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What is a Building?

A structure that has a roof and walls and stands permanently in one place. The primary function of
buildings is to provide shelter to its occupants.

What is Building Services?

 Building function cannot be limited to provide shelter only. Basically “Building Services” is what
that make the building comes to life. i.e. what makes the building work.
 Building should be designed in such a way to provide an environment where people can feel
comfortable, work, live and achieve.
 So, everything inside a building which makes it safe and comfortable, comes under the title of
“Building Services”
 A building must do what it was designed to do-not just provide shelter but also provide a safe,
comfortable and livable environment.
 Building services contribute largely to the sustainability and functioning of the building.
 Building services systems are essential provisions for a building, accounting for 20% to 40% of
the total construction cost. Figure 1 shows the cost breakdown of a typical government office
Building service is one of the important parts for a building because it will make a building to function
well. Building service is responsible for the design, installation, and operation and monitoring of the
mechanical, electrical and public health systems required for the safe, comfortable and environmentally
friendly operation of modern buildings. Modern technology of building service can make a building to
become more safety or more comfortable. While building developers are increasingly being asked to
analyze and improve building security, developing technologies assisting engineers in the pursuit of safe
working environments couldn't have better timing. Hence, innovation of new building service is important
so that the level of safety and comfortable can be increases. Building services 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. Communication
lines, telephones and IT networks (ICT) also make an important role in building service, and the modern
technology for the ICT is fiber optics that makes use of fiber optics than normal internet cable, hence this
can hugely increases the speed of internet because fibers are used instead of metal wires because signals
travel along them with less loss and are also immune to electromagnetic interference. Fibers are also used
for illumination, and are wrapped in bundles so they can be used to carry images, thus allowing viewing
in tight spaces.

Building services include:

 Water supply
 Drainage and Plumbing
 Lighting-Day and Artificial
 Communications, Telephones and IT Networks
 Energy Supply- Gas, Electricity and renewable resources
 Automation
 Kitchen
 Acoustics
 Fire Detection and Protection
 Security and Alarm Systems
 Escalators and Lifts
 Ventilation and Refrigeration
 Harnessing Solar, Wind and Biomass energy
 Facade Engineering

Importance of Building Services:

 Today with the advancement of sciences and technology, all those building services listed above
are more modern and became indispensable for buildings.
 As an example certain types of building such as department store or industrial buildings are almost
100% dependent of electrical lighting, ventilating and space heating.
 High rise buildings rely on vertical transportation and high speed pressure for water supply.
 Although those services are indispensable for modern buildings, they also have an impact. In fact
the implementation of those services demands a considerable amount of floor and ceiling so
proper planning is necessary for their allocation. Increase of ceiling and floors will lead to an
increase of the cost of construction to which building construction team should be aware of. One
of the considerable impacts on building is the increase of energy consumption which does not only
affect the building but the environment as well.
 In fact designing, construction, operating and maintaining buildings demand a considerable
amount of energy, water and other resources which lead to a large amounts of waste.
 The complexity of mechanical and electrical systems varies according the living standard of the
society, the climatic conditions of the region and the occupancy and quality of the building.

Main objectives of BSE design

 Hygiene (prevent disease & ensure health)

 Safety (protect against risks)
 Comfort (physio- & psycho- well-beings)
 Convenience (efficiency & productivity)

Classification of Building Services:

Building should be design with features to provide better lighting, comfortable space, temperature and
air quality, convenient power and communication capability, high quality sanitation and reliable systems
for the protection of life and property. Building services are mainly divided into mechanical, electrical
and building operation systems. They are all very important and should be put into consideration during
planning, designing and construction of a building.

1. Mechanical systems include:

1- HVAC Systems: heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

2- Site drainage: water, drainage, sanitary disposal.

3- Plumbing: water distribution, water treatment, sanitary facilities.

4- Fire protection: water supply, stand pipe, fire and smoke detection, annunciation.

5- Gas supply
2. Electrical systems include:

1- Electrical power: normal, standby, emergency power supply and distribution.

2- Lighting: interior, exterior, emergency light.

3- Auxiliary: telephone, data, audio and video sound

3. Building operation systems include:

1- Transportation: elevators, escalators, moving walkways.

2- Processing: product, food, services.

3- Automation: environmental control and management.

What Jobs do People do in the Building Services Industry?

There is a very wide range of roles in the building services industry, here are a few:
Service Technicians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot HVAC equipment and other
building services using diverse knowledge of electrical components, motors, control systems, air flow,
piping design, thermodynamics and refrigeration systems.
Commissioning Technicians: Carry out the setting up and tuning of new HVAC systems and complex
building services.
Draftspersons: Use sophisticated computer aided design and drawing systems together with technical
knowledge and skills to design and document HVAC and other building services systems for manufacture
and installation.
Plumbers: Fabricate, install and repair pipe and ductwork systems that carry fluids such as heating and
cooling water and air for air conditioning and ventilation throughout buildings. They also install the plant
and equipment that heats and cools and pumps the fluids and heats and cools and moves the air.
Engineers: Conceive and design building services systems based on functional requirements and the
need to conserve energy and water, they also play roles in solving problems and ensuring that systems are
maintained correctly and operate efficiently. They address areas thermodynamics, electrical theory, fluid
mechanicals, mechanical design, materials technology and regulatory and code compliance.
Sprinkler Fitters: Fabricate, install and repair fire sprinkler and fire hydrant systems that protect
building occupants and buildings from the effects of fire.
Alarms Technicians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot complex fire and life safety
monitoring and alarm systems that help protect building occupants and buildings from the effects of fire.
Controls Technicians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot the sophisticated
computerised building automation systems (BAS) that control the efficient operation of HVAC, electrical
and fire and life safety systems in modern buildings.
Electricians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot lighting and power systems.
Contractors and Business Owners: Combines technical and entrepreneurial skills to communicate an
assess customer needs and derive appropriate technical solutions.

Where do Building Services people Work?

Building Services people work everywhere!
Sporting facilities such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Telstra Dome
Shopping Centres
Arts and Entertainment Complexes such as the Victorian Arts Centre
Office Buildings including large city buildings
Factories and industrial plants
Hospitals and medical facilities
Computer Data centres
Schools and Universities
Building services engineers work closely with other construction professionals; 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
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.


What is Building Services?

 Imagine yourself in the most fabulous building in the world. Now take away the lighting, heating
and ventilation, the lifts and escalators, acoustics, plumbing, power supply and energy
management systems, the security and safety systems...and you are left with a cold, dark,
uninhabitable shell.
 Everything inside a building which makes it safe and comfortable to be in comes under the title of
'Building Services'. A building must do what it was designed to do - not just provide shelter but
also be an environment where people can live, work and achieve.

What BSE is about?

 It is about designing, installing & servicing everything that is needed to make

buildings comfortable, safe & convenient
 It is an engineering stream concerning with the design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning
and maintenance of mechanical and electrical services in buildings
 BSE is multidisciplinary by nature!
 Building services engineers are responsible for ensuring the cost-effective, environmentally sound
and sustainable design and maintenance of engineering services in buildings. With the current
emphasis on sustainability, building services engineers are at the cutting-edge of designing,
developing and managing new technologies that integrate into existing systems and services.


 Building & construction industry is an important sector in every society and it shapes the built
environment in which we live
 Building services installations are essential provisions for every building and could account for
20-40% of total building cost
 BSE affects people's comfort, health & productivity
 BSE influences the building's performance, local & global environment (e.g. energy, water
resources & air pollution)

Main objectives of BSE design

 Hygiene (prevent disease & ensure health)

 Safety (protect against risks)
 Comfort (physio- & psycho- well-beings)
 Convenience (efficiency & productivity)

Aspects of BSE work

 Main Aspects
o Understanding and using physics
o Using mathematics to solve technical or scientific problems
o Learning about buildings, roads etc and how they are built
o Analytical ability to understand and solve challenging problems
 Secondary Aspects
o Learning how machines work
o Understanding technical drawings and diagrams
o Improving or managing the environment
o Understanding the scientific uses and properties of materials
o Planning how work is to be carried out
o Problem solving by seeking new ideas
o Travelling around locally from place to place
o Learning about the uses of computers
o Explaining ideas and information to people

Related areas/disciplines

 HVAC+R (heating, ventilating & air-conditioning + refrigeration)

 Fire services
 Water supply & drainage
 Public health
 Gas & steam supply
 Electrical services
 Lighting systems
 Security
 Facade engineering
 Communication
 Acoustics
 Vertical transportation (e.g. lifts & escalators)
 Building management & control system
 Refuse disposal system

Work activities

 Building services engineers design building services systems. They also supervise their
installation and operation. 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 services 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. 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 services 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.
 BSE career opportunities also arise in the fields of Construction Project Management and
Facilities Management particularly in the area of modern industrial facilities involving clean room
manufacturing, such as in pharmaceutical and electronics production.
 Typical works of building services consulting firms include:
o Feasibility, inspection, technical reports, estimating
o Design, specification, drawings, tender procurement
o Contract management, site supervision, cost control
 Activities vary according to the specialist area of work and employer (for example, client/end-
user, building contractor or engineering consultancy). However, tasks typically involve:
o negotiating and developing project contracts and agreeing these with clients, if working in
consultancy, and putting out tenders;
o commissioning, organising and assessing the work of contractors;
o working with detailed diagrams, plans and drawings;
o using specialist computer-aided design (CAD) software and other resources to design the
systems required for the project;
o managing and forecasting spend, using whole life cycle costing techniques, ensuring that
work is kept to budget;
o designing site-specific equipment as required;
o overseeing and supervising the installation of building systems and specifying maintenance
and operating procedures;
o monitoring building systems and processes;
o making decisions about expired systems equipment and the appropriate location of new
o facilities management;
o liaising closely with other professionals, including structural engineers, builders, architects
and surveyors, and in-house project teams;
o attending a range of project group and technical meetings;
o ensuring that the design and maintenance of building systems meets legislative and health
and safety requirements;
o advising clients and architects on energy use and conservation in a range of buildings and
sites, aiming to minimise the environmental impact and reduce the carbon footprint;
o working on a variety of projects within a short period of time.

Personal qualities and skills

 As a Building Services Engineer, you should be a good teamworker as you will work closely with
various construction professionals such as Architects, Quantity Surveyors and Structural
Engineers. You should also be a good communicator as you have to explain ideas and designs to
other members of the team. You also need a creative and enquiring mind and an ability to solve
 Building Services Engineers are concerned primarily with the progress of technology through
innovation, creativity and change. They develop and apply new technologies; promote advanced
designs and design methods; introduce new and more efficient production techniques and
marketing and construction concepts; and pioneer new engineering services and management
methods. They may be involved with the management and direction of high-risk and resource
intensive projects. Professional judgement is a key feature of their role, allied to the assumption of
responsibility for the direction of important tasks, including the profitable management of
industrial and commercial enterprises.

Career opportunities

CareerJet.hk: building service engineer jobs in Hong Kong

Building Services Engineers are in high demand by

industry and employment prospects are very good. Our
programme provides the academic base for a professional career with various types of private and public
employers, including consulting and contracting firms, construction companies, equipment manufacturers
and suppliers, building developers and owners, facility and property management companies, power and
utilities companies, and government departments. The analytical and problem solving skills learnt are also
useful in other areas like finance and business management. Some graduates may consider further study
through master or doctoral degree programmes in local or overseas institutions. The knowledge and skills
from this programme will enable our graduates to pursue broader career interests and become highly

Nowadays, the building services professionals are not only engaged by consulting firms, contractors,
developers, architectural and building firms, and various government departments for the design,
installation, maintenance and repairing work of the building services systems, their engineering
knowledge can also be applied to other fields like manufacturing and marketing of engineering products.
They may also take up various teaching posts in tertiary education and vocational training institutions.
The building services professionals of the electrical discipline may also register as an electrical worker
under the Electricity Ordinance provided that he possesses the qualifications as stipulated in the
Electricity (Registration) Regulations.

Examples of relevant jobs include:

 Consulting or design engineer

 M/E contracting engineer
 Main/Civil contracting firm building services co-ordinator
 Project Manager/BSE for developers
 Government engineer (e.g. ArchSD, EMSD, Housing Authority)
 BSE for quasi-government bodies, e.g. MTRC, Towngas, power companies
 Sales engineer of M/E equipment suppliers
 Facility management or maintenance engineer
 Teaching/research in universities and educational institutions

HKU Building Services Engineering

 Emphasize on the underlying principles of mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer-based

 Promote innovative design, optimised operation and predictive maintenance of effective and
efficient services installations in buildings
 Promote inter-disciplinary and active learning
 Encourage energy efficient, environmentally sustainable building and integrated design

Related Info

 About Building Services [CIBSE]

o What is Building Services?
o Becoming a Building Services Engineer
o Building Services Careers Factsheets
o Building Services Project Case Studies
 BCA Singapore
o Building Careers, http://www.buildingcareers.sg/
o The Six Professionals in the Construction Value Chain (6:28), http://youtu.be/chl5_z-
o Mechanical and Electrical Engineer (Part 1) (8:59), http://youtu.be/Fd7Puc0wRWY
o Mechanical and Electrical Engineer (Part 2) (7:18), http://youtu.be/4RBMb1M-CAc
 bConstructive, UK
 The Building Process and Teamwork [ArchSD]
o Building Services Engineer
 Building Service Engineer jobs in Hong Kong [CareerJet]
 Building services engineering [Wikipedia]
 Brief description of BSE career in Hong Kong (in Chinese) [PDF]
 Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
o CIBSE Design Compass
o CIBSE Hong Kong Branch
o CIBSE Blog
o CIBSE Heritage Group
o CIBSE Student Blog
o CIBSE Membership Blog
o CIBSE Young Engineer Network Blog
 Electronic books on history and heritage of BSE [CIBSE Heritage Group]
 Descriptions of BSE jobs:
o Building services engineer: Job description (prospects.ac.uk)

o Building services engineer: job description (targetjobs.co.uk)

o Career Focus: Building Services Engineering [Institution of Engineers of Ireland]
o Job profiles -- Building services engineer (National Careers Service, UK)
 Engineering
o Fun-Engineering (information, activities and stories relating to engineering—just for fun!)
o What is Engineering? (4:17) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bipTWWHya8A
 Hong Kong Industry Profiles [Trade Development Council]

o Manufacturing Industries
 Building Materials and Hardware Industry in Hong Kong
 Environmental Protection Industry in Hong Kong
 Lighting Industry in Hong Kong
o Professional Services
 Architecture Industry in Hong Kong
 Building and Construction Industry in Hong Kong
 Engineering Industry in Hong Kong
 Surveying Industry in Hong Kong
o 屋宇裝備工程師 -
《職業字典》推廣計劃 http://yen2.hkfyg.org.hk/jobtionary/job.php?no=3
o 屋宇裝備工程專業簡介 (IVE Morrison Hill) http://mhrefm.vtc.edu.hk/foreground-3.htm
 Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE)
o Career as an Engineer
o HKIE Corporate Video
o Hong Kong Engineering Archive
 HKIE Building Services Division
o Admission Requirements for the Building Services Discipline (DOC)
o Top Up Requirements for Qualifications of ME graduates:
 (i) 2 modules at Bachelor degree level; or
 (ii) 2 EC Part II BSE-oriented subjects; or
 (iii) A master degree in BSE discipline; or
 (iv) Two extra years of relevant and responsible experience
 Hong Kong Construction Industry: Demonstration Projects Website

 Hong Kong Railway Projects:

o MTR Express Rail Link, http://www.expressraillink.hk
o MTR Kwun Tong Line Extension, http://www.mtr-kwuntonglineextension.hk
o MTR Shatin to Central Link, http://www.mtr-shatincentrallink.hk
o MTR South Island Line (East), http://www.mtr-southislandline.hk
o MTR West Island Line, http://www.mtr-westislandline.hk
 News articles:
o Take time to admire a building's hidden wonders (28 Apr 2007) [SCMP]
o 屋 宇裝備工程 進修入行好時機 (Recruit.com.hk, Aug 2015)
o 屋 宇設備工程 獲取專業有前景 (Educationpost.com.hk, Jun 2015)
o 工 字必出頭 屋宇裝備人才渴市 (metrohk.com.hk, Feb 2015)
o 建 造業鼎盛 3專業吃香 迎接人才戰 (Recruit.com.hk, Apr 2013)
o 屋宇裝備工程師 體貼生活 (Recruit Online, 2007) [PDF]
o 工 程師短缺 雙位數加薪 派四月花紅 (Jobmarket, Sep 2014)
 Profiles of Hong Kong Major Service Industries [HK Trade Development Council]
o Building and Construction
o Engineering
 Role models
o Sally Biddlecombe - mechanical building services engineer at
Arup [TomorrowsEngineers] (1:33)
o Atkins Careers: Jessica Elliot, Associate building services engineer [Atkins] (2:40)
o Think WSP - Chris Clark, associate, building services [WSP | PBA] (2:17)
o Building Services Engineer: Sara McGowan - Building Designer [Vega UK](14:10)
o Sara McGowan: Engineer
o Sara McGowan (a Building Services Engineer with Arup) [PDF]
o Building Green (design for energy efficient and green buildings in UK) [PDF]
o A day in the life... Sara McGowan (text only) [plant-science.com]
o A day in the life... Sara McGowan (w/ pictures) [scienceyear.com]
 RTHK TV programme
o 機電夢飛翔 (Engineering life and dream) (9
episodes) http://programme.rthk.hk/rthk/tv/programme.php?name=tv/engineeringlifeanddr
 Podcast http://podcast.rthk.hk/podcast/item_all.php?pid=564&lang=zh-CN