By: Kevin Boltz
December 08, 2021
When young professionals envision what a career in commercial real estate might look like, they often first think of brokers and property managers. While those functions are integral to the success of an asset, there are plenty of roles that are equally important and fulfilling – enter building engineering.
A building engineer is responsible for the maintenance and performance of a commercial property, ranging from plumbing and HVAC to electrical and mechanical operations. Rather than working in a single trade, building engineers have an opportunity to work with different types of systems. No two days look the same, which adds to the fun. A fast-paced, client-facing role, building engineers often experience a sense of satisfaction because they get to help tenants through a series of challenges that only they can solve.
While many aspects of building engineering can be taught, there are some skillsets that are recommended, such as:
- An outside-the-box problem solving approach: Every system in a building has unique intricacies. When troubleshooting problems, patience and nimbleness pay off. During periods of reduced occupancy, property owners often look to building engineers to identify creative ways to reduce operating expenses without sacrificing high performance. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
- Strong interpersonal skills: Many building engineers enjoy developing meaningful relationships with their tenants and colleagues. In addition to engaging with building occupants, engineers must be good listeners and capable of communicating problems and solutions in an efficient, digestible manner.
- Technical aptitude: As the IoT evolution continues, proficiency in advanced building technologies is becoming increasingly valuable. In addition to automated work order systems, building engineers must become well-versed in access controls, lighting, and security and emergency response systems, like those delivered through TranswesternHub.
- Sustainability mindset: The operations of a building have a significant impact on property value, and a focused effort to limit waste and reduce energy consumption is an important way to demonstrate the importance of an environmentally responsible real estate services provider.
Whether you’re fresh out of high school or considering a career change, trade school is an excellent avenue to learn some of the critical skills needed for building engineering. Transwestern has strong relationships with trade schools across the country and is actively recruiting from graduating classes. I was a young adult working on a construction site managed by a building engineer when I came across the profession. The role piqued my interest, and the building engineer took note and taught me the tricks of the trade.
Once on the building engineering track, the career offers many opportunities for professional growth. An engineer for a single building may ascend the ranks and ultimately oversee a large portfolio of Class A properties. While this role is more managerial in nature, it remains heavily dependent on client relations and requires a deep understanding of how a building functions, which is at the heart of building engineering.
If you’d like to learn more about career opportunities at Transwestern, please visit our Careers page.
Kevin Boltz is Transwestern’s National Director of Engineering. Based in Denver, he oversees building engineering for Transwestern-managed properties nationwide.
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