5 Surprising Skills Every Building Services Engineer Should Have in 2023

The field of building services engineering continues to evolve at a rapid pace. To thrive in this dynamic industry, engineers must equip themselves with a diverse set of skills that go beyond technical expertise. While technical skills are undoubtedly important, there are five surprising skills that often go overlooked but are essential for engineers to achieve better outcomes in their work, career, and professional relationships. In this blog post, we will explore these skills and their significance, challenging traditional assumptions and providing a fresh perspective on what it takes to excel in building services engineering.

1. Effective Communication: Breaking Down Silos

Building services engineers work in a multidisciplinary environment, collaborating with architects, contractors, clients, and fellow engineers. Despite the crucial nature of effective communication, it is often an undervalued skill in the industry. Engineers must go beyond technical jargon and actively engage with stakeholders to bridge the gap between technical complexities and practical implications.

By developing strong communication skills, engineers can articulate their ideas, listen actively, and collaborate effectively. This skill enables them to convey complex concepts to non-technical stakeholders, such as clients or policymakers, facilitating better decision-making processes. Moreover, effective communication promotes teamwork, breaks down silos, and fosters an inclusive work environment where ideas and perspectives can be freely shared and valued.

2. Emotional Intelligence: Nurturing Relationships

While technical prowess is essential, emotional intelligence (EI) is an often overlooked skill that can significantly impact an engineer's success. EI encompasses self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to manage emotions effectively. In the context of building services engineering, EI allows engineers to navigate conflicts, build strong relationships, and adapt to changing project demands.

By understanding and managing their own emotions, engineers can remain resilient in high-pressure situations, make informed decisions, and maintain their composure while dealing with challenges. Additionally, empathy empowers engineers to understand the needs and concerns of their team members, clients, and end-users. This insight enables them to design solutions that align with the broader goals and aspirations of the stakeholders, resulting in improved outcomes and client satisfaction.

3. Innovation and Adaptability: Staying Ahead of the Curve

The world of building services engineering is constantly evolving, driven by advancements in technology, sustainability initiatives, and changing regulations. In such a rapidly changing landscape, engineers must cultivate a mindset of innovation and adaptability to remain relevant and seize new opportunities.

By embracing innovation, engineers can explore novel approaches and technologies that optimise energy efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and enhance occupant comfort. For example, integrating smart building systems, utilising advanced modelling and simulation techniques, or adopting renewable energy solutions can provide significant benefits in terms of cost savings, sustainability, and occupant well-being. Engineers who actively seek out and embrace innovation can differentiate themselves in the industry and position themselves as valuable assets to their clients and employers.

4. Business Acumen: Understanding the Bottom Line

While engineers are primarily responsible for technical aspects, it is essential for them to have a solid understanding of business fundamentals. By developing business acumen, engineers can effectively communicate the value of their work, make informed decisions based on economic considerations, and contribute to the overall success of a project or organisation.

Engineers who grasp the financial implications of their decisions can identify cost-effective solutions, balance budgetary constraints with project requirements, and effectively communicate the return on investment to stakeholders. This skill allows them to align technical recommendations with the financial goals of clients and organisations, making them more influential in decision-making processes. Ultimately, engineers who possess business acumen are better equipped to navigate the complex intersection of technical requirements, financial considerations, and client expectations.


5. Leadership and Project Management: Guiding Success

In the field of building services engineering, leadership and project management skills are often associated with managerial roles. However, even for engineers who may not hold formal leadership positions, these skills are invaluable in driving project success and career advancement.

Leadership skills enable engineers to inspire and motivate their team members, foster a culture of collaboration and innovation, and ensure effective project execution. By taking initiative, demonstrating problem-solving abilities, and displaying a proactive attitude, engineers can earn the trust and respect of their peers and superiors. This can lead to increased opportunities for career growth, such as being entrusted with more complex projects or being promoted to leadership positions.

Moreover, project management skills allow engineers to effectively plan, organise, and execute projects within scope, budget, and timeline constraints. Engineers who can navigate project complexities, coordinate diverse teams, and manage resources efficiently are more likely to deliver successful outcomes. These skills also contribute to the development of strong professional relationships, as clients and stakeholders appreciate engineers who can provide reliable project management and ensure smooth project delivery.


Building services engineering is a dynamic and multidisciplinary field that requires engineers to possess a broad range of skills beyond technical expertise. While technical skills remain crucial, developing the skills discussed in this blog post—effective communication, emotional intelligence, innovation and adaptability, business acumen, and leadership and project management—are essential in helping engineers to achieve better outcomes in their work, career, and professional relationships.

By embracing effective communication, engineers can bridge the gap between technical complexities and practical implications, fostering collaboration and inclusive work environments. Developing emotional intelligence enables engineers to nurture strong relationships, navigate conflicts, and design solutions that align with stakeholder needs. Innovation and adaptability empower engineers to stay ahead of the curve, driving sustainability and optimising building performance.

Understanding business fundamentals equips engineers to make informed decisions, communicate value, and contribute to the financial success of projects and organisations. Finally, leadership and project management skills guide engineers towards project success and open doors for career advancement.

As the building services engineering industry continues to evolve, engineers who possess these skills will stand out among their peers. By challenging assumptions and broadening their skill set, engineers can position themselves as valuable assets in a rapidly changing landscape, making significant contributions to the built environment and shaping a sustainable future.

So, embrace these skills, strive for continuous growth, and become the well-rounded building services engineer that 2023 demands.

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