Hotel Chief Engineer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Hotel chief engineers supervise the operation, maintenance, and repair of hotel equipment, tools, and facilities. Chief engineers oversee the work of maintenance engineers and generally hold at least an associate's degree in building maintenance or equivalent work experience.

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Job Description for a Hotel Chief Engineer

Hotel chief engineers manage the maintenance staff and ensure that hotel facilities and systems operate properly. Accordingly, chief engineers may work in both an office setting, scheduling workers on repair assignments, as well as in the field, solving air-conditioning or other system malfunctions. Aside from maintenance duties, these professionals may also be responsible for coordinating with contractors on renovations, remodels, and new construction.

Duties for a Hotel Chief Engineer

The primary duty of a hotel chief engineer is to ensure the smooth daily operation and guest appeal of the hotel. Within the hotel, chief engineers may direct the maintenance staff on small repairs, such as patching drywall, fixing faulty wiring, or unclogging drains. More complex problems may require the chief engineer to consult blueprints or product manuals in order to fix boilers or air-conditioning motors. Chief engineers may also assign staff to repair sprinklers or instruct grounds crew to maintain outside landscaping.

Hotel chief engineers may also act as managers of maintenance workers, and these professionals hire, train, and mentor staff. For example, a chief hotel engineer may train a worker on how to properly install a faucet. Additionally, hotel chief engineers may evaluate a staff member's cumulative performance, noting areas for improvement. Lastly, hotel chief engineers budget material and labor expenses and submit these assessments to the hotel manager.

Requirements for a Hotel Chief Engineer

Maintenance workers who hold a high school diploma and have several years of experience may advance to become hotel chief engineers. Qualified workers typically have gained extensive experience with installing and troubleshooting electrical switches, operating boilers, and repairing appliances. Additional requirements may include some prior supervisory experience.

Some employers may favor candidates who have completed a one- to two-year certificate or associate's degree program in building maintenance, technology or related field. Topics generally include safety principles, machine maintenance, and plumbing repair. Some programs may offer training on boiler installation, operation, and repair. Other maintenance training programs may include staff management classes, along with improving the students' technical and repair skills. Graduates may receive a certificate of completion, and some programs prepare the students to take a boiler certification exam.

Licensing

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that only licensed individuals may service and operate boilers (www.bls.gov). Boiler license (stationary engineer license) requirements generally include work experience and completion of a state exam. Because boilers range in size and output, licenses are typically tiered and strictly state the boiler type, size, and work an engineer may perform. As engineers gain experience with lower output boilers, they may apply for a license to service and operate higher output units.

Certification

Prospective hotel chief engineer candidates might consider voluntary certifications, such as those issued by the International Maintenance Institute (IMI), in order to increase job opportunities. The IMI offers certification as a Certified Maintenance Professional (CMP). Applicants who meet IMI education and corresponding work experience requirements, in addition to receiving a 70% or better on a certification exam, are designated as CMPs. Certifications last two years, and CMPs may be recertified by completing IMI approved maintenance or safety courses.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for chief mechanical engineers was $90,605 per year, as of February 2014. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not provide information specific to the field of hotel engineering, the BLS did publish median annual salaries for stationary engineers/boiler operators as well as general maintenance and repair workers as $53,560 and $35,210, respectively. Additionally, the BLS projects that the employment of stationary engineers and boiler operators will likely grow by about three percent between 2012 and 2022; job opportunities for general maintenance and repair workers are expected to increase by 9% during the same decade.

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