Building services engineering

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Building services engineering, technical building services, architectural engineering, building engineering, or facilities and services planning engineering refers to the implementation of the engineering for the internal environment and environmental impact of a building.

Building services engineers are responsible for the design, installation, operation and monitoring of the mechanical, electrical and public health systems required for the safe, comfortable and environmentally friendly operation of modern buildings. The term building services engineering is widely used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and Australia, but in the United States of America, the field is also known as architectural engineering or building engineering, though these terms can also have other meanings, even in the United States. In India the engineers are known as facilities planners.

A building services architect is an engineer with experience in the integration of building services.


Building services engineering comprises mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and plumbing or public health (MEP) engineering, all of which are further sub-divided into the following:

Building services engineers work closely with other construction professionals such as architects, structural engineers and quantity surveyors. They influence the architecture of a building and play a significant role on the sustainability and energy demand of a building. Within building services engineering, new roles are emerging, for example in the areas of renewable energy, sustainability, low carbon technologies and energy management. With buildings accounting for around 50% of all carbon emissions, building services engineers play a significant role in combating climate change. As such, a typical building services engineer has a wide-ranging career path:

  • Design: designing layouts and requirements for building services for residential or commercial developments.

Design Management -Design management is the business side of design, which aims to create the right environment to control and support a culture of creativity and innovation, and to embrace the iterative nature of design involving the many disciplines that, collectively, will deliver design solutions – and all at the same time as ensuring that an organisation’s commercial goals and objectives are achieved and that all is done in an ethically sound way. Typically the building services engineering installation is worth 30–60% of the total value of a contract, Design management is not the same as project management. Project management focuses on a wider range of administrative skills but is not normally sympathetic to the peculiarities of delivering a fully coordinated functioning design, taking into account its unique nature and dealing with the changing requirements of clients and the external factors over which there is little control [1]

  • Construction: supervising the construction of the building services, commissioning systems and ongoing maintenance and operation of services.
  • Environmental: developing new energy saving methods for construction, designing new and improved energy conservation systems for buildings.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC): specialising in the design, development, construction and operation of HVAC systems.
  • Electrical technology: specialising in the design and development of electrical systems required for safe and energy sustaining operation of buildings.

In 1976 Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) was founded and received a Royal Charter in the United Kingdom, and formally recognising building services engineering as a profession. Its objectives of the Institution are to: support the Science, Art and Practice of building services engineering, by providing our members and the public with first class information and education services and promoting the spirit of fellowship which guides our work.

In recent years there has been increasing emphasis on sustainable and green design by the UK government, including in engineered building systems. Building services engineers increasingly seek BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method), CIBSE Low Carbon Consultants (LCC) and Energy Assessors (LCEA) status in addition to their Professional Engineering registration.

Building services engineering software

Many building services firms use computer-aided engineering and computer-aided design (CAD)software programs, created either in-house or by external parties, to assist in their system design and analysis. This method has many benefits, including easier and more exhaustive visualization of proposed solutions, the ability to create virtual models for analysis and calculations, and the ease of use in spatial planning.

The latest trend in MEP or building services engineering is the utilization of Building Information modeling or BIM which may include 3D and 4D modeling. 3D BIM services enable building visualization, preview or prototype of architectural structures before actual construction. Lately, major companies are also using BIM for 4D visualization. BIM 4D allows for more informed decision making and better coordination between designers and builders considering time also as an important factor.


Building services engineers typically possess an academic degree in building services engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering. The length of study for such a degree is usually 4 years for a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) and six years for a Master of Engineering (MEng). Some of the degrees accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers include:



United States

Programs in the United States, with those accredited by ABET shown with their year of initial accreditation, are:[3]

  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA (ABET 1975, AEI)
  • Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA (ABET 1991, AEI)
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL (ABET 2003, AEI)
  • Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (ABET 1936-61 and 1980, AEI)
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, WI (ABET 1988, AEI)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, MO (ABET 2006, AEI)
  • North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC (ABET 1969, AEI)
  • Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK (ABET 1986, AEI)
  • Penn State University, State College, PA (ABET 1936, AEI)
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN (ABET 1977, AEI)
  • Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX (ABET 2009)
  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO (ABET 1936, AEI)
  • University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, MI
  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (ABET 1936, AEI)
  • University of Miami, Miami, FL (ABET 1962, AEI)
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE (ABET 2004, AEI)
  • University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (ABET 1960)
  • University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
  • University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX (ABET 1938, AEI)
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (ABET 1986, AEI)
  • Worcester Polytechnic University, Worcester, MA

See also


  1. Portman, Jackie (July 2014). Building Services Design Management. Oxford:UK: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1118528129.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Search All Accredited Programs

External links