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HVAC the pits!?!?


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#1 HITMANVQ35

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Posted 23 August 2009 - 01:56 AM

Hello all,

I'm looking for some insight into the hvac/construction industry. I'm currently in between jobs and was considering MEP firms as one of the possibilities. I have a BSME from Univ of Maryland 06'. During my college years, I've witnessed a classmate who was interning at one of the firms seemed very displeased with the hvac industry. I believe his exact words were "hvac is the pits!" I didn't get a chance to ask why. Does anyone else feel this way. Why do you think he made such a comment? I understand that it can get repetitive with the heating/cooling load calculations and AutoCad. But I was thinking it can't be that bad. Of course I don't know the full story not having actually worked in then industry. But it's probably nothing like what I've had to go through at the Patent Office.

My chances of finding a job in this economy with no job experience in the design of hvac systems seem pretty slim. So what can I do to make myself more marketable?
I'm studying to take the eit this october. I'm also thinking about LEED and joining ASHRAE. Should I apply to similar gov't jobs or try to get hired by private firms? Will I learn more and gain more useful experience by going private? Should I try to find internship somewhere before I aim for full time positions?

Thanks for all the help


#2 MagicCityDawg

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 03:45 PM

HVAC is interesting to me. Then again, it's what I do. It's what my dad did, and it's what my brother does. Bottom line, I don't know much else. Any industry is what you make of it.

You will get more useful and practical knowledge/experience working for a private MEP firm. You'll also get 50+ hour work weeks and no overtime. They'll make promises of a bonus, but good luck with that. However, I did learn a lot with a private MEP firm.

Become proficient with AutoCAD. It's easier to get than Catia or Microstation, and most firms use it exclusively. Most won't consider someone that doesn't have AutoCAD experience. Another big leg up would be to read and understand the International Mechanical Code.

That would be my two suggestions. Know CAD, and know the code.

#3 HVACstevie

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Posted 08 September 2009 - 02:54 PM

HVAC design isn't to bad, but not for everyone.

Cons:
- Can be boring at times
- Not very challenging if you're only designing standard buildings.
- Not much room for creativity or innovation. Although I've been doing some interesting stuff thanks to LEED.
- Not the highest paying engineering gig

Pros:
- Not very stressful at all
- Flexible
- Jobs can be found in almost all cities.
- diverse. There are a lot of different specialties out there. I do mostly military and government now. But two years ago I was doing pharmacitical, before that K thru 12.


Getting a job with no experience shouldn't be that difficult if you graduated in '06. Just be warned, you won't be making a ton of cash and you'll be doing menial tasks, but it's work. Forget about joining ASHREA. Focus on getting your EIT. Your #1 goal should be getting your PE. Even if it takes 5 year, when asked it's your top priority! You should also be interested in LEED, but don't be super gung-ho about it.

#4 chadesullivan

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 12:44 AM

I agree that HVAC is not a bad career, but also is not for everyone. It seems to be one of the few branches of engineering where a janitor (true story) can come into the business without an education, just a connection, and work his way up the ladder and get billed out at $150/hr to clients. I've found that a majority of HVAC'ers are either complacent or not intelligent. I'm thinking about changing careers to robotics myself, but that;s just because of where my interest lies....

#5 HITMANVQ35

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:26 AM

QUOTE (chadesullivan @ Dec 17 2009, 07:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I agree that HVAC is not a bad career, but also is not for everyone. It seems to be one of the few branches of engineering where a janitor (true story) can come into the business without an education, just a connection, and work his way up the ladder and get billed out at $150/hr to clients. I've found that a majority of HVAC'ers are either complacent or not intelligent. I'm thinking about changing careers to robotics myself, but that;s just because of where my interest lies....


Are you serious?? Wow, that's pretty ridiculous. So then would you also say that majority of HVAC'ers are crass and rude?

#6 Atlasflasher

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 06:54 PM

I agree with the thankless job aspect of being an MEP engineer, not with the $$$. It can be extremely lucrative, especially if you own your business. I had mentioned this on another topic in this forum: MEP (Mechanical or Architectural Engineering Graduates) engineers are some of the most intelligent people in the profession.

#7 Jonhnny123

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:24 PM

I'll start by saying that a lot of it depends on the company.

 

But I was an HVAC engineer for an MEP firm for a couple years and I hated it. 

 

The place I worked underbid many other MEP firms.  The result is that they got a LOT of work.  To make up for their low fees, they promised a nearly impossible schedule.  They could have hired 3 more full time engineers and there would still be enough work for everyone.  When an architect called with a request we had to drop everything and get them an answer, so there was very little organization to go along with the stressful workload.

 

The work was primarily apartment buildings which gets incredibly tedious.  Putting together load calcs for 500 apartments is mind-numbing.  Owners/architects often made "minor" changes late in the progress and that snowballs into drastic changes for the engineer.  If you don't know AutoCAD, you'll be drowning really fast.

 

The owners want the cheapest equipment available, which is always frustrating if you're an engineering trying to design a good system.  The contractors will under-bid the job based on building square footage without even looking at the preliminary HVAC plans.  And then when it comes time to construct, they come back to engineering asking for all these changes for cheaper materials.

 

When you add it all up, along with the unreasonably high-paced schedule,  it's a lot of stress for very little reward.  There were a few designs I would have enjoyed working on, but because of the time crunch, I had to pretty much throw a bunch of stuff on the plans and call it a day.

 

Then there's energy modeling.  Depending on the state, you need to do this for certain buildings.  The program used for it is archaic and it takes a solid month to do a small-medium sized apartment building.  That's without other work and distractions.

 

Like I said a lot of it is dependent on the company, but it really left a bad taste in my mouth.  I've been waiting to get that rant out for a while now! :)






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