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Building services engineers install, maintain and often design the systems that make buildings safe, convenient and comfortable.

Average salaries are in the region of £25,000.00 to £35,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Building services engineers install, maintain and often design the systems that make buildings safe, sustainable, convenient and comfortable.

What they do

They plan, design, monitor and inspect systems which may include:

  • lighting appropriate for the space
  • heating, cooling, ventilation  
  • all systems that ensure comfort, health and safety

This is in all types of buildings, including residential, commercial and industrial. Specialist systems such as specialist gas distribution, humidity and bacteria control and so on might be required for complex buildings such as airports, hospitals, factories and laboratories.

This is one of the construction jobs that spans the entire mechanical and electrical engineering spectrum, including advice and planning, design, building physics and building economics, construction, auditing, commissioning and beyond.

Building services engineers are central to the design and assessment of sustainable systems, assessing the life cycle of buildings and their component services. This is to minimise resources consumed and the impact on the environment during fabrication, construction, operation and dismantling.

In this role, you will have the in-depth knowledge to deliver outstanding performance while maximising value for money and driving down capital and operational carbon. Like many jobs in the construction industry, building services engineers are in demand across the country. 


A chartered building services engineer often develops and uses new technology. They move the building design forward, making construction more efficient. Chartered building services engineers often lead important meetings so they need good communication and people skills too.

Green construction is now a big part of a chartered building service engineer’s thinking. Sustainability is a factor in many of their decisions, which can include taking into account the way a building is facing to make best use of natural light and using materials that save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

Day-to-day responsibilities include:

  • Working with new technology
  • Solving construction engineering problems
  • Finding efficient installation methods
  • Providing technical, commercial and managerial leadership on everything from staffing to budget

They also supervise construction workers on site to make sure important tasks are done the right way, without wasting time or money.


Incorporated building services engineers manage all aspects of the design, installation and maintenance of the services in new and existing buildings.

As an incorporated building services engineer you would be involved in the technical and communication management of services such as: 

  • Heating
  • Lighting 
  • Ventilation
  • Air-conditioning 
  • Electrical distribution
  • Water supply
  • Sanitation
  • Public health
  • Fire protection
  • Safety systems
  • Lifts and escalators
  • Facade engineering
  • Acoustics

To manage these effectively, you will need good interpersonal skills as you will have to work directly with many others. You will also need strong mathematical skills – as you may be tasked with managing budgets.

Daily tasks and the types of projects involved in this construction engineering role will depend on the area which you decide to specialise in. 

Typical tasks include:

  • Advising clients and architects on matters relating to building services
  • Negotiating and developing project contracts and agreeing these with clients
  • Making life-cycle decisions about existing systems equipment and the appropriate location of new equipment
  • Designing systems with the aid of computer-aided design software
  • Managing and forecasting spend, using whole life-cycle costing techniques, and ensuring that work is kept to budget
  • Designing site-specific equipment as required
  • Commissioning, organising and assessing the work of contractors
  • Overseeing and supervising the installation of building systems and specifying maintenance and operating procedures
  • Monitoring building systems and processes
  • Ensuring that the design and maintenance of building systems meets legislative and health and safety requirements
  • Meeting manufacturers of building products to learn about the latest products


  • Newly trained building services engineerss can earn in the region of £20,000 - £25,000
  • Trained with experience building services engineers can earn in the region of £25,000 - £35,000
  • Senior, chartered or master building services engineers can earn in the region of £35,000 - £55,000

Salaries depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options also improve with chartered status.


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Case Study

Building Services Engineer|4:25

Shaun Ackerley is a chartered building services engineer with his own company, Parsec Consulting Engineers

What do you do?

I am managing director of my own company, Parsec Consulting Engineers working in building services, renewable energy and sustainability.

A typical day might involve meeting client representatives to discuss new project opportunities and evaluate existing project design and construction performance. 

Back at the office I hold briefing meetings with architects and project managers about current projects. I am involved in all aspects of managing a modern practice, so I help to prepare and implement sales, marketing and advertising initiatives to support the achievement of business development plans. I also maintain positive working relationships with the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and other trade and business organisations to promote and develop the practice.

How did you get started?

When I left school I completed a four-year construction apprenticeship in plumbing. Then I applied for a job in local government as a trainee mechanical engineer. I worked my way up through training and construction qualifications to associate level within various companies before starting my own consultancy practice in 2003.

What do you like about your work?

I am dealing with something different nearly every day. I can choose who I work for and when. Designing new heating and lighting systems along with renewable energy solutions gives me great satisfaction. It comes from knowing that my company is helping the environment as well as my clients’ running costs.

What skills do you need in your job?

A degree in building services engineering is very helpful, as is knowledge of running a business. For example, you should be able to understand a set of accounts and have excellent communication and planning skills.

Your proudest career moment?

Starting my own company which has been established for 10 years.

Where do you see yourself in another 10 years?

Continuing to run my construction company with a secure future ahead of me.

Any advice on how to get into construction?

Research the area of construction you are thinking of joining thoroughly. Check out in detail what is required to get into your profession and try it out first through work experience to make sure it’s for you. Become a specialist in your area of work. It is better to know one thing very well than to dabble in lots of different ones. Skilled work will always be required.

Take our Personality Quiz to find out which of the many construction careers is right for you

Qualifications & Training


The most direct route into this work is with a relevant three-year honours degree in one of the following:

  • Building services engineering
  • Building environment engineering
  • Electrical or electronic engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Physics and applied physics
  • Maths

To get on to a degree course you usually need at least two A-levels or Highers, preferably in maths and science subjects. Other relevant qualifications may be accepted, either on their own or in combination with A-levels. These include AS levels, BTEC National and BTEC Higher National qualifications, Welsh Advanced Baccalaureate, the International Baccalaureate or a foundation degree.

You can then apply for chartered status to the Chartered Institute of Building, Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, or another construction engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council.

An alternative for building services engineering technicians, or those with no qualifications but who can demonstrate several years’ experience of working in the industry, is to apply to the Chartered Institute of Building, Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, or another engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council for Incorporated status.


You could enter at technician level after completing a relevant Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND).

The most relevant subjects are building services engineering and environmental engineering, but electrical, electronic, mechanical or systems control engineering may be acceptable.

Entry requirements for an HNC or HND are usually one to two Highers, or relevant National Certificate (NC) or National Qualification (NQ). Maths and physics may be required.

To enter trainee construction jobs as an engineer, you would have a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification. Entry requirements for an engineering degree are usually four to five Highers, preferably including English, maths and physics.


As a building services engineer, you can also become chartered. Becoming chartered means you have proved that you are highly experienced and skilled at doing your job. It is comparable to a bachelor’s degree and is recognised all over the world.

Becoming chartered can enhance your career, increase your salary and boosts the professionalism of your organisation. There are many routes to becoming chartered. Whether you’re a graduate, have technical or vocational qualifications or have simply built up years of experience, you can choose the path that best suits you.

You can achieve chartership through the relevant professional institution for the career you are following, however a full range of construction management jobs can gain chartered status. This includes specialist jobs like surveyors, careers in architecture, design engineers, sustainability consultants and health and safety professionals. For building services engineers this is Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)


To become an incorporated building services engineer you must have significant experience and spent several years as a building services engineer at a senior level, and would normally be expected to hold a relevant degree and associated industry qualifications.

Useful websites

Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)

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Career trends and forecasts

16,240 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 16,240 other construction professionals and technical staff (which includes building services engineers) to meet demand between 2017 - 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of the demand from construction jobs in Scotland.

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