Facilities engineers work in a number of indoor environments including manufacturing facilities, hospitals and offices. They can have an extremely broad remit covering the infrastructure of the building, depending on the needs of the company. Areas of direct responsibility might include environmental, health and safety issues, electrical engineering or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
What is Facilities Engineering?
The overall aim of facilities engineering is to ensure that routine facility utility processes are carried out in the safest, most time efficient and cost effective way possible. Facilities Engineers achieve this through review and modification of existing processes, as well as design and implementation of new procedures or improvements.
A facilities engineer can have direct responsibility for a range of facility infrastructure needs – such as HVAC, electrical engineering, EHS, energy, maintenance and civil engineering.
As well as the day-to-day running of the facility, a facilities engineer may have budgetary responsibilities and duties around optimising operational efficiency. Facilities engineer may also be involved in the development of new facilities, planning and implementing the facility infrastructure and utility systems.
All tasks performed by facilities engineers will be in strict accordance with any internal policies and SOPs as well as any relevant external regulations. To ensure full compliance, maintaining accurate documentation for their tasks is an important part of the role.
In this role, individuals will be required to work closely with other specialists to ensure smooth running of the facility.
What Does a Facilities Engineer do?
The specific tasks of any one facility engineering position will be highly dependant on the size of plant, what is being manufactured and the range of specialist employees. If a company has a specialist instrumentation engineer, for example, then instrumentation will then not be the direct responsibility of the facilities engineer.
Examples of the potential tasks of a facilities engineer include:
- Budgetary responsibilities
- Review and monitoring of current processes to optimise efficiency
- Scheduling of routine maintenance
- Troubleshooting any issues with the plant utility systems
- Writing of internal SOPs for relevant areas
- Analysis of potential improvements
- Design of new processes or procedures across facility
- Oversight of improvement or installation projects
- Responsibility to ensure plant utility systems meet internal standards and external regulatory requirements
- Supervision of junior facilities staff
- Training of other staff on safety procedures
Becoming a Facilities Engineer
Typically, a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in engineering is required. Extensive previous facilities experience can also provide a route into these senior positions.
The ideal skill set for someone moving into facilities engineering includes:
- Organisational skills – the daily tasks can be extremely diverse. Some may be monitoring and reviewing routine plant operations, some may require project management of new initiatives, and some may require input at the very start of facility development. Prioritisation, budgetary responsibilities and time management are all key
- Leadership or Management experience – a facilities engineer may have to manage a team of technicians
- Attention to detail – in general, the aim is to maximise efficiency and maintain safety standards. This requires the ability to notice the smallest of areas where improvements could be made.
- Critical thinking – may have to troubleshoot problems within the plant and be able to consider a range of potential fixes or improvements, before deciding on the most appropriate one
- Communitication skills – interaction with colleagues across the facility will generally be required, as well as routine reporting to management. Written and verbal communication skills are both extremely important
- Calm under pressure – needs to be able to make well-informed and considered decisions in times of extreme pressure, could be a key decision maker in emergency or time-critical situations
Switch to Facilities Engineering in the Pharmaceutical Industry
If you already have experience as a Facilities Engineer and are interested in switching to a career in pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing, consider our Certificate in eBioPharmaChem conversion course. This 30-week academically accredited programme will give you the specific technical information you need to make this change.
To see currently available Facilities Engineering roles in these industries, check our jobs boards and select Engineering in the “Jobs by Category” menu. We currently have jobs boards for Ireland, the UK, and Philadelphia, USA.
What is the Salary for a Facilities Engineer in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
For information on average salaries for facilities engineers, check out our Salaries Page.
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