James Rispoli

James Rispoli

Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

Phone: 919-515-4345
Instructor Website

CE 590 607 Introduction to Facilities Engineering Systems

3 Credit Hours

(also offered as EGR 590)

This course covers an introduction to the multi-disciplinary facilities engineering functions, such as would be found in a typical municipal public works department, university facilities engineering organizations, medical complexes, various government agencies at the state level, department of transportation and airport and port authorities, and facilities engineering at both the installation level and the headquarters and policy level of certain federal government agencies. Non-governmental organizations such as utilities providers, and operators of plants, both processing and manufacturing, typically engage in facilities engineering and management such as included in this course. Engineering practice in facilities engineering is by nature broad, requiring the engineers in those organizations to understand underlying principles of related engineering disciplines to address the cross-cutting issues in the practice. The range of topics covered in this course includes the planning cycle; buildings, infrastructure, and technology systems; emergency preparedness and disaster recovery planning; installed equipment; select electrical and mechanical systems; sanitation systems including sanitary waste water and industrial waste water; recycling programs; and environmental compliance. Additionally, topics such as sustainability and resilience in planning and design will be discussed from a technical perspective, and related business aspects such as decision making considering life-cycle costs, planning and budgeting are in the content of this course. Presentations and case studies are included, such that students will demonstrate their communication skills.


Graduate standing with an undergraduate technical degree.

This course is NC State University’s initial offering of an introduction to facilities engineering at the graduate level. Facilities engineering is an application of multidisciplinary engineering and management requiring knowledge of the entire spectrum of the physical plant, including the planning cycle, the buildings, infrastructure, and people. The typical scope of duties requires an understanding of both “big picture” components of facilities planning, budget prioritization, overall engineering and operations; and also the ability to understand specific facility issues, such as those posed by HVAC failures, power failures, critical pavement integrity (such as airfield pavements), environmental compliance, network-controlled energy efficiency systems, and cyber-security. This course will prepare the student for a career role, or support role, in a facilities engineering.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Understand the principles of and be able to organize, plan, direct, coordinate, and control activities where people, money, and materials are efficiently and economically combined to provide effective engineering, facilities, and infrastructure support. Implicit is an understanding of the engineering and managerial instruments available for proposing and implementing objectives, policies, and programs; policy analysis, program planning, and budgeting; accounting, evaluation, and control; and manpower planning.
  • Have an understanding of the interrelationship of various engineering disciplines necessary to be an effective facilities engineer.
  • Be able to evaluate both single and multi-disciplinary engineering issues and propose/implement solutions.
  • Understand risk management in a complex engineering environment to prioritize facilities needs.
  • Be capable of development of a program to support a budget that is based on engineering knowledge.
  • Understand the basics of environmental regulation and compliance including aspects of environmental planning and sustainability.
  • Be conversant with approaches to safety in the workforce, to include construction and day-to-day operations.
  • Be aware of organizational structures that may be employed in a facilities engineering/public works department, and the typical functions of the components of such an organization.
  • Understand the types of work from both a physical perspective (repair, maintenance, construction) and also the legal perspective (capital construction vs. repair) and laws that are applicable to certain types of engineering contracting and construction trades.
  • Be aware of aspects of construction management such as for major repair projects performed by contract, and insuring quality delivery for the owner organization.
  • Acquire basic financial management tools needed by facilities engineering and management organizations.
  • Understand the components of emergency preparedness, sustainability and resilience, and how multi-disciplinary engineering contributes to continuity of mission performance by both preparation and response/recovery.
  • Apply general knowledge of systems analysis problem-solving models, network analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and the role of systems analysis in public works/infrastructure decision making.
  • Understand the significance of cyber security as applied to the nation’s critical infrastructure (e.g. power /utility distribution grid control systems). (The course does not include specific methods of application.)
  • Be prepared for communications with stakeholders to translate the engineering and management needs into terms that elicit support for the programs and the budget necessary to operate, maintain, construct, and manage.

Course Topics

  • Facilities Engineering and Facility Management – differentiate between the two and identify common elements
  • Organization of the Public Works/Facilities Engineering Department – functions and responsibilities
  • Define facilities engineering terms: repair, maintenance, operations, construction
  • Examine real-world, current examples of issues and consequences to the public relative to maintenance and operations
  • Purposes and value of employing a credible and effective facilities assessment program
  • Projects and categories of projects: capital construction, repairs, methods to plan and execute
  • Construction trades, and Service trades, relative to types of work and types of projects
  • Overview of environmental laws, regulation, and compliance and importance to the facilities engineer
  • Safety, to include laws and requirements, and also lessons learned on developing and maintaining safe workforce practices
  • Emergency preparedness; the emergency operations center (EOC) and the facilities engineer’s/public works officer’s role
  • Resilience and restoration of capability and services after a natural or man-made event
  • Sustainability, the economic aspects, practical aspects, and implementation
  • Categories of work (maintenance, repair, construction) and the “legal” type of contracts available (construction, services); Davis-Bacon Act, Brooks Act and other potential statutory aspects
  • The flow and management of work requirements and work; a decision process for determining whether identified work should be done with in-house trades/shops, or by contract
  • Scope of responsibilities and essential aspects of being an effective facilities engineer
  • Construction management and administration for work (maintenance, repair, services, construction) by contract; the various options for the facilities engineering organization
  • Aspects of various engineering disciplines and knowledge related to facilities engineering: wet and dry utilities systems, HVAC systems, building controls, pavements, roofing and others
  • Providing customer service; difficult choices in constrained funding situations and methods to consider customer needs

Course Requirements

The course requires reading and case studies. Students will be required to complete case study reports and oral presentations. There will be in-class exams (scheduled), all closed book and closed notes (i.e. without internet access). The overall course numerical grade will be calculated based on a weighted average as follows:

Student attendance and participation10%
Case Study - team assignment(1)15%
Individual and/or team assignments(4)20%
Exams(2 or 3)55%


The Facility Management Handbook, Fourth Edition, Professors Kathy O. Roper and Richard P. Payant; AMACOM, 2014. ISBN-10: 0-8144-3215-8 | ISBN-13: 978-0-8144-3215-0 $79.95 list.  Use of this text is permitted in all exams.

The instructor will provide specific, targeted readings excerpted from the Facilities Engineering and Management Handbook (Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Buildings), Paul R. Smith, P.E., Anand K. Seth, P.E., Rober P. Wessel, P.E., David L. Stymiest, P.E., William L. Porter, FAIA, and Mark W. Neitlich, B.Ch.E, MBA; McGraw Hill, 2001.

Public Works Department Management Guide, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, 2008. Note: This text will be provided electronically to the students at no cost. It is in the public domain.