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Building Service Engineer

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
United States, California, La Jolla
10010 North Torrey Pines Road (Show on map)
March 06, 2023


Under general supervision, the Building Service Engineer trade classification has responsibilities that support operation, maintenance and repair of HVAC and refrigeration equipment/systems and related building automation systems.

Incumbent must be able to proficiently use building automation systems to diagnose and troubleshoot problems; estimate cost, time and materials for projects; participate in the maintenance and operations of applicable heating and air conditioning systems and equipment; maintain and service tools and equipment used in the performance of duties; perform all work in accordance with established safety procedures and maintain a safe and clean work environment; maintain records and logs; retrieve data related to work performed using manual and/or computerized record-keeping systems; prepare standard reports; and consult and work with other trades workers. Work may involve exposure to hazardous materials and some positions will require EPA approved certification in refrigerant recovery.

Work requires thorough knowledge of high and low pressure boilers, and heating, pneumatic, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration and other mechanical equipment; thorough knowledge of the methods, tools and materials used in the operation, maintenance and repair of such equipment; general knowledge of ventilation principles, thermal dynamics, and closed water systems; working knowledge of energy management systems including the ability to understand and use system features; and a general knowledge of the applicable state and federal safety codes and regulations pertaining to mechanical and HVAC systems.

Examples of typical activities are not meant to be all inclusive or restrictive; incumbent may perform related work activities.


Equipment Installation, Operation, and Maintenance (75%)

  • Operate, maintain, repair, perform corrective and preventive maintenance, and inspect heating, ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration, boiler, and water systems and equipment.
  • Install, maintain, inspect, and repair HVAC controls (DDC and pneumatic), air handling systems, Dual-duct, Variable Air Volume (VAV), Constant Air Volume (CAV), single zone, multi-zone, hot water & electric reheat, Direct Expansion (DX) equipment, split, package, exhaust systems, hydronic systems; chilled and hot water pumps and piping, and Variable Frequency Drives (VFD).
  • Test, adjust, and calibrate boiler and air conditioning machinery and mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, and/or microprocessor control instruments.
  • Test and chemically treat boiler, cooling tower water and water from other systems.
  • Install, maintain, inspect, and repair steam, natural gas, specialty gas, various water, sewer, refrigerant, and air distribution systems.
  • Regularly use features of building automation systems to diagnose and troubleshoot problems in the HVAC systems while optimizing energy usage.
  • Monitor building automation systems data and adjust system accordingly.
  • Respond to service requests to adjust air flow and temperature for individual rooms or buildings.
  • Maintain documentation of maintenance and repairs using manual and computerized record-keeping systems.
  • Repair and replace bearings, shafts, seals, rings, ductwork, and electrical wiring and install central system parts, gauges, valves and pipes which requires the application of journey-level skills in one or more of the applicable trades (HVAC&R, electrical, or plumbing).

Commercial Plumbing (10%)

  • Install, repair and maintain plumbing systems and components, such as: toilets, urinals, faucets, hose bibs, eyewash stations, showers, and drains.
  • Install, repair and maintains various hot and cold-water lines.
  • Install, repair and maintain sanitary sewer and laboratory waste systems.
  • Install, repair and maintain sump pumps, sewage pumps, and laboratory waste pumps.
  • Install, repair and maintain various specialty gas lines and components.
  • Install, repair and maintain steam valves, steam traps, and steam and condensate pipes.
  • Install, repair and maintain backflow prevention devices.
  • Install, repair and maintain water treatment equipment, piping and controls.
  • Install, repair and maintain water heaters and water conditioners.
  • Assemble and install valves and fittings.
  • Install supports and hangers for pipe, fixtures and equipment.
  • Test pipe systems and fixtures for leaks.
  • Ensure all installations, repairs and maintenance meet code requirements.
  • Review building plans and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing and materials.
  • Utilize a variety of plumbing powered and non-powered tools and equipment.
  • Performs maintenance on vacuum pumps and fire extinguishers.

Industrial Electrical (5%)

  • Assist with the installation, repairs and maintenance of industrial electrical equipment and infrastructure, such as: power systems, lighting systems, network and communications wiring.
  • Select and install conduit and wiring in accordance with the National Electrical Code and Institute electrical standards.
  • Utilize a variety of electrical test equipment, meters, powered and non-powered tools and equipment.

Customer Service and Communication (5%)

  • Assist in resolving questions regarding services performed. Refers customer inquiries or complaints to appropriate area.
  • Provides expeditious, professional, and courteous customer service.
  • Works with Institute customers and co-workers to accomplish work with a high level of quality and efficiency.
  • Communicates ideas and information orally, in writing, and electronically.

Other Duties and Requirements (5%)

  • Perform a variety of routine manual duties as required, such as moving supplies, furniture, equipment, removing trash, scrap material, and replacing light bulbs, etc.
  • Prepare routine reports and makes estimates of time and materials needed for task completion.
  • Prepare schematics and diagrams in laying out work areas.
  • May occasionally instruct and lead semi-skilled or unskilled assistants.
  • May occasionally train employees on technical skills and assist them with problem solving and technical procedures.
  • Check own work and possibly work of others.
  • Uses broad guidelines and independent judgment in resolving problems and making recommendations for improvement in processes and assigned tasks.



  • These abilities normally would be acquired through +5 years of journey-level experience in the operation, maintenance and repair of heating, ventilating, refrigeration, air conditioning, and steam production equipment and systems or the equivalent combination of formal course work in mechanical technology and hands-on experience.


  • +2 years of experience in:

    • Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)
    • Gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
    • Flux cored arc welding (FCAW)

  • +2 years of experience in sheet metal fabrication.
  • +2 years of experience in machine shop operations.



  • High school graduate/GED


  • +1 year of trade vocational education in Steam Plant Operations
  • +1 year of trade vocational education in HVAC&R
  • +1 year of trade vocational education in Industrial Electrical
  • Gas tungsten arc welding certificate
  • Gas metal and flux cored arc welding certificate
  • Shielded metal arc welding certificate



  • Demonstrated ability to read, interpret and work from blueprints, plans, drawings and specifications, and electrical schematics.
  • Must be able to make rough sketches of mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Must be able to operate and maintain boilers and steam generators.
  • Must be able to operate and maintain centrifugal water chillers and cooling towers.
  • Must be able to install, operate and repair HVAC&R equipment and systems.
  • Must be able to install HVAC ductwork.
  • Must be able to fabricate sheet metal.
  • Must be able to solder and braze copper pipe.
  • Must be able to install electrical conduit.
  • Must be able to estimate cost, time and materials.
  • Must be able to maintain records and retrieve data related to work performed using manual and/or computerized record-keeping systems.
  • Must be able to prepare standard reports.
  • Must be able to provide instruction to unskilled and semi-skilled assistants.
  • Must be able to analyze and respond appropriately to emergency situations.
  • Use ladders to gain access to work areas and to works from heights.
  • Cleans and paints all required areas to maintain proper, effective and safe operation.
  • Ability to work well independently or in a group, always exercising Institute and professionally established safety precautions.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of applicable Federal, State and local laws and regulations.
  • Utilizes several trades' skills, in the performance of maintenance and repair work.
  • Ability to read and write English at a level appropriate to understand necessary documentation and instructions.
  • Ability to perform arithmetic calculations in algebra and geometry.
  • Demonstrated working knowledge of Microsoft Office.
  • Strong interpersonal skills that include tact, good judgment, diplomacy, and flexibility to relate to diverse scientific research staff, faculty, executive management, administrative staff, and external contacts.
  • Ability to work as team member and team resource.
  • Ability to apply knowledge, skills and Institute policies and procedures with a high level of independence to resolve issues for customers.


  • Ability to perform Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW).
  • Ability to perform Gas metal arc welding (GMAW).
  • Ability to perform Flux cored arc welding (FCAW).
  • Ability to layout and program Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mills.

The salary range for this position is $26.92 - $34.98 hourly.


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Post-offer physical required.
  • Must be willing to sign an employee confidentiality agreement.
  • Regular, reliable, on-time attendance required.
  • Must be able to work overtime as needed.
  • Must be able to adjust regularly assigned work schedule based on workload and deadlines.
  • Incumbents may rotate through various shift assignments at stations either in the Central Plant or in the Facility Services Shop.
  • Must be able to work first, second, or third shifts.
  • Must be willing to use ladders to provide access to work areas and works from heights.
  • Must be willing to maintain First Aid/CPR/AED training/certification.
  • Must possess an EPA Section 608 Universal Technician Certification.


  • As a safeguard for employees and animals, all FS employees may be subject to vaccines/tests/physical exams prior to working with specific animals or animal populations as required by research needs including but not limited to:
  • TB Testing/Clearance (every six months / twice a year)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (proof of immunization and/or vaccination)


This position requires constant seeing and touching/feeling.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities
The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)