What Does a Building Engineer Do?

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  • Written By: M. Kayo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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A building engineer is responsible for the operation, ongoing maintenance, and repair of all the different systems in a building or building complex. Supervision of all mechanical systems that control water, heating, cooling, and air quality is one of the primary duties for this position. Care and maintenance of the grounds adjacent to a building or building complex is also required. Communication with tenants and various workers, vendors, and suppliers is also necessary. Building engineers are typically in good physical condition and may be required to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

One of the main responsibilities of a building engineer is management of the mechanical, electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems for a building or building complex. Other responsibilities include operation, repair, troubleshooting and maintenance of any equipment used to heat, process, or distribute water or steam throughout the building. A working knowledge of refrigerant compressors, evaporators, transfer pumps, refrigerant lines and other devices used to control the temperature may also be a big part of this job. The engineer is also required to maintain and operate all natural and manufactured gas lines.


Ongoing maintenance of the grounds and landscaping adjacent to the building or property may also be a big part of this position. A building engineer may contract with a local landscaping service to provide services like trimming, mowing, tree pruning, general clean-up or any other groundskeeping services necessary for the care and maintenance of the property. The engineer may also supervise a team of groundskeepers, purchase equipment, maintain an inventory of parts for that equipment and ensure that all necessary supplies are available. This position may also involve designing and supervising the installation of various landscaping elements.

Another critical responsibility of a building engineer is working directly with the tenants of a facility. This daily interaction with sometimes difficult people requires that the engineer have well developed interpersonal and communication skills. These skills are also needed when working closely with vendors, service people, repair personnel and any of the different types of people who may provide services to a building or building complex. The tenants of a building need to know that a building engineer will do everything to ensure their safety and security. Providing a quick response or follow-up to any problem or emergency is a critical responsibility for this job.


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