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Salary Range
€35k - €75k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Building engineers are concerned with the planning, design, construction, operation, renovation, and maintenance of buildings, as well as with their impacts on the surrounding environment

In Summary - Building Engineer

Career Sectors

Building Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Civil Engineering
Construction, Architecture & Property
Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Engineering & Manufacturing
Civil Engineering
Engineering & Manufacturing
Local Government
Government, Politics & EU
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Further Information

The Work - Building Engineer

Building engineers design building services systems and bring buildings to life. They are responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of all the services required in any kind of building, from a home to an office block, a cinema to an airport.

There are two main aspects of building engineering: mechanical and electrical. Mechanical covers things such as air conditioning systems, ventilation and heating; electrical is concerned with aspects such as power, lighting, fire alarms and security.

Their input begins before construction starts and extends well into the operational life of a building. Building engineers work with the client, architects and structural engineers to develop and agree a brief for the building, which is then turned into a design to be installed by a contractor.

Once construction begins, building engineers monitor the performance of the installers to ensure the services are completed according to the design. Building engineers play a key role in ensuring that projects are energy efficient and sustainable. 

The job also includes safety and security systems such as fire prevention and detection, escape routes, CCTV and alarms.

Building engineers also face the challenge of ensuring that buildings are energy efficient to reduce overuse of energy sources and by doing so, help society to reduce the depletion of natural resources and minimise environmental pollution.

Their job includes estimating costs and materials and coordinating the work of others. They are also involved in the testing of installations and inspecting equipment and the work of others.  
 
Certain types of buildings need complex building services. For example, computer rooms need precise controls of temperature and humidity, hospital operating theatres must be completely sterile and factories must prevent any harmful fumes from going into the atmosphere. Office buildings, swimming pools, cold stores, museums and leisure centres also have particular requirements that building services engineers need to meet. 

Some building engineers are mainly office based as they specialise in design work. They work closely with the architect, the customer and other members of the design team to prepare a design for a building project. This includes all drawings and detailed specifications for use by the contractor on-site. They often use computer-aided design (CAD) packages for this work.  
 
Designs must meet environmental needs, use energy efficiently and meet the budget set by the customer. Engineers need overall knowledge of the full range of building services, although they usually specialise in either mechanical services or lighting/electrical services.  
 
Building engineers maintain close links with other professionals such as the construction manager and the surveyor to decide how many staff are needed and to work out costs. They supervise the installation of the building services and inspect the quality of the work, dealing with any problems that arise.

There is a range of career paths available to graduates of buildingengineering including:

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

You don't necessarily need a building engineering degree to work in this sector: a mechanical or electrical engineering degree is also usually accepted and some employers accept other engineering degrees if you have taken relevant modules.

Interests - Building Engineer

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Realist

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Administrative

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Investigative

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Qualities

As a building engineer, you should be:

  • A good team worker as you will work closely with various construction professionals.
  • A good communicator as you have to explain ideas and designs to other members of the team.
  • You need a creative and enquiring mind and strong problem solving ability.
  • You should be mathematically and technically minded.
  • You need to be reliable and efficient and have good management skills.

Entry Requirements - Building Engineer

In order to become a Building Engineer it is necessary to have a degree in Engineering, ideally with a specialisation in BuildingEngineering. There are nine universities and thirteen institutes of technology offering a wide range of engineering programmes nationwide.

It is possible to work as a Building Engineer with a primary degree in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, or possibly Chemical or Electrical Engineering. 

Check out the list of college courses available on this page.

As building engineering graduate you can work for:

  • Engineering consultancy services.
  • Building services contractors.
  • Public authorities.
  • Architects.
  • Manufacturers.

Employers of building engineering graduates include:

  • ARUP Consulting Engineers
  • PH McCarthy
  • PJ Hegarty & Sons
  • SISK and
  • Local Authorities to name but a few

Engineering provides a wide range of exciting career opportunities in enterprise and job flexibility with rapid progress to creative, responsible and financially rewarding careers.

Last Updated: June, 2016

Pay & Salary - Building Engineer

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €35k - €75k

Progression into management and director positions can see salaries rise into the 65,000 to 100,000+ range. (Brightwater)

Data Source(s):
Lincoln

Last Updated: January, 2019

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Building Engineer

Useful Contacts - Building Engineer

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