Frequently Asked Questions

FAQsGeneral Questions
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Career and Professional Development

General Questions

What is the Chartered Association of Building Engineers?

The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) is a leading Professional Body for individuals and organisations working in the Built Environment.

What is a Building Engineer?

Building Engineers are Professionals who design, construct, evaluate and maintain buildings. Their work includes both technical and management processes by which buildings are designed, constructed, renewed and maintained. This involves them in activities including site investigations, building inspections and surveys, assessment against standards, project design, plan preparation, cost evaluations, contract procedures, project management, and deciding which construction methods and materials to use.

The Building Engineer's expertise includes a detailed understanding of statutory regulations, and technical codes and standards and the need for sustainable buildings.

Where is the qualification Building Engineer recognised?

The qualification of Building Engineer is recognised throughout the industry and is one of the primary qualifications for careers such as Building Control.

Members qualified in the field of Building Surveying and Valuation are recognised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. In the Republic of Ireland where the occupational titles ‘Architect, Building Surveyor and Quantity Surveyor’ are protected by law, CABE members are recognised in the legislation and are able to register to use these titles.

In many areas of Building Engineering such as Fire Risk Assessment, Energy Assessment and Access Auditing there is a requirement in legislation for competent persons to be appointed to carry out these roles and CABE members qualified in these areas would be considered competent.

What is the definition of Built Environment?

The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighbourhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply or energy networks. The built environment is a material, spatial and cultural product of human labour that combines physical elements and energy in forms necessary for living, working and playing.

I have a Party Wall Act query. Can you help?

We can! If your neighbour is building a wall and you think it’s on your boundary, or if they are proposing to build an extension which will affect you, it may be covered under the Party Wall Act. You can contact our technical department on 01604 404121 with any queries you may have.

When did the Building Regulations come into force?

The original ‘Building Regulations’ were introduced in the 1960s, however these developed from a series of Bye-Laws based upon national models, with regional variations. The origins of some of these requirements can be traced back to the redevelopment of London following the Great Fire in 1666.

The format and style of the Building Regulations in England and Wales as they appear today came into effect in 1985 with regular updates being made to improve technical standards. There is now a commitment in England to update the standards on a regular three year cycle with the next changes proposed in 2013.

From 2012 the Welsh Assembly will have the power to make separate Building Regulations for Wales.

In Scotland a system of Building Standards and verification exists.

Why should I employ a Building Engineer?

Qualified members of the Association of Building Engineers will have a level of competence which has been assessed and accepted against rigorous standards. Building Engineers are qualified to deal with a range of matters relating to the design, construction, evaluation and maintenance of buildings and will often specialise in key areas within Building Engineering, whilst maintaining an understanding of all aspects of the profession

Members of the CABE are bound by a Code of Professional Conduct and must operate in an ethical manner.

How do I ensure a person is a member?

If you’re unsure whether a person is a member, give us a call. Our Membership Department will be able to let you know whether they are a current member.

How do I complain about a Building Engineer?

If you feel that one of our members is behaving in an unprofessional manner, or claiming that they are a member when they are in fact not, we ask that you let us know. All members must abide by the Association’s Code of Professional Conduct and we treat any complaints as breaches of this Code. Depending on the severity of the complaint, the member will be dealt with as appropriate. All complaints need to be raised in writing for the attention of Kevin Blunden, Deputy Chief Executive (Technical). For further information on the complaints procedure, please see the page relating to Member Conduct.

I’m searching for the IMBM. Can you tell me what happened to them?

The Institute of Maintenance and Building Management merged with the CABE (then ABE) in May of 2008 as there were significant synergies between the two organisations. Individuals who would previously have considered themselves as potential candidates for IMBM membership can apply to become Building Engineers.

Many aspects of the IMBM have been retained, including the nationally renowned British Building Maintenance Award (BBMA).


How can I join?

There are various routes to membership which are based on key competencies, which include experience and qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis and there are various routes to membership available. It is advisable to visit the Membership pages, or to contact our Membership team.

GradBEng, ABEng, MBEng, FBEng – what do they all mean?

These are the designations awarded to ABE members prior to us receiving the Royal Charter in January 2014. These designations are no longer in use.   

Current designations are now:

ACABE – denotes an Associate member
Grad CABE – denotes a Graduate member
C. Build E MCABE – denotes a Chartered member
C. Build E FCABE – denotes a Chartered fellow

What are the routes to membership?

Your route to membership of the CABE will depend on your qualifications and how many years of experience you have. We provide a wealth of information online, however, if you’d prefer to speak to us in person, our experienced membership team will be able to offer guidance on what is the most appropriate way for you to progress.

I am a member of another Professional Body. Can this be taken into consideration?

Of course. We welcome members of other Professional Bodies. If you are a corporate member of RICS, CIOB, CIAT, CIBSE or IStructE*, you could potentially be admitted into the CABE at the same level without further examination. However, as each submission is treated on its merits relative to both academic qualifications and experience, a professional interview may be required.  

*this list is not exhaustive as we welcome members from a range of Professional Bodies.

What is the Direct Entry Route?

The Direct Entry Route is available to individuals who are already a corporate member of a recognised Professional Body.

Who can join?

We welcome individuals and organisations from all over the world. Providing that you meet our membership criteria (which varies, depending on the level of membership is most suitable), then we’d love to you join us.

How much does it cost?

This depends on which level of membership you are looking to obtain. Our subscription rates are annual from 01 September and are payable from the time you join. It needs to be noted that when you join the CABE a £50 Administration fee is payable for all grades on application, except Students and Affiliates. The administration fee also applies to members wishing to transfer or upgrade their membership. In addition, applicants who need to attend a Professional Interview will need to pay the associated fees for this service.

What are the benefits of Professional Membership?

Professional membership will provide you with a qualification that is recognised across the industry. You will have the opportunity to make valuable professional contacts and receive professional recognition from your peers. You will have access to a wealth of useful information related to the industry through networking events, seminars, conferences and a range of printed and online resources.

A full range of benefits are detailed in the Membership area of this site. 

Does the CABE have a Code of Conduct?

All CABE members have to adhere to the Association’s Code of Conduct as part of their commitment to membership. This has been established to lay down, for its members and for the general public, the ethical standards by which its members should abide. The code applies to all members, irrespective of grade, the professional role they fulfil, and the countries in which they practise.

I am a student. Can I join?

Indeed you can! The Association welcomes students from all over the UK who are studying a construction related course.

I am a member, can I use the Association’s logo?

The Association permits Chartered Members to use the CABE logo on their stationery and website, and publishes guidelines relating to its use. To request a copy of the logo, please email

Does the CABE offer member benefits?

The Association works closely with organisations to provide members with discounted services including Professional Indemnity Insurance and car breakdown cover. Our full list of membership benefits are detailed in the membership area of this site.

Can my company be recognised as a member?

Membership of the Association is on an individual basis, however it is possible for organisations, companies and partnerships to become Training Affiliate or Academic Affiliate members of the CABE. The Association does not regulate the practices of these organisations but members who work in these affiliate organisations must comply with the code of professional conduct.

Career and Professional Development

What are my career options?

Building Engineers practise in a range of areas including: Building Surveying, Building Control, Structural Design, Fire Safety, Quantity Surveying, Maintenance, Facilities Management, Access Auditing, Building Design and Planning and Energy Assessment.

Why Building Engineering?

Building Engineering is a professional career that offers not only financial reward but the opportunity to contribute to the design of the built environment and the impact of this on the natural environment.

Building Engineers will face technical challenges on a daily basis and be responsible for finding appropriate solutions in a rapidly developing field.

What is CPD?

CPD is Continuing Professional Development.

Why is CPD important?

CPD is needed due to the rapid development in new technologies which has led to radical changes in the design and construction processes in an ever-changing construction industry and built environment. In addition, materials, technologies and systems are constantly improving, often overtaking long established practices, and forms of construction learnt during initial training and, in many areas, these are often overruled by new legislation.

How do I obtain CPD?

  • Events - lectures, seminars, conference and technical visits
  • Courses - short residential course, evening courses, degree or diploma courses
  • Distance learning - CPD packages, correspondence courses, Open University, etc
  • Personal study - properly directed aims with measurable outcomes (e.g. producing a book or technical article).
  • Professional affairs - Voluntary work for your profession. Reviewing technical books for Building Engineer. Participation in working parties, reports, relevant committee meetings of Professional Bodies
  • Personal development - any activity which is intended to help the member to be a more effective person.

See CPD Guidance Notes for more detailed guidance or you can watch our webinar on CPD.

Find a CABE CPD training course that's right for you.

As a member, do I have a CPD obligation?

35 hours of CPD each year is required by all members of the Association in order to maintain their professional standards. The Association stresses the importance of members maintaining their knowledge currency within the dynamic built environment. Changes are constantly taking place and, therefore, affecting the work of all our members.

The Association reserves the right to audit members' CPD activities to ensure that they are fulfilling their CPD and lifelong learning obligations.

Do you offer free CPD courses?

Many of the professional development activities run by the Association's Regions are either free or at minimal cost, this is an excellent way to keep aware of changes in technology, materials of practice and be aware of developments within the industry.

Do you offer events near where I live?

Regional committees organise local events around the country. In addition many of our training courses are held at differing locations throughout the UK. We are also able to offer any of our suite of courses, or a more bespoke training event at a time and venue to suit you, subject to demand.

Do you offer in-house training?

Training tailored to the needs of your organisation at your workplace is a key element of the strategy of the Association to support the continuing development of all professionals, members and non-members alike. You can contact our Education Department on 01604 404121 for more information.                       

I’m studying a degree. Is it recognised by the CABE?

The CABE accredits a number of degree courses from numerous academic institutions. Accreditation means that the CABE is satisfied that the course content and assessment processes are suitable for Building Engineers and can be used to demonstrate the knowledge element of overall competence when seeking membership of the Association.

A list of Accredited Universities are contained on our website.

How do I qualify as an Energy Assessor?

We no longer offer the energy suite of qualifications, please contact the Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE)

Are your qualifications recognised by other Professional Bodies?

Yes our qualifications are recognised by other professional bodies. Please see individual courses for more information.

Who is the competent person?

Many fields within Building Engineering require individuals to be competent.

Competence is usually achieved through a balance of academic qualification or knowledge and practical experience. In some cases competence can be demonstrated by meeting the National Occupational Standards for a profession.

All CABE members are obliged under the code of professional conduct to only undertake work in areas where they are competent to do so.

How do I become a Chartered Environmentalist?

The CABE is a licensed body with the Society for the Environment. Suitably qualified and experienced members of the CABE are able to apply to become Chartered Environmentalists. The application process requires individuals to demonstrate their experience in dealing with environmental matters together with providing evidence to show that they meet the key competency requirements of the Society. All applicants will be required to attend a professional peer review interview.


Do you publish a magazine?

‘Building Engineer’ is a monthly publication which is more than simply a magazine, it is a professional journal which includes detailed technical information and articles in addition to news items, matters relating to the Association and details of activities carried out in our regions.

For more information please visit our 'Building Engineer' page.

How do I advertise?

Information on Advertising is available in our Media Pack. Alternatively, you can call our Publications Department on 01604 404121. 

Can I subscribe but not be a member?

You can become a library subscriber for an annual fee. E-mail our Publications Department for further information.

Do you have a question that hasn't been answered here?

Yes? Then contact us!