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Architectural engineering: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Architectural engineering, also known as Building engineering, is the application of engineering principles and technology to building design and construction. Definitions of an architectural engineer may refer to:


Engineering for buildings



Structural engineering involves the analysis and design of physical objects such as buildings, bridges, equipment supports, towers and walls. Those concentrating on buildings are responsible for the structural performance of a large part of the built environment and are, sometimes, informally referred to as "building engineers". Structural engineers require expertise in strength of materials and in the seismic design of structures covered by earthquake engineering. Architectural Engineers sometimes practice structural as one aspect of their designs; the structural discipline when practiced as a specialty works closely with architects and other engineering specialists.

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP)

Mechanical and electrical engineers are specialists, commonly referred to as "MEP" (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) when engaged in the building design fields. Also known as "Building services engineering" in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.[1] Mechanical engineers design and oversee the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, and rain gutter systems. Plumbing designers often include design specifications for simple active fire protection systems, but for more complicated projects, fire protection engineers are often separately retained. Electrical engineers are responsible for the building's power distribution, telecommunication, fire alarm, signalization, lightning protection and control systems, as well as lighting systems.

The Architectural engineer (PE) in the United States

In many jurisdictions of the United States, the architectural engineer is a licensed engineering professional [2], usually a graduate of an architectural engineering university program preparing students to perform whole-building design in competition with architect-engineer teams; or for practice in one of structural, mechanical or electrical fields of building design, but with an appreciation of integrated architectural requirements.

Formal architectural engineering education, following the engineering model of earlier disciplines, developed in the late 1800s, and became widespread in the United States by the mid 1900s. With the establishment of a specific "architectural engineering" NCEES Professional Engineering registration examination in the 1990s, and first offering in April 2003, architectural engineering became recognized as a distinct engineering discipline in the United States. Architectural engineers are not entitled to practice architecture unless they are also licensed as architects.

The Architect as Architectural Engineer

In some countries architecture, as a profession providing architectural services, is sometimes referred to as "architectural engineering". In others, such as in Japan, the terms "architecture" and "building engineering" are used synonymously.[3] The practice of architecture includes the planning, designing and overseeing the building's construction.

In some languages, such as Korean and Arabic, "architect" is literally translated as "architectural engineer". In some countries, an "architectural engineer" (such as the ingegnere edile in Italy) is entitled to practice architecture and is often referred to as an architect.[4] These individuals are often also structural engineers. In other countries, such as Germany, Austria and most of the Arabic countries, architecture graduates receive an engineering degree (Dipl.-Ing. - Diplom-Ingenieur).[5]


The architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering branches each have well established educational requirements that are usually fulfilled by completion of a university program.

Architectural Engineering as a single integrated field of study

What differentiates Architectural Engineering as a separate and single, integrated field of study, compared to other engineering disciplines, is its multi-disciplined engineering approach. Through training in and appreciation of architecture, the field seeks integration of building systems within its overall building design. Architectural Engineering includes the design of building systems including Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, fire protection, electrical, lighting, transportation, and structural systems. In some university programs, students are required to concentrate on one of the systems; in others, they can receive a generalist Architectural or Building Engineering degree. The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom offers a Dual degree course in both Architecture and Structural Engineering. On the other hand, University of Concordia of Montréal, Canada, is one of the pioneer universities and schools in North America that offers an undergraduates and post graduates program in Architecture Engineering often called Building Engineering.

See also


Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

An architectural engineer applies the skills of many engineering disciplines to the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and renovation of buildings while paying attention to their impacts on the surrounding environment. In countries such as Canada, the UK and Australia, architectural engineering is more commonly known as Building engineering, building systems engineering, or building services engineering. In some languages, such as Korean, "architect" is literally translated as "architectural engineer".

With the establishment of a separate NCEES Professional Engineering registration examination in the 1990s, architectural engineering is now recognized as a distinct engineering discipline in the United States. But many practicing 'architectural engineers' hold degrees or registration in civil, mechanical, electrical, or another engineering field and become architectural engineers via experience. Conversely, many degree-holding architectural engineers have professional registration in civil or mechanical engineering, for example. The number of architectural engineering degree programs is increasing, but demand far exceeds the availability in the U.S., especially on the East and West Coasts, and in the South. Note that "architectural engineering technology" is different from architectural engineering.

Difference from architecture

A common confusion is the distinction between architecture and architectural engineering. In essence, architectural engineering is the engineering discipline for the analysis, design, and construction of building systems. Architects are directly responsible for the form and appearance of a building, including the way in which people use and experience the spaces of the building. Architects traditionally act as the leader of the design team, and are thus known as the 'prime professional'. They coordinate the efforts of the various engineering and other design consultants for building projects.

Before about 1975, architectural engineering graduates in the U.S. typically went to work as 'technical architects'. Since that time architectural engineering defined itself as consulting engineers for buildings. Architectural engineers thus concentrate on ensuring that "the buildings work", e.g., that they stand up, that the HVAC systems operate well, that light and electrical power are delivered safely and as needed, and that fire safety is addressed.

By the 1950's, there were approximately 60 architectural engineering degree programs in the U.S. However, as architecture split from engineering -- most architecture programs were in engineering schools -- many architectural engineering programs lost institutional support. But from a low of eight programs in the early 1980's, and with the redefinition of the discipline as 'engineers for building systems', architectural engineering education is experiencing significant growth. Demand for admission to the programs, and quality of applicants, is very high. The academic honor society for architectural engineering is Phi Alpha Epsilon.

The Architectural Engineer

Architectural engineers' roles can overlap with that of the architect and other project engineers. Like architects, they seek to achieve optimal designs within the overall constraints, except using primarily the tools of engineering rather than architecture. In most parts of the world, architectural engineers are not entitled to practice architecture unless they are also licensed as architects. In some juristictions, registered professional architectural engineers are limited, by virtue of the exams taken, to practicing only one or more of the component areas of building engineering practice such as mechanical (HVAC/plumbing/etc.), electrical, structural, or fire protection.

In recent years there has been increasing emphasis on sustainable and green design, including in engineered building systems. Architectural engineers increasingly seek LEED ((R) USGBC) Accredited Design Professional (LADP) status in addition to their Professional Engineering registration.

Potential Careers

  • Consulting Engineer/Design Engineer/Designer. An Engineer, usually a Professional Engineer, or if early in his or her career, an Engineer-in-Training that designs and specifies building systems, analyses problems, or optimizes conditions, for example. Typically employed by, or owner of, a consulting engineering firm, but also commonly in an A/E (architectural and engineering services) firm.
  • Plant/Facilities Engineer. The owner's management liaison person interacting with architects, contractors, and engineers in the design and construction of remodeling, additions, and new facilities. Manages and develops such programs within the plant as energy conservation, preventative maintenance, and retrofits.
  • Sales/Applications Engineer. Provides technical advice and application of their representative products to the building industry's architects, engineers, and constructors.
  • Construction Project Manager. Manages the construction of a building project. Responsibilities include the scheduling of labor trades, material, and equipment for the most economical and expeditious construction of buildings.
  • Construction Estimator. The estimator is responsible for the takeoff material, type of labor, and equipment, and calculating the cost for the construction project plus preparing the necessary documents for the estimate.
  • Structural Engineer. Analyzes, calculates, and selects systems and components for various structures. Graduates are employed within the building industry, but also in other structural areas. Graduate study, and additional registration exams in structural engineering are recommended.
  • Electrical Systems Engineer. Designs and specifies electrical power, lighting, and communication systems for buildings. Employed in an electrical consulting design office or in electrical design-construction offices. Other responsibilities may be preparing specifications and cost estimates.
  • Electrical Utility Engineer. Coordinates new building construction with building owners, design engineers, and contractors, and educates customers on conservation and cost saving opportunities while optimizing the loads on the utility.
  • Building Inspector. Employed by a public agency. Responsible for the public interest to inspect building projects for code compliance.
  • Fire Safety/Protection Engineer. Designs various types of fire protection systems within the building. Systems include sprinkler, chemical suppression, smoke control, and detection devices.
  • Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) Engineer. Designs the HVAC systems and prepares the specifications.
  • Plumbing Engineer. Designs the potable water, process fluids, and wastewater systems for the buildings.
  • Professor/Researcher. Teaches and performs research and service. Typically requires completion of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in engineering degree.


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