McMaster Engineering Students – HVAC & Building Sciences Cheat Sheet

As an engineering student at McMaster, you are exposed a huge variety of pathways as it relates to navigating towards a potential career path and choosing topics of interest to focus on. This article provides some direction if you are interested in exploring a career related to the HVAC & building sciences industry. 

The goal of this article is to:

  • Outline the opportunities that exist specific to the HVAC & building sciences industry.
  • Summarize industry-related companies and the ones known to offer either co-op or opportunities for graduating students
  • Summarize relevant courses and student clubs offered through McMaster.
  • Summarize relevant podcasts and Youtube channels to further explore topic (in progress)

An engineering student that focuses on the courses, clubs and materials covered in this guide can help prepare themselves for a career in the industry and make them stand out as a candidate.

HVAC & Building Sciences Career Opportunities 

Generally, a career in HVAC & building sciences will fall in one of the following industry classifications:
  • Consulting Engineers
  • Contractors
  • Manufacturers
  • Manufacturing Representatives
  • Government, Health & Education
  • Building Commissioning
  • Facility Team/Building Owner
  • Architects

One of the great things about the industry is that different career roles will often find themselves working together as part how buildings and related technologies are designed, installed, operated and maintained. 

In my experience, the majority of opportunities for young professionals fall under either:

  • Consulting Engineers
  • Mechanical Contractors
  • Sales Engineer/Project Engineer for a Manufacturer

Summary of HVAC & Building Sciences Companies

* – offers coop/internships
† – offers graduate positions

Consulting Engineers:
Mechanical Contractors
Manufacturer’s/HVAC Equipment

Traditional Project Delivery and the Role of Consultants, Mechanical Contractors & Suppliers

Construction projects are complex and can vary in the “delivery method” depending on the project requirements.

The most common project delivery method is Traditional Project Delivery (also called Bid Spec or Design-Bid-Build).

The design team (typically a team consisting of an Architect & Consulting Engineer works with the Owner to develop the contract documents:

  • Owner Project Requirements
  • Specifications
  • Construction Drawings

Once the design is finished, it is sent out to General Contractors (GCs) to provide a bid on the project.

For the mechanical portion of the scope, the General Contractors will request bids from Mechanical Contractors to complete the mechanical scope. Mechanical Contractors request proposals from Manufacturers/HVAC Equipment Reps for the specific mechanical equipment required on the job that meet the design requirements.

The design team and Owner evaluate the proposals from the General Contractors and select one to enter contract with. Once the contract is signed, the project process starts so that construction can begin.

It is the team of the successful GC, mechanical contractor and manufacturer/HVAC Equipment reps coordinate with one another to execute the project scope and meet the design specifications.

Mechanical Engineering – Energy, Fluids, Energy Systems, HVAC
Mechanical Engineering – Vibrations, Noise
Mechanical Engineering – Control Systems

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in building design, installation and operation. Buildings provide many benefits to society but have a significant worldwide environmental impact due to their GHG emissions.

The building industry accounts for roughly 40% of global GHGs, and the global building stock is expected to double by 2060.

McMaster University offers sustainability courses through their Sustainable Future Program.

Civil Engineering – Construction Management, Building Science & Design

Student Chapters & Clubs

ASHRAE Student Chapter

Faculty Rep: Dr. Cotton
Industry Rep: Nabeel Tariq, Honeywell

Joining the ASHRAE student chapter offers a range of benefits including networking at a meeting/ event, attending conferences, participating in the student design competition for a course project and scholarships/grants.

Becoming a student member is FREE!

MCAHN Student Chapter

Faculty Rep: Dr. Veldhuis
Student Chapter Lead: 

At McMaster, there is the opportunity to complete in the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition as your final year project. The competition gives students the opportunity to put their classroom learning to the test as they create a bid for a real-life mechanical construction project.

The MCAHN also hosts a variety of events to network with industry professionals and learn more about the industry.

McMaster Heavy Construction Student Chapter

Student Chapter Lead: 

The McMaster Heavy Construction Student Chapter’s mandate is to promote the heavy construction industry and to act a central liaison between engineering students and professionals in the heavy construction industry.

Participating in the chapter will provide opportunities to visit construction jobsites & network with professionals in the construction industry.

McMaster Energy Association

The McMaster Energy Association aims to develop the next generation of leaders in the Energy & Sustainability sectors by providing a forum for education and by facilitating communication between like-minded students.

They host McMaster Energy Week in the winter semester every year, where students can participate and network through workshops, speakers, and more!

Closing Notes

If this article helped you in any way, I would love to hear from you! This is intended to be a “live” reference so if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to reach out to me (especially if you are a company that wants to be listed in the article!)

The building industry needs bright engineers to support ASHRAE’s vision of “a healthy and sustainable built environment for all!

Written By:

Mitchell Rohrer

Mitchell Rohrer

Mitchell Rohrer, P.Eng. is a licensed Professional Engineer and a McMaster Mechanical Engineering and Management Alumni. He is an active ASHRAE Hamilton chapter volunteer, currently serving his final year as chapter president. He is currently working as an Account Manager with Johnson Controls based out of Hamilton, Ontario.

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This site is maintained by the ASHRAE Hamilton Chapter. It does not present official positions of the ASHRAE Society nor reflect ASHRAE Society policy. The ASHRAE Hamilton Chapter may not act for the Society and the information presented here has not had Society review. To learn more about ASHRAE activities on an international level, contact the ASHRAE home page at