What exactly is the Building Services industry?
In Australia, the Building Services industry is a multi-billion dollar part of the economy that nationally employs tens of thousands of people. Building services have been called “the systems that bring buildings to life” – these are the air conditioning, ventilation, lighting, power, water, waste and fire and life safety systems. Virtually every facet of modern life depends in one way or another on building services. The quality and safety of the food we eat and water we drink, public health, hospitals and sanitation, banking and commerce, industrial production, arts and entertainment, communications, transportation and our comfort and safety in our homes, and places of work and entertainment all depend on building services.
If you’re new to the industry and keen to find out more, this is what you should know.
Homes, office buildings, industrial plants, schools, public and government facilities and computer technology all rely on building services systems to create and maintain safe, healthy and comfortable living and working environments.
Many industrial, medical, technical and commercial processes depend on sophisticated heating, cooling and ventilating systems for their operation. Most buildings rely on fire and life safety systems to protect their occupants and assets in case of fire. Building Services people are problem solvers; experts who contribute to making equipment work better, more efficiently, quicker and less expensively.
Building Services are a necessity today for personal comfort and safety, medical health, food processing, water and power supply, building fire protection and workplace productivity. In fact all human activities have come to depend on building services in one way or another. The industry will produce thousands of new jobs in the coming decades as the market for these services expand.
Technical jobs are the fastest growing segment of the economy. A secure and rewarding future awaits in this industry.
The Building Services industry offers various careers with variety, job security, respect, upward mobility, great salaries, long-term employment and opportunity. Australian Building Services professionals are recognised as some of the best trained and most capable in the world and can use their skills anywhere.
There is a very wide range of roles in the building services industry; here are a few:
- Engineers: Conceive and design building services systems based on functional requirements and the need to conserve energy and water. They are also problem solvers and ensure that systems are maintained correctly and operate efficiently. They address areas including thermodynamics, electrical theory, fluid mechanicals, mechanical design, materials technology and regulatory and code compliance.
- Computer Modellers and Draftspersons: Use sophisticated Building Information Modelling (BIM) computer-aided design and drawing systems together with technical knowledge and skills to design and document HVAC and other building services systems for manufacture and installation.
- Plumbers: Fabricate, install and repair pipe and ductwork systems that carry fluids such as heating and cooling water and air for air conditioning and ventilation throughout buildings. They also install the plant and equipment that heats and cools and pumps the fluids, and heats and cools and moves the air.
- Electricians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot lighting and power systems.
- Service Technicians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot HVAC equipment and other building services using diverse knowledge of electrical components, motors, control systems, air flow, piping design, thermodynamics and refrigeration systems.
- Commissioning Technicians: Carry out the setting up and tuning of new HVAC systems and complex building services.
- Controls Technicians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot the sophisticated computerised Building Management and Controls Systems (BMCS) that control the efficient operation of HVAC, electrical and fire and life safety systems in modern buildings.
- Alarms Technicians: Install, maintain, service, repair and troubleshoot complex fire and life safety monitoring and alarm systems that help protect building occupants and buildings from the effects of fire.
- Sprinkler Fitters: Fabricate, install and repair fire sprinkler and fire hydrant systems that protect building occupants and buildings from the effects of fire.
Building Services people work everywhere!
Some examples of where you will find them:
- Office Buildings including large city buildings
- Hospitals and medical facilities
- Schools and Universities
- Computer Data Centres
- Arts and Entertainment Complexes
- Factories and industrial plants
- Shopping Centres
- Sporting facilities
- Power stations and water utilities
There are a wide range of career opportunities and potential career paths in the building services industry. Refer to ‘What jobs do people do in the Building Services industry’ and ‘What are the educational requirements?’ for an idea of where to start.
To get started in the building services field, you should think about taking subjects in the following areas (dependant on your role):
- Information Systems and Technology
- Technology and Technology Applications
- Electrical and Electronics
- Mechanical drawing
- CAD – Computer Aided Design
- Building and construction
More information can be found on the following websites:
- http://amca.com.au – Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors Association
- http://nfia.com.au – National Fire Industry Association
- http://neca.asn.au/ – National Electrical and Communications Association
- http://australianapprenticeships.gov.au/ – Commonwealth Government
- http://yourcareerguide.com.au/categories/news – Career information and guidance
Interested in a career opportunity at A.G Coombs?
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