builders to integrate systems at the earliest stages of a design project.

Once client requirements have been discussed, design plans are drawn up, using computer-aided engineering and design software. Engineers also take responsibility for the following areas:
  • estimating material, construction, and labour costs, and project timescales
  • putting together tenders
  • coordinating the work of associated technicians and craftspeople
  • testing installations, analysing data, modifying and retesting
  • ensuring projects adhere to health and safety requirements
  • overseeing inspection and maintenance programmes
  • attending meetings, writing reports and giving presentations to managers and clients.

The energy efficiency and environmental impact of buildings is an increasingly important area, and engineers must ensure that new- build projects and modifications to existing sites meet the strict requirements of national and international guidelines and legislation.

Fully qualified professional engineers usually hold incorporated or chartered status.

Chartered engineers are normally involved at a strategic planning level, researching and developing new designs, innovations and more efficient processes for the application of new and existing technologies within their chosen engineering specialism. They are often project leaders and are responsible for teams of incorporated engineers and technicians.

Incorporated engineers specialise in managing the process of applying current engineering solutions in the most cost-effective manner. They have a detailed knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology, and have the skills and know-how to put plans into practice. They often hold key operational management roles.

What's the working environment like working as a Building Services Engineer?

Building services engineers work 35 to 40 hours a week. Extra hours may be required to meet deadlines. On-call duties may also apply to some engineers.

The working environment depends on the job. Typically, this involves time spent working in an office but with regular site visits. A driving licence will be useful.

What does it take to become a Building Services Engineer?

To be a building services engineer you should:

  • have excellent engineering, technology, IT and design skills
  • be able to analyse complex problems and critically evaluate solutions
  • be able to visualise and explain theoretical design solutions
  • have strong decision-making skills
  • have excellent communication skills
  • be able to categorise, prioritise and plan effectively
  • be able to manage others
  • be able to work within budgetary constraints
  • have excellent interpersonal and teamworking skills
  • have a comprehensive understanding of Building Regulations and other relevant legislation.

Building Services Engineer Career Opportunities

Opportunities are good at technician and engineer level. Building services engineers are employed by a range of different organisations including design consultancy firms, major building contractors, building services contractors, architectural practices that design building services installations, and manufacturers of equipment such as lifts. Other employers include the users of buildings such as local authorities, NHS trusts and maintenance companies that specialise in servicing and maintaining building service installations.

Promotion usually involves taking on positions of increased management responsibility. Some engineers move on to become self-employed, for example on a consultancy basis. Opportunities also exist abroad.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Building Services Engineer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
222 Balham High Road
SW12 9BS
Tel: 020 8675 5211

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
Tel: 020 7227 8421

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC)

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