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How to Become a Building Maintenance Engineer

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A building is essentially a complex combination of structure and machines. Everything from the toilets to the air conditioners to the walls themselves need regular attention if a building is to survive the rigors of daily use. Real estate professionals normally do not have the experience, knowledge or desire to maintain the buildings that they own and manage. That is why they have building maintenance personnel. The building maintenance engineer is the most qualified of these employees. The maintenance engineer knows how everything works and why. Years of training and education will qualify you to be a building maintenance engineer.

Attend college classes in pursuit of a four-year degree in professional engineering. Focus on your core classes, and eliminate any alternative classes that you do not absolutely need for your engineering degree. Spend your free time studying for your classes and working a job that will give you experience that will advance your knowledge of the trades.

Get a job with a remodeling contractor to get on-the-job training. Learn as much as you can about carpentry, drywall, painting and basic tool use. Ask questions about each project. Talk to your boss and co-workers about proper building techniques and safety procedures.

Take plumbing classes, and spend at least six months working with a licensed plumber. Pay close attention to procedures, and learn the basics through hands-on experience. Ask your employer to show you how to install various types of pipe and different common fixtures.

Attend some classes in basic electricity. Work with a licensed electrician for a summer to learn how the theory from your classes is applied in the real world. Focus your attention on installing sockets, fixtures and wiring. Learn about current and the hazards it poses to people and buildings.

Spend time working with a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, also known as HVAC, repair professional. Learn as much as possible about the maintenance of various common systems. Ask questions about duct work sizes and fixture placement. Take a basic HVAC course as your school schedule allows.

Work for six months with an exterminator. Learn about the local pests, their habits and the proper way to get rid of them. Pay careful attention to your employer so that you will know how to apply chemicals as well as how to use killing and live traps.

Complete your courses, and get your degree. Apply with real estate management agencies and independent apartment management offices. List all of the experience you got while working for various contractors on your resume. Sit down at your interviews, and show each prospective employer that you have the job experience and education to keep their buildings running smoothly and safely.

Tip

Familiarize yourself with local building codes and permit requirements.

Warning

Electricians, HVAC mechanics and plumbers require a special license in most states. Only perform basic repairs in emergency situations, and call a licensed contractor to do the majority of work needed.

Always wear the proper safety equipment, and use the appropriate safety protocol for the project at hand.

References

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

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