Building Engineers – manliest of the manly, handiest of the handy

building engineering

IDX Tower – Downtown Seattle

It’s Friday, about time to head out, and Kristine has plans. Despite being only 4:30, it’s dark outside and kind of gloomy because it is mid-winter. She’s got an awesome view from the 32nd floor, it’s cool working up there except when there’s a fire drill and she has to take the stairs all the way down.

Kristine and her friends have been planning this night out for a few months. Is it time to go yet?

“Wait, did my monitor just flash?” I think it did. It was either that or all of the lights flickered. Wonder which is worse lol…

All of a sudden she saw a flash of light down at street level followed by a kinda loud explosion. Her monitor took one last gasp, the dot closed in on itself like a little black hole, and then the entire floor went dark except for whatever light the windows let in.

You’ve got to be kidding me she thought. Tonight of all nights. She knew her college friends were only meeting up for a few minutes before moving on to dinner. How long am I going to be trapped here? Should I even take the stairs?

Within moments, parts of the building quietly stirred back to life. At first, only a light fixture here and there came back on. She could see the same thing happening up, down, and across the street in other buildings. Not all the lights came back on, just a couple here and there.

building engineers

In less than a minute, some computers came whirring up, not hers though, wonder why she thought. The sound of air that she had never noticed before came silently pouring out of the ceiling vents again. She went over to one of the elevator banks and heard something start moving inside the shaft. Curiously, she pressed the button. “Does it work?” She went over to the window and looked outside again and this time saw some bluish smoke coming out from some street grates that had not been there before.

Ding. The elevator doors opened. She peeked inside, everything seemed normal. She slipped back out and let the elevator doors close. Hmmm. It was nearly 5 pm. She went over to her desk, grabbed her purse, and headed back to the elevator bank. She pressed the call button and stepped on.

She took a deep breath and pushed the ‘L’ button for the lobby. Here we go. 15 seconds later the doors opened and she was 300 feet lower than before and looking at the lobby and street level. Yay! The lobby had a few guys with radios walking around, sort of directing lobby traffic and each other. It seemed very organized and professional, it made her feel safe.

Time for socializing! All is good in the world!

Who were these mysterious dudes with the radios? How could these strangers make her feel safe?

What is Building Engineering?

Welcome to Building Engineer Training (.com)!

Dumb story?  Well it got you hooked didn’t it?  Sucked the reader right in.

In my own words, building engineering describes a trade that envelops the proper operation, supervision, and maintenance of all systems that are required to operate a building safely. Building engineers, the guys with the radios from the riveting story above, are the ones that make this happen.

From electrical to mechanical, plumbing to electronics, they, we do it all. The workday of a building engineer can change rapidly, not only from day to day but minute to minute. You see, they are like the building cavalry. Many people don’t know this.

Building engineers are in the background but they play a vital role in the operation of any building. They ensure that the fire systems are safe and will work in an emergency. They test the diesel generators to verify that at least 1 elevator will work in case of an electrical emergency.  Often they are not only the main people running the fire brigade, but they provide the procedures to the building and training to the tenants.  Well, in buildings that have real engineering departments that is.

what does a building engineer do

Inside a boiler. High pressure stuff.

They operate, test, and maintain the boilers in addition to performing chemical analysis on the steam and water to check for any indications of larger issues. If you are cold at your desk or too hot in your cubicle, they are the ones that nowadays probably adjust your temperature via computer but in the olden days, the late 90’s, they would come by, and typically check and adjust your thermostat.  They might look like little boxes on the wall that used to hiss air but they play a huge part in the operation and engineering of a building.

And that’s hopefully what this site will grow into.  A real building engineering site where we can talk about projects, training, ideas like best practices, or even boneheaded stories about tenants, bosses, or each other if you guys are feeling saucy.  An online shop with no coffeepot.

Or maybe you are here to learn about the trade of building engineering or facilities management – it’ll grow into that too.  Have some informative pages put up about building equipment you will encounter on the job.  Good old fashioned engineering training based on the good ol’ U.S. Navy (my background way back.)


facilities engineer


What I need from You

Ideas.  That is it my friends.  If you’ve thought of something at work that would help save time everywhere else, share it son!  Don’t feel like going through the hassle of writing it up for nothing?  Just tell me about it privately, or one of the other admin, and we will write it up.  Put it up as your idea, tell you when, and you can tell your friends your idea got posted at a sweet website.

Could be a comment even.  Like, “hey building engineering man, that training about the pumps is flat out incorrect.”  And we will discuss it.  Like salty gentlemen.

Building Engineers are NOT just Handymen!

Don’t let anyone tell you any different.  If you are not a building engineer, please don’t get that impression of us based on what you see out in the lobby.  Some kind of overweight dude cussing at a ladder, spilling his coffee.  Well maybe.  Ha ha.

Behind the scenes is where building engineering comes to life.  Seriously – THINK ABOUT IT.  Building Engineers run the building.  They operate, much like a military device, a multi-million/billion dollar piece of equipment.  All of the water, the power – all of the energy – that enters that building is monitored and controlled by those dopey guys spilling coffee.  Think about the magnitude of it for a moment.  It’s enormous.

maintenance engineer

Wait you say.  You’re just glorifying it.  No I’m not, or at least I shouldn’t be.  If you want to be a building engineer, this should be what you want to be.  You should desire to run a building.  Be the man.  Come up with improved energy conservation ideas so that your building saves 10% of its annual energy costs.  A 10% saving on a multi-million dollar budget is huge.  Come up with those ideas.  Improve your electrical safety practices by actually observing some of them, (lol – guilty here.)  But still, you know what I mean.

As I add pages and posts, some will be stories or ideas that other engineers I’ve worked with came up with.  You’ll see what I mean by how great and cutting edge their ideas were and hopefully you’ll see how your ideas can be too.

Explore the site.  Eventually there will be category tabs across the top.  Topics like projects, old and new, a how to section (maybe work & home?,) tools and tool reviews.  If this explodes in popularity which I know it will, I may have to shift to like a monthly subscription thing so get on board now while it’s free ha ha.  Subscribe now somewhere.  Should be a button…

You ready?  Makaukau?  Read a post about the systems you may see as a building engineer by clicking here.

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