Skip to main content
Back to About CIBSE

History of CIBSE

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has its origins in the final years of the Victorian era when technical solutions to building comfort were emerging. 

The Institution of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (IHVE) was founded in 1897 and the Illuminating Engineering Society was founded in 1909.

Download a history of the IHVE

By Royal Charter, these two institutions were amalgamated in 1976, forming the Chartered Institution of Building Services. The word 'Engineers' was added in 1985.

CIBSE Coat of Arms

CIBSE Coat of Arms

CIBSE’s coat of arms was granted by the College of Arms in 1979. The full coat of arms comprises a shield (‘escutcheon’), supporters, a helmet with a crest, and a motto.

The shield’s background (‘the field’) is blue, representing man’s environment. The upper part of the shield features lightning bolts signifying electrical energy and light, and water drops representing the water used for cleansing, cooling and humidification.

The central section (‘the ordinary’) represents the cleaning of air by filtration. The lower section features more water drops and the sun representing the direct and indirect source of the earth’s energy. The horizontal bars dividing the shield into its three sections signify the pipes through which the media serving many building services flow.

The shield is surmounted by a helmet (‘the helm’), which bears a wreath of twisted cloth (‘the torse’), decorated with more lightning bolts, and the crest.

The crest takes the form of a chained hawk holding a fiery torch. The hawk’s keen eyesight maintains a watchful eye on the conservation of energy, while the chain signifies its control for mankind’s use. A simplified, stylised version of the hawk is used as the familiar CIBSE logo.

The two supporters are, on the dexter side (right as viewed by the shield bearer), Aeolus, god of winds. On the sinister side stands Apollo, the sun god.

The motto, For the Greater Comfort of Mankind, proved impossible to translate into traditional Latin because although they had central heating, the Romans had no word for the noun ‘comfort’.