Career Development

What Does a Building Operator Do?

Find out what a building operator does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a building operator.

Building operators are responsible for ensuring that the building they’re working in is safe, clean and functional. They commonly perform a variety of tasks related to maintaining the physical structure of their building—everything from cleaning floors and windows to repairing leaks or other damage.

Building Operator Job Duties

A building operator typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Coordinating with maintenance staff to address building mechanical problems
  • Cleaning the building by vacuuming, sweeping, or mopping floors, changing light bulbs, and dusting furniture
  • Installing and repairing electrical wiring, plumbing, and other building systems in businesses or industrial facilities
  • Monitoring security cameras or other security devices for signs of intrusion or theft
  • Maintaining inventory of supplies such as light bulbs, pens, paper clips, and toilet paper
  • Operating machinery such as cranes, forklifts, elevators, and boilers
  • Monitoring building conditions such as temperature and humidity levels
  • Inspecting fire alarms and sprinkler systems for malfunctions
  • Operating elevators, escalators, or other equipment to transport people between floors

Building Operator Salary & Outlook

Building operators’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)

The employment of building operators is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need to maintain and repair existing buildings. As buildings age, they require more maintenance and repairs. In addition, the need to upgrade electrical and plumbing systems in older buildings will result in some job growth for building operators.

Related: Building Operator Interview Questions and Answers

Building Operator Job Requirements

A building operator typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Building operators typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some building operators choose to pursue a two-year associate degree in building science or construction management. These programs teach building operators how to design, build and maintain buildings.

Training & Experience: Many building operators receive on-the-job training, which may last for a few weeks to a month. During this training period, they learn the specific processes and procedures for their role. They also learn about the building’s safety and emergency procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Building operators do not have any certifications typically needed for their role. However, some states do have licensure requirements for building operators. These licenses show that the individual has completed an approved training program and has passed an exam. These licenses are typically required for large facilities like hospitals.

Building Operator Skills

Building operators need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the abilities to use tools and equipment, read blueprints and other technical documents and complete complex tasks. Technical skills are important for building operators because they allow you to complete your work efficiently and effectively. For example, you may need to read and interpret electrical diagrams to understand how to connect electrical wires properly.

Communication skills: Construction sites are loud and busy environments, so building operators need excellent communication skills to ensure they can relay messages to their coworkers and understand messages from their supervisors. Communication skills also include written communication, as many construction sites use email to communicate with other sites and suppliers.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are necessary for building operators to have. They may encounter challenges while working on a construction site, and these skills can help them find solutions to these challenges. For example, if a piece of equipment isn’t working properly, they may need to find a way to fix it or find a way to work around it.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is the ability to notice small changes and make corrections. This skill is important for building operators because it allows them to ensure the quality of their work. For example, if you notice a small crack in a wall, you can make the necessary repairs to ensure the wall is structurally sound. This can help you save time and money in the long run.

Teamwork skills: Construction projects often require multiple building operators working together to complete a task. Having strong teamwork skills can help you work with others to complete a project on time and within budget. You can also use teamwork skills to help you work with other professionals, such as engineers, to complete a project successfully.

Building Operator Work Environment

Building operators typically work in large commercial or institutional buildings, such as office towers, hospitals, or factories. They may be responsible for the operation of a single building or a group of buildings. Building operators typically work shifts that include evenings and weekends, and they may be on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies. The work can be physically demanding, and operators may have to lift heavy objects or climb ladders. They may also be exposed to hazardous materials, such as asbestos, lead, or chemicals.

Building Operator Trends

Here are three trends influencing how building operators work. Building operators will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Robotics in Construction

The use of robotics in construction is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity as it offers many benefits to both contractors and homeowners.

By using robots, contractors can save time and money by automating tasks that would otherwise require human labor. This allows them to focus on more important projects and gives them the flexibility to hire workers based on their specific needs.

Homeowners also benefit from the use of robotics in construction, as it can help to reduce costs and improve the quality of their home. By using robots to do tasks such as painting or flooring, homeowners can ensure that their home is built with high-quality materials and workmanship.

More Focus on Energy Efficiency

As energy prices continue to rise, businesses are beginning to focus on ways to become more energy efficient. This is leading to an increased demand for building operators who have expertise in energy efficiency.

Building operators can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in energy efficiency technologies and practices. This will allow them to provide valuable services to businesses looking to reduce their energy consumption. In addition, building operators can also educate themselves on other trends, such as sustainability, which are also becoming increasingly important.

A Greater Emphasis on Health and Safety

The construction industry has always placed a great deal of emphasis on health and safety, but recent years have seen this trend grow even stronger.

As construction sites become more complex and dangerous, builders are realizing the importance of having qualified professionals on site who can ensure that everyone is safe and protected. Building operators are well-positioned to take advantage of this trend, as they have the experience and training necessary to keep everyone safe and secure.

How to Become a Building Operator

Construction is a great career choice for people who want to work with their hands and be part of the building process. It’s also a good option for those who want to work in a variety of settings, from small residential projects to large commercial buildings.

There are many different types of construction jobs, including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, masons, and more. You can also specialize in a particular area of construction, such as carpentry or electrical work.

Advancement Prospects

Building operators who demonstrate their abilities may be promoted to management positions. In small organizations, they may become the manager of the building. In larger organizations, they may advance to positions such as chief engineer, assistant superintendent, or superintendent. Some operators eventually open their own building maintenance or management businesses.

Building Operator Job Description Example

The Building Operator is responsible for the operation and maintenance of all building systems including, but not limited to, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and life safety systems. The Building Operator will perform general maintenance and repairs as needed and will coordinate with outside contractors for more complex repairs. The Building Operator will also be responsible for monitoring building systems and equipment to ensure they are functioning properly and will take appropriate action to resolve any issues. The Building Operator will maintain accurate records of all maintenance and repair work. The ideal candidate will have experience in building maintenance and repair, as well as HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Operate, maintain, and repair all building systems including but not limited to: HVAC, electrical, plumbing, life safety, and general maintenance
  • Perform daily rounds of the property to ensure that all systems are functioning properly and to identify any potential issues
  • Respond to all tenant requests in a timely and professional manner
  • Maintain accurate records of all work performed, parts used, and inventory levels
  • Assist with the development and implementation of preventive maintenance programs
  • Monitor energy usage and implement strategies to reduce consumption
  • Adhere to all safety policies and procedures
  • Participate in on-call rotation as needed
  • Attend training courses as required to keep up with industry best practices
  • Perform other duties as assigned by management
  • Proactively seek out ways to improve the efficiency of building operations
  • Serve as a resource to other members of the engineering team

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as a building operator or similar role
  • Working knowledge of HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems
  • Basic understanding of building automation systems
  • Ability to read and interpret blueprints, schematics, and manuals
  • Strong problem-solving skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in engineering or related field
  • Valid certification for operating specific machinery and equipment
  • Experience with energy management systems
  • Familiarity with OSHA regulations
  • Leadership skills


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