0 of 0 for ""

What does a building services engineer do?

Sweco author: Richard Beer, Building Services Associate

A building services engineer designs and installs all the elements of a building that bring it to life – from lighting and acoustics to lifts, plumbing, MEP and security systems. They work collaboratively with architects and other construction professionals to produce all varieties of buildings – at Sweco our projects range from typical offices and housing to specialist facilities like research bases in the Antarctic and sports stadiums.

Why are building services engineers so important to planning and design?

Buildings are huge consumers of materials and energy. They contribute almost half of the UK’s CO2 emissions meaning Engineers are at the frontline of the battle to create a more sustainable environment and can make a real difference to the way people live and work. A key focus for a building services engineer is therefore in designing a building that will consume the lowest resources and have minimal environmental impact.

Historically, the role would have been simply to install all the services within the space allocated by the architect, but that focus has now switched. As consulting engineers play a more pivotal role in driving sustainability, being involved during the early stages of building is a critical part of the job. They influence the shape, materials and orientation of a building to make the best use of local conditions and maximise renewable technologies.

Building services engineer qualifications – what you’ll need

To start a career as a building services engineer, you will need good grades in GCSE Science, English and maths. From there you can undertake Level 3 (A-Levels/BTEC/IB) qualifications in science, engineering or maths subjects or find an Apprenticeship to earn while you learn and progress to an Engineering Technician (EngTech) level.

Achieving Chartered Engineer status requires an accredited Engineering degree and further learning to masters level. Although Building Services Engineering degrees are available, most graduate schemes are open to those from any Engineering background. Larger companies are increasingly accepting applicants with backgrounds in science and mathematics and provide on-the-job training.

For example, each year Sweco seeks out science and Engineering graduates for their Building Services graduate recruitment programme. Graduates joining the four-year programme are enrolled in a Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) accredited graduate training programme, which is expected to lead to registration with the Engineering Council of Great Britain and a Chartered Engineer status.

Building Services Engineers need to be able to work as part of a team, have an analytical mind and enjoy problem-solving. Strong capabilities in IT, modelling software, computer-aided design (CAD) and drawings are essential. Strong communication skills, both written and oral, are a must as the role has a high client interface, liaising and presenting solutions.

Engineers can either be office or site-based, but most will spend their time in range of locations. Typical office tasks will involve producing designs in 2D and 3D, computer modelling and simulation of buildings, and researching new technologies. Outside the office, Engineers work with architects and clients to review designs, visit construction sites and meet with manufacturers to explore new products.

Sweco building services project examples:

Making (and unearthing) history at Norwich Castle

Barts Square Wins 2022 RIBA London Award

One Park Drive, Canary Wharf

Sweco delivers sustainability to the South Bank in fossil-fuel-free Bankside Yards development

Chapter London Bridge