The life & times of an HVAC Engineer

{February 14, 2011}   At last…

I’ve not written a blog post for a while, things have been very busy with getting documents ready to issue for construction, being interviewed by Radio 4, and taking a week off to go skiing. But most significantly, to my career at least, I was preparing and attending my presentation and interview to become a Chartered Engineer and Member of CIBSE
So, for those of you who are not engineers, what does it mean to be a Chartered Engineer?

In the most basic of terms it means that you have gained the appropriate qualifications and experience to prove that you’re a competent and respectable engineer…that you can, amongst other things, innovate, negotiate and calculate. In the words of the Engineering Council UK (the body that regulates the professional competence standards):

“Chartered Engineers develop appropriate solutions to engineering problems. They may develop and apply new technologies, promote advanced designs and design methods and introduce new and more efficient production techniques, or pioneer new engineering services and management methods. The title CEng is protected by civil law and is one of the most recognisable international engineering qualifications.”

Becoming chartered can potentially mean a promotion and an increase in pay, as many companies set the bar for becoming a Senior Engineer as chartership. It means you can put letters after your name (well it’s always nice to get a higher score in scrabble), and those letters get you a certain amount of professional recognition and respect. Use it right and it can get you access to learning, get you the European title of Eur Ing (letters you can put in front of your name for recognition in more countries), improve your career prospects and give you a greater influence within the industry.

For me though, becoming Chartered is all about pride, self-respect, and hopefully shaking off some of the assumptions I get about being a secretary or ‘just a little girl’. It’s something I’ve worked very hard for since before I even started my degree. When choosing a university course one of my main criteria was that it had to be accredited by the Engineering Council as without accredited qualifications becoming chartered can be very difficult. That’s not to say it’s easy as it is of course! I worked hard through my degree and when I started work I was always careful to keep a log book and a training record. I’ve also tried to use the competency criteria that are used for assessing you for chartership as a guide for my career development. During appraisals I tended to push for opportunities that would get me the experience I needed to deepen my knowledge in areas where I was lacking.

All of that effort has made for an exciting, fast paced, and sometimes really exhausting few years. But, as I found out today, it has all been worth it as I’m now a Chartered Engineer. Hurrah!


Charlene says:

Congratulations! Glad your hard work has paid off for you.

geekchloe says:

Thank-you! I’ve very happy about it, as you could probably tell. Especially given “The average age of engineers gaining chartered status was 36” (information from ‘Professional Engineering Magasine’ regarding 2010).

kayels says:

Congratulations Chloe 🙂

[…] you may have read in my previous post about getting chartered, my goal for a very long time was to be a chartered engineer. The problem, however, with achieving […]

Ian says:

Hello Chloe,


That’s an awesome achievement!!!!

I am an HVAC engineer also and is aiming at getting chartered status also.

Would you be kind enough to tell me how you did it?



geekchloe says:

Hi Ian,

Thanks very much. I always kept a log of the sorts of projects and activities I was involved with, particularly when they were fully my responsibility. By comparing this log against the CIBSE membership competencies I could see what skills and experiences I still needed in order to meet the membership criteria. I would then discuss these remaining skills/experiences with my line manager to see what I could do in order to develop them. This meant I would sometimes be offered roles or placements that I might not otherwise have taken (like working away from home in Hull, snagging, commissioning and validating a plant for 3 months). You certainly need to be willing to ask for, and grab, any opportunities in order to progress your career.
Once I had experience or in depth knowledge of every competency then I discussed membership with one of my CIBSE chartered colleagues who had been assisting me with my development. He was happy to sponsor me in a membership application so I used my logbook to write my Engineering Practise Report (several thousand words!) which then went to the CIBSE panel.
When this was approved I was then invited to interview, which involved me giving a ~15 minute presentation about my involvement on a project and how this demonstrated my exellence as a Building Services Engineer. 45 minutes of questioning and a several month wait and I received notification that I was officially a Chartered Engineer, and even have a certificate to prove it.

I hope that helps with your understanding of the process, and helps you to become a chartered HVAC engineer too. Good luck & feel free to ask any other questions!


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