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Occupational Profile

Building Operator

Building operators are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and operation of buildings that have heating, mechanical and electrical systems.

  • Avg. Salary $31,089.00
  • Avg. Wage $18.13
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook Down
Also Known As

Caretaker, HVAC Technician

NOC & Interest Codes
The Building Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents
NOC code: 6663
METHODICAL

Interest in copying instructions to clean and maintain the interior and exterior of commercial, institutional and residential buildings and their grounds; to contract tradespersons for major repairs; and to ensure that security and safety measures are in place in the establishment

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating - manipulating industrial vacuum cleaners to remove scraps, dirt, heavy debris and other refuse; to sweep, mop, scrub and wax hallways, floors and stairs; to clear snow and ice from walkways and parking areas; and to cut grass and tend grounds

INNOVATIVE

Interest in making adjustments and minor repairs to heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing and electrical systems; and in performing routine maintenance jobs and repairs such as painting

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Stationary Engineers and Auxiliary Equipment Operators
NOC code: 7351
OBJECTIVE

Interest in controlling and operating automated and computerized control systems, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment

innovative

Interest in analyzing information from instrument readings to detect leaks and other equipment malfunctions; may assist in the development of operation, maintenance and safety procedures

methodical

Interest in recording instrument readings, in monitoring and inspecting computer terminals, plant equipment, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, meters and other instruments to measure temperature, pressure and fuel flow, in ensuring plant equipment is operating at maximum efficiency and in maintaining a daily log of operation, maintenance and safety activities

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Building operators are responsible for overall building operation and maintenance, and for the safety of the public. Their duties vary depending on the type of building but, in general, they:

  • routinely inspect interior and exterior spaces and equipment
  • monitor and maintain building systems (for example, heating, electrical, mechanical and security systems)
  • report problems and recommend changes to improve efficiency, reduce operating costs or comply with environmental, building and safety codes
  • perform routine equipment maintenance tasks and keep maintenance records
  • monitor access to restricted areas such as the roof and telecommunications equipment and ensure that they are kept safe, clean, functional and accessible
  • perform or oversee housekeeping and groundskeeping duties
  • respond to emergencies such as power failures, floods and fires
  • organize and conduct fire drills
  • respond to complaints from building tenants and act as a liaison between tenants and owners
  • supervise the work of maintenance personnel and contractors hired to make repairs
  • maintain an inventory of supplies and equipment, and make recommendations regarding the purchase of new equipment.

Building operators often use computers to monitor equipment performance and for administrative tasks.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Building operators work both indoors and outdoors. They generally work 36 to 40 hours a week. Building operators may be required to work shifts and be on call at specified times. Overtime may be required when equipment malfunctions.

Building operators may be required to lift items weighing over 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Building operators need the following characteristics:

  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • mechanical aptitude and skills
  • strong customer service skills
  • good problem solving skills
  • good organizational skills
  • the ability to work with little supervision
  • the ability to respond quickly and appropriately in emergency situations.

They should enjoy having clear rules and guidelines, operating equipment and solving problems by experimenting.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

In Alberta, building operators who are responsible for operating boilers must hold a power engineer's certificate (for more information, see the Power Engineer occupational profile).

Building operators need a basic understanding of environmental health and safety legislation, and the design, operation and maintenance of building systems. Employers generally require applicants to have a Fifth Class Power Engineering certificate and may require one or more of the following:

  • first aid certificate
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazards Management Information System) certificate
  • a Safety in the Workplace certificate from Alberta Human Services
  • valid driver's license 
  • experience supervising the work of others
  • journeyperson certificate in one or more trades.

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) offers related training.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Building operators are employed by:

  • federal, provincial and local governments
  • school boards and post-secondary schools
  • regional health authorities
  • property management and real estate companies
  • hotels
  • shopping malls
  • factories
  • other owners and operators of large buildings such as office high rises.

With additional experience and continuing education in building safety, facilities management and supervision, building operators may progress from operator three to operator one positions. With further education, experienced building operators may advance to supervisory positions such as chief power engineer or operations manager.

In Alberta, building operators are part of two larger 2011 National Occupational Classifications, 6733: Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents and 9241: Power engineers and power systems operators.

79% of people employed in the 6733 classification work in the following industries:

78% of people employed in the 9241 classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 18,800 Albertans are employed in the Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 301 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As building operators form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for building operators.

Over 4,300 Albertans are employed in the Stationary engineers and auxiliary equipment operators occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 60 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As building operators form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for building operators.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Salaries vary considerably depending on the building operator's qualifications, the responsibilities of the position, and the location and size of the employing organization.

Depending on the nature of their work, Building operators can be part of two larger 2011 National Occupational Classifications, 6733: Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents and 9241: Power engineers and power systems operators.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents occupational group earned on average from $16.52 to $22.00 an hour. The overall average wage was $18.13 an hour. For more information, see the Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents wage profile.

Albertans in the Power engineers and power systems operators occupational group, on the other hand, earned on average from $38.18 to $44.95 an hour. The overall average wage was $42.24 an hour. For more information, see the Power engineers and power systems operators wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Mechanics
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) website: www.absa.ca

Building Operators Association (Calgary) website: www.boacalgary.com

Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) website: www.bomacanada.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 17, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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