How to Become a Building Services Engineer


To become a building services engineer, you'll need an undergraduate degree in engineer from an accredited program. You will also likely need relevant industry experience, such as engineering experience in a related field, or experience as a working as a heating and ventilation, electrical or mechanical technician.


The first step however, is to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following attributes describe you, then you are likely well suited for this career:


• You have strong abilities in math and physics

• You are mechanically inclined

• You are able to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings

• You are able to effectively use the latest software packages to solve engineering problems

• You are able to direct and supervise the work of others

• You are interested in pursuing a career with a wide variety of work activities

• You are committed to continuous professional development


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a building services engineer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as salary expectations, an outline of the skills you’ll need, educational requirements, a list of possible employer types, and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Building Services Engineer

You'll need to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field of engineering, from a school that is accredited by your regional or national engineering regulation body. Related fields of engineering may include:   


• Building services engineering

• Building services and sustainable engineering

• Mechanical engineering and building services

• Electrical engineering

• Sustainable construction





General Job Description

Building services engineers are responsible for designing, installing and maintaining the services and features of a new or existing residential, commercial, or industrial building. These services and features may include heating, lighting, air-conditioning, electrical distribution, water supply, sanitation, fire protection, elevators, escalators, acoustics and others.



Typical Job Duties

• Develop and negotiate project contracts

• Interpret detailed plans, diagrams and drawings, as prepared by drafting technicians

• Make decisions concerning the most appropriate location for new service equipment

• Liaise with builders, structural engineers, architects, surveyors and in-house project teams

• May design site-specific equipment

• Supervise the installation of building systems

• Prepare and communicate specifications for the maintenance of building services



Areas of Specialty Within this Profession

The job of a building services engineer typically involves the application of skills and knowledge from many disciplines. Some building services engineers choose to specialize in one of these areas, such as:


• Electrical engineering

• Facade engineering

• Mechanical engineering

• Public health

• Sustainable and renewable energy



Experience Needed 

Employers typically place a great deal of importance on experience gained in other areas or industries. They often look for their building services engineers to have skills in areas such as electrical, mechanical, environmental, acoustic or power engineering (among other areas).


This experience can be the result of working as a technician in a related field, like heating and ventilation, electrical or mechanical work. It can also be the result of working as an engineer in a different industry. 


Success Tip: Directly approach building employers that hire building services engineers to find out what they're looking for in terms of skills, experience and other qualifications.



Licensing for Building Services Engineers

Although licensing requirements can vary by region and by employer, building services engineers are generally required to be licensed as Professional Engineers. Those who become licensed carry the designation of Professional Engineer (PE). To be licensed as a Professional Engineer, you generally need to meet the following requirements:


• A degree from an accredited engineering program

• A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam

• Relevant work experience

• A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam



Crucial Skills to Have

When hiring building services engineers, employers and clients will typically look for candidates with the following skills:


• Strong abilities in math and physics

• Able ability to think in mathematical and abstract terms

• Able to visualize three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional drawings

• Able to effectively use the latest software packages to solve engineering problems

• Excellent sales and presentation skills, to show potential clients what your firm has to offer

• Able to direct the work of others, such as when supervising the work of on-site installation teams

• The ability to persuade, such as when advising a new client to incorporate low carbon technologies in their project





Characteristics Needed 

In order to enjoy performing the duties of a building services engineer, you'll need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your job duties is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which can lead to having a long and successful career.


• You have a practical, mechanical inclination

• You have persistence and determination when it comes to solving problems

• You enjoy doing work that requires precision

• You enjoy making decisions and supervising the work of others

• You are interested in pursuing a career that offers a wide variety of work activities

• You are interested in having work that combines technical planning and design work together with hands-on installation and problem solving

• You have a commitment to your continued professional development



Who Employs Building Services Engineers?

Building services engineers are typically hired on a contractual, or permanent basis by the following types of organizations:


• Engineering design consultancies

• Architectural firms

• Major building contractors

• Property management companies

• Building services contractors

• Manufacturers of building amenities and equipment, such as escalators

• Municipal government departments

• Hospitals and healthcare organizations 

• Manufacturing facilities and factories

• Utility companies



Typical Salary Level

The salary level of building service engineers can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• Their area of specialty (if applicable)

• The size and type of their employer

• The region in which they work


There is no salary information available from reliable sources for the career Building Services Engineer. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary information of workers in closely related occupations.


Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Mechanical Engineers occupational group earn an average salary of $107,815 per year, and that of workers in the Electrical and Electronics Engineers group is $95,528 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 24, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Mechanical Engineers occupational group is $80,580 per year, and that of workers in the Electrical and Electronics Engineers group is $89,630 per year.



Job Postings in This Field

Our job board below has building services engineer postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Career Advancement Possibilities

As building services engineers gain career experience, their ability to advance into roles of greater responsibility develops, as does their ability to move into specialized roles. For example, they may move into roles such as Team Leader, Project Manager, Quantity Surveyor or Engineering Designer.


Experienced building services engineers may also choose to become self-employed and work on a consultancy or sub-contract basis.



Similar Occupational Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to building services engineer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Building Inspector

Civil Engineer

Electrical Engineer

HVAC Engineer

Mechanical Engineer




To find out more about what a building services engineer does, how much they earn, and other details of this career, please consult the following resources:


Occupational Profile:Civil Engineer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 31, 2019.

Architecture & Engineering:Mechanical Engineers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 31, 2019.

Job Profiles:Building Services Engineer.” (January 3, 2019). National Careers Service website. Retrieved October 31, 2019.

Graduate Insights:So what does a building services engineer do, exactly?” Richard Beer (December 11, 2012). The Guardian website. Retrieved October 31, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Building Services Engineer

Take a look at the Relevant University Majors section below; it shows fields of study that are relevant to a career as a building services engineer. Then, search for scholarships matched to that field of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting into this line of work:


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