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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.  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.

Building services are what makes a building come to life. They include:

  • energy supply - gas , electricity and renewable sources
  • heating and ventilating
  • water , drainage and plumbing
  • daylighting and artificial lighting
  • escalators and lifts
  • ventilation and refrigeration
  • harnessing solar, wind and biomass energy
  • communications, telephones and IT networks
  • security and alarm systems
  • fire detection and protection
  • air conditioning and refrigeration
  • facade engineering

In every place that you see these services, building services engineers have designed, installed and maintain them in working order.  

Imagine the air filtration systems you'd need in a forensic laboratory. The heating controls in a special care baby unit? How to control bacteria and humidity in an operating theatre? What aboutsecurity systems at the HQ of MI5? Lighting the Wembley Stadium? Coping with a power cut in the dealing room of a City banker? This is everyday work for a building services engineer.

CIBSE professionals were at the heart of preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London, where every aspect of the environment for the indoor events had to deliver comfort for the performers and spectators, and be energy efficient. At any sports event, think about what the spectators and athletes are experiencing. People movement, communications for scoreboards, security and safety.  All these systems are designed, installed and maintained by building services engineers.

On a smaller scale, look around you at home.  Your central heating, plumbing and power systems were all designed to work well . New homes with much more efficient systems using ground-breaking technologies are being created all the time. It's building services engineers who are creating a low carbon future for us all.