Building Services Engineer
Building services engineers design building services such as lifts, lighting or heating in buildings. They often focus on reducing energy usage, using new technologies.
Building services engineers spend some time on-site supervising the installation of the services that they have designed.
Also known as
- Engineer, Building Services
- Environmental Engineer
Video: - Kevin : Building Services Engineer
As a Building Services Engineer, you will design building services systems. You also supervise the installation and operation. These systems include:
- Air conditioning
- Lighting and power
- Fume control
The focus of your work is often to reduce energy usage.
Certain types of buildings need complex building services. For example, computer rooms need very sensitive controls of temperature and humidity, and hospital operating theatres must be completely sterile. Buildings such as swimming pools, museums and leisure centres also have special requirements.
Some Building Services Engineers are mainly office-based as you might specialise in design work. You often use Computer-aided Design (CAD) or Building Information Modelling (BIM) packages for this work. You work closely with the Architect, the client and other members of the design team to prepare a design for a building project.
Designs must meet environmental needs, use energy efficiently and meet the budget set by the customer. Engineers need overall knowledge of the full range of building services, although you usually specialise in either mechanical services or lighting/electrical services.
You maintain close links with other professionals such as the Construction Manager and the Surveyor to decide how many staff are needed and to work out costs. You supervise the installation of the building services and inspect the quality of the work, dealing with any problems that arise.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a Building Services Engineer, you'll need:
- To be a good teamworker as you will work closely with various construction professionals.
- A creative and enquiring mind and an ability to solve problems.
- To be a good communicator, as you have to explain ideas and designs to other members of the team.
- An interest in protecting the environment, as you'll have to find the best ways for organisations to use energy.
- IT skills.
- An interest in how buildings are built.
- To be aware of the importance of health and safety in this industry.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Inexperienced Building Services Engineers could earn £26,000
- Experienced Building Services Engineers can earn £38,000
- Senior Building Services Engineers may earn more than £50,000
Hours of work
Building Services Engineers work a basic 40-hour week, with occasional evening and weekend work according to the demands of the project.
Where could I work?
- Large building services contractors
- Central and local government departments
- Small building firms
- Design consultancies
- Building suppliers
Some Building Services Engineers go into research and development work.
Opportunities for Building Services Engineers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK, and worldwide.
Where are vacancies advertised?
A good place to look for vacancies is the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers Journal website.
Vacancies are also advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.
GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:
Entry Routes and Training
The most direct route into this career is to study for a relevant Engineering degree that has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).
You need a Master of Engineering (MEng) degree to become a Chartered Engineer. A Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree leads to Incorporated Engineer status.
You can also get into this career via other Engineering courses, such as Electrical, Electronic or Mechanical Engineering.
A Degree Apprenticeship is also great way to get into this career. Take a look at our information article
There are foundation degrees, HNCs and HNDs available in Building Services Engineering. These can be used to progress to full degree courses, or are acceptable for trainee posts.
However, check carefully that the degree course you progress to is accredited.
For a full list of accredited courses, contact the CIBSE.
Previous experience within an Engineering position (such as an Electrical and Mechanical) would be useful for this career.
After getting a degree, you must have a period of approved training and experience with an employer to become fully qualified.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Experienced Building Services Engineers can move into senior positions, eg, Chief Engineer. Other routes may be to partner in a consultancy firm, a Technical Director, or into project management.
To enter a relevant degree course, you will usually need:
- 2/3 A levels, including Maths and/or Physics.
- GCSEs at grade C or above in your A level subjects.
- A further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C or above, including English.
Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:
- BTEC Level 3 qualification - for example in Building Services Engineering, or Electrical Technologies.
- City and Guilds Level 2 qualification - for example in Access to Building Services
- The International Baccalaureate Diploma.
However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check college/university websites for more details.
Some universities offer foundation courses for applicants without the appropriate maths and science qualifications.
To do a relevant HNC, HND or foundation degree, you will usually need:
- 1 A level. Maths and science subjects are useful.
- A GCSE at grade C or above in your A level subject.
- A further 3/4 GCSEs at grade C or above.
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Adult entrants are usually qualified or experienced in a related field of engineering or construction.
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers offers alternative routes to membership for adults with suitable skills.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in.
These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
Various institutions offer HNCs or degrees, in relevant subjects, via part-time evening study, or distance learning.
The College of Estate Management offers a BSc in Building Services Quantity Surveying, via distance learning.
Brunel University offers an MSc in Building Services Engineering, via distance learning.
Another route into this career is to train as a building services engineering technician and work your way up. It may be possible to get into a technician role via a Building Services Engineering Technology Advanced Level Apprenticeship.
Sponsorship for study at higher education level is available through the larger building/construction companies.
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers offers student bursaries.
- 8% of people in this career are self-employed.
- 13% work part-time.
- 22% have flexible hours.
Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
The CIBSE is the main professional institution for people working in building services engineering.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Local government vacancies
myjobscotland: Scottish local government vacancies
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Engineering technology news
Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Skills for the construction industry
Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR
Tel: 028 9082 5466
Construction Employers Federation (CEF)
Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU
Tel: 028 9087 7143
Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Address: Bircham Newton, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE31 6RH
Tel: 0844 5768777
Tel: 0344 994 4010
Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)
Address: Lutyens House, Billing Brook Road, Weston Favell, Northampton NN3 8NW
Tel: 01604 404121
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
Address: 222 Balham High Road, London SW12 9BS
Tel: 020 8675 5211
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Caldwell Consulting, 8 Lorne Street, Belfast BT9 7DU
Tel: 028 9066 9456
CIBSE Journal Jobs
Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)
Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP
Tel: 01923 260000
Publisher: Venture Marketing Group
Getting into Engineering Courses
Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman
Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL
Tel: 0141 2213181
Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH
Tel: 028 9182 2377
Skills for building services engineering sector
Address: Vega House, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes MK15 0DF
Tel: 01908 303960
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA)
Address: The Priory, Stomp Road, Burnham, Buckinghamshire SL1 7LW
Tel: 01628 607800
Building and Engineering Services Association (B&ES)
Address: Esca House, 34 Palace Court, London W2 4JG
Tel: 020 7313 4900
Building Engineering Services Scotland
Address: The Walled Garden, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0SD
Tel: 0131 4455900
Address: Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
Tel: 01895 274000