Building services engineering

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Building Services Engineering, technical building services, Building Services Architect, architectural engineering, or building engineering or facilities and services planning engineering {b tech} is the engineering of the internal environment and environmental impact of a building. It essentially brings buildings and structures to life.

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 all 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.
  • 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[edit]

Many building services firms use computer-aided engineering (CAE) 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 three years for a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) and four years for a Master of Engineering (MEng). Some of the degrees accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers include:


  • BSc (Hons) Building Engineering( Hanbat National University) -South Korea


Courses accredited by other Engineering Institutions in the UK such as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) are also accepted and satisfy the education requirements to become a building services engineer. After completing an accredited degree program the engineer must also satisfy a range of other requirements (including work experience and possibly exam and report-writing requirements) before acquiring the professional qualification. Once all the requirements are satisfied and depending on the academic route undertaken by the engineer, he or she is designated the title of either "Chartered Engineer" (CEng), "Incorporated Engineer" (IEng) or "Engineering Technician" (EngTech). There are international engineering agreements between relevant professional bodies which are designed to allow engineers to practice across international borders. Note that the term "Chartered Engineer" is mainly used in the UK and in most Commonwealth countries. In the European Union, "European Engineer" is used instead.


United States[edit]

Programs in the United States, with those accredited by ABET shown with their year of initial accreditation, are:[1]

  • 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, TX
  • University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO (ABET 1936, AEI)
  • 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 Austin, Austin, TX (ABET 1938, AEI)
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY (ABET 1986, AEI)

See also[edit]


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