Building Maintenance Officer/Engineer

Building maintenance officers are responsible for the well being of council property stock such as schools, offices, sports facilities, libraries, theatres and occasionally housing.  They co-ordinate reactive day-to-day maintenance, programmed maintenance & minorworks contracts and provide a professional service on all aspects of property and construction in respect of the Authority's building assets.

This entails general maintenance, refurbishment and adaptation and involves contributing to surveys, design and construction.  The post is sometimes called Field Engineer and can often be found in all types of authority which have a building surveying/engineering section within an architectural consultancy.  It is an ideal opportunity foranyone with a services-trade based background to begin a professional design and maintenance career.  Also, it can be a good step forward forthose who have already set out on the building surveying/services route.

Work Environment
Part of the work is office based involving the use of computers, but most of the time engineers will be on building sites. This involves strenuous activity such as lifting of equipment, using ladders and scaffolding to get at high and restricted areas as well as confined spaces. In some cases this might mean dealing with fragile structures, partially collapsedorunstable surfaces & ground, inspection of drainage systems and management of hazardous materials.  As part of an emergency cover service, the officer/engineer can also be called out to any site at any time, night and day, and in all kinds of weather.  Health and Safety procedures are of the utmost importance.  Protective clothing - hard hats, strong boots and highly visible coats - is provided.  The hours are flexible and total 37 per week, but emergency shifts are disruptive of any set routines.

Daily Activities
Building Maintenance Officers are responsible for day-to-day reactive maintenance issues.  They are also responsible for the preparation, design and supervision of a range of building projects where refurbishment, repair and adaptation to existing property are taking place. Because there are so many different types of buildings and services and construction methods, maintenance officers/engineers have to apply wide ranging skills and technical knowledge. They are required to assess the need for particular repairsor alterations bearing in mind environmental issues - especially sustainability and energy efficiency, (they might consider the installation of solar heating, for example). Often, officers/engineers are part of a council Commercial Consultancy. From the beginning of a project, maintenance officers/field engineers will:

  • Assess, prioritise and issue instructions fordiverse reactive maintenance issues. Inspect the repairs and implement payments.
  • manage commissions and confirm briefs with clients, establish design team needs, assist in monitoring and reviewing working practices, provide instruction when necessary and report back to the Principal Building Surveyor/Engineer
  • prepare feasibility studies, produce design work and technical reports and advise the Principal Quantity Surveyorabout the best tender options - this will involve preparing contract drawings and valuations forwork, certifying accounts and producing certificates forpayments
  • as project leader of construction contracts, direct the team and keep the client up to date with progress, variations and costs
  • take action when problems occur
  • establish that health and safety considerations have been fully met by all consultants and contractors ( they have the power to close down wholeorparts of a building in cases of majordecayorincidents)
  • negotiate the appropriate fees forproject work , generate external income forthe council and balance their budgets.

Maintenance officers are responsible forprofessional advice on construction projects and liaise with planning officers, building control, estates management services and statutory authorities in the community such as funding agencies as well as consultants, contractors and clients. They are also required to undertake condition surveys and establish value formoney procedures. This will include attending to any building and engineering service defects and identifying priorities foraction. As officers/engineers are part of a profit-making consultancy on behalf of the council, an important aspect of their role is marketing. They need to promote their services to schools and external bodies to get work and provide income forthe local authority. As project leaders, they are also responsible forsupervising juniortechnical and administrative staff. On sensitive matters - enforced refurbishment, perhaps even condemning unsafe property - they may sometimes have to deal with irate and abusive third parties.

Skills & Interests
Maintenance officers/engineers should have:

  • leadership skills
  • good numeracy and literacy ability
  • statistical and financial acumen
  • ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • ability to get on with people from different backgrounds
  • physical fitness
  • drawing board, IT and CAD skills
  • presentational and marketing skills
  • appreciation of various construction techniques, building services, appropriate  use of materials and application of requisite legislation. 

Entry Requirements
It is necessary to have a professional qualification normally at degree,orthe equivalent level, in building construction/surveyingorservices engineering/maintenance techniques. Engineering entrance may be at HNC level OR a trade-based qualification. You will be expected to undertake continuing professional development (CPD). Membership of a relevant professional body is helpful.  It is essential to have had experience of directing contractorand technical staff, building and site supervisory work, construction services and maintenance techniques, trades and craftsorbuilding surveying/ building services. Experience in a commercial environment is desirable.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
There are many opportunities foradvancement in building engineering, building maintenance and surveying services including design, installation and construction as well as general estates management (property, asset and facilities management).  The next step up within this particular section is Senior/Principal Building Maintenance Officer.  There are similar opportunities in the private construction and surveying sectors.

Further Information & Services
Summit Skills 
Construction careers & recruitment information 
Construction Skills 
Chartered Institute of Building 
Association of Building Engineers 
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers 
Asset Skills 
Modern Building Services Journal 
Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors- 
The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists- 
The Institute of Clerk of Works-

Careers Wales have produced a Spotlight article on careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths):  

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library. 

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