Facilities engineers are involved in the creation of the various systems that drive a manufacturing plant. Along with designing the layout for the production process, a person in this position will also be actively involved in the design for the utility systems within the space, including power sources, climate control, water, and lighting. Depending on the application, he or she will also be involved in more specialized system design and maintenance, such as the processing of chemicals or environmental controls.
In addition to being actively engaged in the design and construction of plant systems, the facilities engineer will also often oversee the ongoing operation of the various systems. The engineer will often specify the maintenance schedule for each operating system within the building, including any downtime for part replacement and efficiency testing. Depending on the size and complexity of the plant, a company may choose to employ more than one facilities engineer. This provides the opportunity for each of the engineers to focus on specific aspects of the overall operation, and work to ensure all systems are working at optimum efficiency.
During the design process, the facilities engineer will often work very closely with manufacturing engineers and construction project managers. Together, this team will determine the best options for production machinery, as well as laying out the flow of the production process on the plant floor. Once the design is complete and goes into operation, the facilities engineer will work with maintenance crews to ensure that daily tasks relating to the systems are conducted, as well as establish a recurring program of more comprehensive maintenance.
A facilities engineer may function as a consultant on the renovation or new construction of a building and production design, and hand off his or her duties to others at the end of the contracted period. In other cases, he or she may find permanent placement with an individual firm, remaining on one site or traveling to new sites when the company chooses to open a new location.