The Impact of Digitalisation on Building Services Engineering


In the ever-evolving world of building services engineering, digitalisation is disrupting traditional practices at an unprecedented pace. As specialist building services engineering recruiters, it is our duty to shed light on the transformative impact of digitalisation and discuss how it demands new skills from mechanical engineers. In this blog post, we will explore the key changes brought about by digitalisation, how these changes are shaping hiring decisions, and most importantly, the skills you need to develop to remain competitive in this rapidly changing landscape.

The Impact of Digitalisation on Building Services Engineering

Digitalisation has ushered in a new era of efficiency, productivity, and sustainability in the building services engineering sector. From the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, technology is revolutionising how buildings are designed, operated, and maintained.

One of the most significant impacts of digitalisation is the integration of data-driven decision-making processes. With the vast amount of data generated by smart sensors, energy management systems, and automated controls, engineers now have access to unprecedented insights into building performance. This enables proactive maintenance, optimised energy consumption, and predictive fault detection, ultimately reducing costs and improving sustainability.

Furthermore, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms has opened up new possibilities for optimising building performance. These advanced analytics can identify patterns, predict equipment failures, and optimise energy usage, leading to more efficient and sustainable building operations. By harnessing the power of AI and ML, engineers can elevate their problem-solving capabilities and make informed decisions based on real-time data.


The Changing Skill Set: Demand for New Expertise

The advent of digitalisation has significantly disrupted the conventional role of mechanical engineers within the realm of Building Services Engineering. Employers are now on the lookout for professionals who can not only handle mechanical systems proficiently but also possess the ability to seamlessly integrate these systems with the digital infrastructure of modern buildings. Moreover, alongside technical expertise, the demand for strong interpersonal skills has surged. Building services engineers must be effective communicators and adept collaborators, as they often find themselves working in multidisciplinary teams. The ability to foster cross-collaboration is crucial in ensuring the successful integration of mechanical systems with the broader digital framework of modern buildings.

This paradigm shift in the industry has been further reinforced by insights from our recent salary guide. We conducted a comprehensive survey involving over 3,000 building services engineering candidates and multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy leaders, revealing that 30% of employers have identified a collaborative and team-oriented culture as their top priority.

In light of this shift in priorities, building services engineers must expand their skill set. Today, building services engineers must possess a unique blend of traditional engineering principles and advanced digital competencies, enabling them to navigate the intricacies of the digital landscape. This includes a deep understanding of digital tools and technologies used in building systems and their integration.

One crucial skill that mechanical engineers must develop is proficiency in 3D modelling tools (Revit MEP) and building simulation software. These tools enable engineers to design, model, and analyse complex mechanical systems with precision and accuracy. Proficiency in software such as AutoCAD, Revit, IES and EnergyPlus is now a prerequisite for success in the field.

Moreover, mechanical engineers must be well-versed in data analysis and programming. The ability to extract insights from large datasets, employ machine learning algorithms, and write code is increasingly becoming valuable in Building Services Engineering. Harnessing the power of data analytics allows engineers to identify patterns, predict system failures, and optimise energy usage, leading to significant cost savings and improved building performance.

Shaping Hiring Decisions: Employers Seek Digital-Savvy Mechanical Engineers

As digitalisation continues to reshape the industry, employers are prioritising candidates with a strong digital skillset. In fact, according to a study by RMIT more than 50 per cent of jobs will require significant digital skills in the years to come, and more than half of Australian workers will need to be able to use, configure or build digital systems.

This trend is expected to grow further, with the demand for digital-savvy engineers projected to increase in the years to come as increased collaboration and then integration of different engineering disciplines grows.

Employers recognise that digital competence is no longer an optional extra but a fundamental requirement. They seek engineers who can adapt to new technologies, collaborate effectively across disciplines, and leverage digital tools to drive innovation. The ability to combine deep mechanical engineering knowledge with digital fluency is now a differentiating factor for candidates.


Skills Mechanical Engineers Should Develop

To thrive in the era of digitalisation, mechanical engineers must acquire a diverse range of skills that extend beyond traditional engineering knowledge. Here are some key competencies that are increasingly sought after by employers:

  • Proficiency in BIM: Building Information Modelling has become a cornerstone of modern building design and construction. Mechanical engineers must become proficient in BIM software such as Autodesk Revit, enabling them to collaborate seamlessly with other disciplines and contribute to integrated project delivery.
  • Data Analysis and Modelling: The ability to extract insights from data and create accurate models is critical. Mechanical engineers must familiarise themselves with tools like Python, MATLAB, or R to perform statistical analysis, develop predictive models, and optimise system performance.
  • Understanding of IoT and Building Automation: Mechanical engineers must grasp the principles of the Internet of Things and building automation systems. This knowledge allows engineers to design efficient control strategies, integrate IoT devices, and utilise real-time data for informed decision-making.
  • Energy Modelling and Efficiency: As energy conservation becomes increasingly vital, mechanical engineers must develop expertise in energy modelling software like EnergyPlus or IES VE. Understanding energy-saving strategies and conducting life cycle cost analysis will be invaluable in designing sustainable buildings.
  • Communication and Collaboration: In a digitalised environment, effective communication and collaboration across multidisciplinary teams are paramount. Mechanical engineers must be adept at conveying complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders and collaborating with architects, electrical engineers, and contractors to achieve project goals.

Staying Updated on the Latest Trends and Innovations

To stay ahead in the digitalisation era, mechanical engineers must proactively engage with the ever-evolving landscape. Here are a few ways to remain up-to-date:

  • Attend Industry Conferences and Seminars: Participate in conferences, seminars, and workshops focused on building services engineering, digitalisation, and emerging technologies. These events provide valuable networking opportunities and insights into industry best practices.
  • Join Professional Associations and Communities: Engage with professional associations such as CIBSE and online communities that foster knowledge sharing and discussion around digitalisation in building services engineering. Participating in these communities will keep you informed about the latest trends and innovations.
  • Continuous Professional Development: Seek out training programs, online courses, and certifications that focus on digital technologies, BIM, IoT, and data analysis. Many reputable institutions offer flexible learning options to accommodate busy schedules.
  • Collaborate on Research Projects: Engage in research collaborations or undertake independent research projects to explore the applications of digital technologies in building services engineering. This hands-on experience will sharpen your skills and provide valuable insights.


Digitalisation has disrupted the field of Building Services Engineering, reshaping the skills demanded of mechanical engineers. To remain competitive in this evolving landscape, mechanical engineers must acquire a hybrid skill set that combines traditional engineering expertise with digital fluency. By developing proficiency in BIM, data analysis, IoT, energy modelling, and fostering effective communication, mechanical engineers can position themselves as valuable assets to employers in the digital age.

Embracing lifelong learning and staying updated on the latest trends and technologies is crucial. The transformational power of digitalisation offers immense opportunities for those willing to adapt and grow with the industry. 

If you’re a mechanical engineer seeking new opportunities or the chance to develop your career, we would love to hear from you.


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