Building Services Engineer

Outline of Job

The job of a building services engineer is to ensure energy resources used in a building are cost-efficient, environmentally friendly, adhere to public safety guidelines and meet building regulations. They will be highly involved in the construction of a building, in areas including elevators, lighting, air-conditioning, fire safety and water supply. A building services engineer will liaise with construction workers to ensure safety is upheld and minimal affect is done to the environment.

Daily Activities

  • Meeting with clients and construction workers to advise on energy efficiency and help reduce carbon footprint
  • Working on several projects at once
  • Monitoring project budgets
  • Negotiating contracts with clients
  • Working alongside construction workers including builders and surveyors
  • Using computer programs to design plans and technical drawings for projects
  • Monitoring the work of freelancers
  • Ensuring safety issues are upheld
  • Monitoring maintenance and the removal and installation of equipment
  • Using engineering knowledge to advise others

Skills Required

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Able to read and understand building plans
  • Able to work as part of a team and as an individual
  • Able to relate information to others
  • IT competent with design programs
  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding of building regulations
  • Knowledge of natural resources and safety guidelines

Expected Earnings & Conditions

Typical starting salary is £17,000 - £24,000, with those moving up to senior level able to earn in the region of £30,000 - £70,000. Income will be dependent on experience and individual merit, as well as the organisation. Hours are typically more than the nine to five, but it is unusual to work at weekends. It may be required you are on a 24-hour call-out system, should there be any danger concerning the stability of a building.

Travel is a necessity as you will need to visit work-sites, and these can be anything from airports to hospitals. The role requires skills in a variety of construction areas, including electrics, with part-time work an option. Once enough experience is acquired freelance work is a distinct possibility. When on-site you will need to wear safety equipment such as a hard hat, and you must be comfortable working at heights. Jobs are based around the country, particularly in the south-east.

Qualifications & Experience Required

A degree in the following would improve your chances of becoming a building services engineer:

  • Building services engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Building environment engineering.

Apprenticeship schemes offered by ConstructionSkills would be an alternative route. To achieve the role of building services engineer you will need to gain an engineering qualification, which can only be done once you have achieved a masters in engineering or a recognised combined masters degree in engineering.

To become a qualified engineer you must become a member of the CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering) or other sector institutions such as the ECUK (Engineering Council UK). Other organisations containing relevant information include the IET (Institution of Engineering & Technology) and IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers). Work experience can be advantageous as it can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job, and give you real experience on a construction site. Sending speculative applications is often the best way to get a placement, but you can also contact your local job centre.

Additional Training & Development

Those working for individual agencies can expect to start out in a graduate scheme as an engineer, before moving on to management level, and then, once they have gained enough experience, be promoted to estates director. Those in consultancy will usually start out as a graduate engineer, and then move up to project level. Once enough experience is acquired they can be promoted to the level of associate, then possibly partner, and if they show real flair for the position, to senior level.

Development is dependent on experience and additional qualifications, as well as the specialist area you choose to work in. Junior engineers will be required to complete training courses before being allowed the title of qualified engineer. This will be done through IPD (Initial Professional Development), with details available on the CIBSE website. Some employers will help their employees to undertake study through a monitored scheme while others will not, meaning it will be up to you, but you should discuss such matters when meeting a potential employer.

Information is also available from the ECUK. You will need to attend conferences and workshops to keep up to date with regulations and safety issues, with organisations such as the ACE (Association for Consultancy and Engineering) offering information.