Taught course

Building Services Engineering Management

Brunel University, London · Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in an engineering; appropriate science or technology discipline. Other qualifications and relevant experience will be assessed on an individual basis.

Months of entry


Course content

About the course

This course is aimed at professional engineers aspiring to increased management responsibility in the building services sector or who have reached a stage in their careers when they are carrying increasing management responsibility.


Building Service Engineers help buildings to deliver on their potential by working with architects and construction engineers to produce buildings that offer the functionality and comfort we expect, with the minimum impact on our environment. They design the lighting appropriate for the space, the heating, cooling, ventilation and all systems that ensure comfort, health and safety in all types of buildings, residential commercial and industrial.

Building services engineering is an interdisciplinary profession. It involves the specification, design, installation and management of all the engineering services associated with the built environment.

With the growing complexity of engineering services in modern buildings and the significance of energy conservation and pollution control, the role of the building services engineer is becoming increasingly important.

As an interdisciplinary profession that involves the specification, design, installation and management of all the engineering services associated with the built environment, comfort and function also need to be combined – which calls for engineers with a wide range of knowledge and skills.

This MSc programme is for:

  • Recent engineering and technology graduates, moving into building services and related disciplines.
  • Established engineers and technologists, working in building services and faced with the challenge of new areas of responsibility.
  • Engineers who want to develop technical understanding and expertise across the multi-disciplines of building services engineering.
  • Managers and designers, who need to broaden their experience and require updating.
  • Lecturers in higher education, moving into or requiring updating in building services engineering.
  • Others with engineering and technology backgrounds, perhaps working in advisory or consultancy roles, who wish to familiarise themselves with building services engineering. However, choice of course will be dependent upon the type and extent of knowledge and skills required.

Course Content

Modes of Study

3-5 Years Distance Learning

The distance learning programme is designed to enable you to conduct most of your studies at home, in your own time and at your own pace.

  • There is no requirement to attend lectures at Brunel University and there is no set timetable of lectures, instead you follow a structured programme of self-study at home or at work. This gives you the freedom to arrange a work programme to suit yourself and you should usually allow about twelve hours each week for study.
  • There are set submission dates for assignments but we have tried to design the programme so that they are well-spaced, giving you the maximum flexibility in your study plans.
  • You can take between three and five years to complete the course. The average is three years, with students taking four modules in the first year, four modules in the second year and the dissertation in the third year. However, depending on your other commitments you can take longer up to a maximum of five years.
  • You are supplied with a study pack in the form of textbooks and CD-ROMs; you have assignments to submit and exams to sit each year.
  • Examinations can be taken either at Brunel University or in the country you are resident in. We have an extensive network of organisations (universities, colleges and British Council offices) throughout the world who will provide invigilation services.
  • The cost of invigilation away from Brunel is your responsibility. Examinations are held in May each year.

Compulsory Modules

Building Heat Transfer and Air Conditioning

  • Building Heat Transfer analyses the various mechanisms of heat transfer appropriate to buildings and the principles of heating and cooling load calculations. Areas covered include solar gains, fabric heat transmission, infiltration, effects of moisture content, methods of heating and cooling load calculations, CIBSE admittance procedure, condensation and finite difference techniques.
  • Air Conditioning covers the principles of psychometrics and the design of air conditioning systems. Emphasis is placed on the properties of humid air, thermal comfort, inside and outside design conditions. Air Conditioning design includes air and water, all water systems and unitary equipment.

Electrical Services and Lighting Design

  • Electrical Services covers aspects of electrical energy supply, electricity tariffs, switchgear and the design of electrical installations to satisfy lEE Wiring Regulations. Also covered are the principles of electrical machines and power electronic devices used in building services applications.
  • Lighting Design considers the human visual system, the nature and control of light, photometric units, lighting calculations, interior lighting design, daylighting, lamps and luminaires and energy efficiency aspects of lighting systems.

Acoustics, Fire, Lifts and Drainage

  • Acoustics covers the basic terms and physical principles, sound power and intensity, the ear and hearing, propagation of noise, legal requirements and noise standards, room acoustics, sound generation in services systems, and vibration isolation.
  • Fire, Drainage and Lifts considers fire and smoke control, sanitation and waste disposal, industrial ventilation and exhaust requirements, lift and escalator design, space allowance for building services, commissioning and testing.

Engineering Finance and Accounting

  • Financial Accounting: basic terminology, legal requirements and structures of financial accounting statements, analysis of financial performance.
  • Management Accounting in the Building Services Sector: working capital management, cash-flow analysis, insolvency, cost accounting, budgeting, cost databases.
  • Strategic Financial Management: capital investment (asset acquisition and disposal), decision making and appraisal, sources of investment capital, factors in the external business environment (inflation, exchange rates, interest rates).

Management of People in Engineering Activities

  • Personality and behaviour: motivating people and raising commitment (incentives and rewards), dealing with change, relationships (managing conflict, internal and external relationships).
  • Team Working: building multi-disciplinary teams, group dynamics (setting goals and harnessing creativity).
  • Leadership: functional approach, developing leadership skills.
  • Employment Issues: choosing and developing staff (performance appraisal), employment law, equal opportunities (race relations, sex discrimination and equal pay), staff records (data protection).

Organisation of Engineering Business

  • Structure: the organisation of business functions (examples drawn from engineering manufacturers, contractors, consultancies, local authorities), permanent and temporary organisational structures, span of control.
  • Operation and culture: corporate strategy, ethics, styles of management, factors affecting organisational culture (competitive tendering, partnering).
  • Environment: stakeholders, PEEST analysis, supply chain management.
  • Development: the need for change (technological, market, financial and economic forces in the construction industry), planning as part of an engineering organisation's business, choosing a change strategy, implementing change, analysing change.
  • Planning Tools: project management techniques, operational research (reliability, linear programming), risk management and value engineering.

Management of Facilities and Engineering Contracts

  • Marketing: the importance of identifying those who influence the selection of building services products and services (including contractors, installers, consultants and end-users), competition and competitive advantage, the role of market research and advertising, liability issues (e.g. customer protection).
  • Introduction to legal framework: criminal and civil law, outline of legal systems, the town-planning and building control framework.
  • Management of Engineering Contracts: definitions, procurement options, types of specification, tendering, claims, negotiation and dispute resolution (litigation, adjudication and arbitration).
  • Facilities Management: property law (including leases and conveyancing), management of physical assets, maintenance information management (cost-feedback), maintenance standards (planned and responsive maintenance), health and safety risk assessment, environmental legislation (local and national, control of effluent, emission and noise).


The dissertation is a stimulating and challenging part of each MSc course. Dissertations may be carried out on any approved topic related to the building services industry. Essentially the dissertation gives the student the opportunity to apply the techniques and disciplines covered in the taught course to a topic of their own interest, of interest to a sponsoring or industrial organisation, or of research interest. Some recent dissertations include:

  • Energy conservation through the use of ground source heat pumps
  • An improved management methodology for BS implementation in an aerospace environment
  • Assessment of thermal performance of Portomaso Business Centre with implications on other major projects in Malta.
  • Students should choose one of the two themes below:

Students should choose one of the two themes below:

Theme A - Traditional

Energy Conversion Technologies

  • This element provides a broad introduction to the principles of energy conversion and thermodynamic machines and demonstrates their application to energy conversion and management in buildings. Emphasis is placed on refrigeration plant, energy conversion plant and energy management.
  • Refrigeration covers the basic principles and components of vapour compression systems, heat pumps and absorption systems.
  • Energy Conversion considers power cycles, combined heat and power, combustion processes, boiler plant, thermal energy storage and environmental impacts of plant operation.

Theme B - Renewable

Renewable Energy Technologies

This element includes: energy sources, economics and environmental impact, energy storage technologies, the role of renewables, solar thermal, solar electricity, wind power generation, hydro, tidal and wave power, biofuels, building integrated renewables.

Special Features

There are several advantages in choosing Brunel's Building Services programme:

  • Award-winning courses: Building Services Engineering courses at Brunel have been awarded the Happold Brilliant Award for teaching excellence by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.

    Relevance: it is well established within the building services industry, with sponsors of students that include major design and contracting organisations, area health authorities, local authorities and the British Council, as well as several national governments.

  • Applicability: emphasis on applications enables students and employers to benefit immediately from the skills and knowledge gained.
  • Responsiveness: Brunel's proximity to London, where large and innovative building developments have been taking place over the last decade, enables rapid infusion of new ideas and technological innovations into the programme content.


The course is approved by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) as appropriate additional academic study (further learning) for those seeking to become qualified to register as Chartered Engineers (CEng).

Information for international students

•IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas) •Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores) •BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
36-60 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations33
Written coursework / continuous assessment33
Dissertation34 (20000 words)

Course contact details

Marketing and Recruitment Office
+44 (0)1895 265370