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.