Peter McElroy, the Design of Heating and Chilled Water Pipe Systems trainer

The ‘Get to know your CIBSE Trainers’ interview series continues in 2022 and we’re starting this year with Peter McElroy, a new CIBSE Trainer for the updated Design of Heating and Chilled Water Pipe Systems course.

Tell us a little about yourself 

Peter McElroy: I am a chartered building services engineer. I have been serving clients in the construction industry since 2014. After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with a BEng (Hons), I then completed my postgraduate studies in 2017 and was awarded an MSc in Building Services Engineering.

Working within some world leading design consultancies, I was given the opportunity to work on major global projects across a broad range of market sectors. Consulting only ever tells one side of the story and my desire to immerse myself in the industry, led to a design role in a Mechanical and Electrical specialist contractor, giving me a wide angled view of Building Services Engineering projects from multiple perspectives.

Taking the experiences gained through designing for a broad cross-section of organisations within the Built Environment, I followed my ambition to provide consulting services for clients in a way that cannot be replicated in large organisations.

Delivering projects in a sustainable, smart, cost-effective and client-centric way; together we can grow as people and businesses, whilst serving the communities in which we are engaged. 

I live in Edinburgh, Scotland.

What made you become a CIBSE trainer?

PM: I have always enjoyed sharing my passion for design. Working with people and arriving in a place with a new understanding of the world around us. Learning is one of the fundamental sources of personal growth as well as professional development. Being part of something so powerful is thrilling!

As a new trainer, what are you most looking forward to?

PM: The course goes right to the core of some of the elemental parts of Building Services design, so it has been written to support people from a variety of starting points and unique learning styles. I am really looking forward to bringing this mix of backgrounds together to learn collectively and support them achieve their own personal understanding of the nature of water. 

Do you have a favourite part about your topic area? 

PM: Yes - the course can be divided roughly into ‘Theory’ and ‘Practice’, but they both have their own beauty. An engineer is the conduit between the map and the terrain. I couldn’t pick between the two, but demonstrating the relationship and interplay between them is where all the engineering pieces come together and magic really happens!

Why do you think that it’s important that building services professionals keep up with their professional development?

PM: In the best engineered systems, each detail is considered and carefully planned out. Continued Professional Development allows engineers to remain open-minded - whether learning and researching a different discipline or taking the time to look at their own subject from a different perspective. We cannot allow ourselves to be trapped by the limits of our existing knowledge! 

If you could invest in research in your topic area, what would it be and why?

PM: There is already a lot of great engineers working to make BIM ever more valuable, but I think there are some real gains to be made looking at the control of hydronic systems. As well the optimisation and energy savings available from a well-controlled system, the building automation from traditional BMS front-ends will be managed instead by ‘in-use’ BIM models. My research would focus on ‘In-use’ BIM models as reliable facilities management tool, from PPM, life-cycle and HVAC room-scheduling, to optimised hydronic control. 

If you could go back to your younger self when you started working in building services, what advice would you give yourself? Would you try to change some of the decisions and actions done then?

PM: My career has been absolutely blessed. I don’t have any regrets about becoming a Building Services Engineer and any doubtful decisions are part of the learning and growing that every engineer needs to go through. More generally, a quiet word in my ear would be - Be patient with your subject, experience adds a value that cannot be read in books.  

What would you tell someone who is just about to start or consider working in building services? 

PM: Be a confident engineer. Have confidence in the science and in your calculations. More importantly, have the confidence to say that you don’t have the answers. When that’s the case learn, learn, learn! 

Find out more about Peter McElroy's training - Design of Heating and Chilled Water Pipe Systems


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