Mechanical Engineer

Washington, D.C
Nov 09, 2019
Nov 13, 2019
Full Time


The position is located in the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), Utilities and Power Plant Operations. The selectee will serve as a Mechanical Engineer who provides professional support for Steam and Chilled Water related engineering for the Capital Power Plant (CPP) distribution system and plant buildings.

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The Engineer will provide technical assistance to evaluate and recommend specifications, oversee and perform design services and perform construction inspections for various highly complex engineering projects with an emphasis on the mechanical infrastructure systems in the power plant and utility distribution system.

The distribution system distributes steam and chilled water from the CPP to the Government Printing Office (GPO), Union Station, Library of Congress and the Capitol Campus (House and Senate Office Buildings, the Capitol Building, the Capitol Visitor Center, U.S. Botanic Garden and the Supreme Court).

The Engineer will perform progressively more complex and responsible functions on a gradual basis leading to the full performance level.

Major Duties:

Project Planning and Project Management
  • Participates in construction and renovation projects with progressively more responsibility on a gradual basis from conception through completion as directed by CPP management. Establishes the scope of work, advising on the selection of consultants, coordinating consultants' efforts with AOC staff and resolving operational, design and construction problems.
  • Provides technical expertise to evaluate and recommend specifications and proposals for various Utility Distribution Systems (UDS) and plant engineering projects.
  • Applies mechanical engineering knowledge and techniques to observe, examine, measure, analyze, map and describe mechanical engineering applications and problems.
  • Performs mechanical engineering planning and design by determining systems requirements, surveying the construction site, preparing designs, specifications and estimates.
  • Conducts practical research applying theoretical knowledge of the fields of mechanical engineering to actual problems of maintenance and construction. Follows agency engineering policies, standards and criteria concerning the application of theories of mechanical engineering mechanics including pressure, flow, energy, distribution of stresses resulting from load and strength of materials.
  • Develops and coordinates programs for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of facilities with which mechanical engineering are concerned. Studies problems inherent in maintaining and renovating tunnels and buildings of historic significance under the CPP jurisdiction.

Contractor Oversight
  • Serves as Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR). Prior to project performance, reviews plans, specifications and cost estimates for technical adequacy. During project performance, assists contractors in interpreting technical requirements; recommends changes in contract terms to the Contracting Officer; monitors and evaluates contractor performance; reviews contractor invoices; recommends corrective actions; and inspects and accepts contract deliverables. Assesses compliance with technical documents during the course of facility construction. Ensures conformance to plans, specifications, codes, standards, engineering best practices and customer requirements. Investigates and reports on matters of concern with contractors which may lead to formal claims by the contractor.
  • Works with design consultants, project managers, construction contractors and Jurisdiction officials to resolves problems or conflicts impeding progress. Works with Contracting Officer to negotiate contract specification and design changes with Jurisdiction representatives, consultants and contractors. Investigates requests for contract change orders. Considers work site conditions, field measurements and computations and local labor rates.
  • Computes periodic payments to contractors based on review of contractors' cost breakdowns, progress data, materials and equipment used and survey reports. Coordinates with District of Columbia government and Federal agencies, e.g., OSHA, EPA, to ensure that construction operations are in compliance with safety and environmental regulations and standards.

Technical Advice and Guidance
  • Provides guidance, technical advice and consultation to lower-grade employees and specialists within the CPP in the performance of related assignments. Contributes to the resolution of technical difficulties that are amenable to changes in approach, criteria or requirements. Conducts studies to develop criteria for situations encountered during field inspections.
  • Facilitates the resolution of project related issues and concerns that arise at the CPP Management level. Acts as the CPP's focal point for scope, schedule and budget concerns. Provides timely and accurate responses to CPP Management questions. Helps prioritize CPP's work and facilitates monthly meetings with CPP Management and other AOC organizations.
  • Follows applicable AOC and OSHA safety rules, regulations and standard operating procedures to ensure that work progresses in a safe manner. Must ensure the use of any required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • You must be able to pass a drug test.
  • You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
  • You must possess a Bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college.



You must meet the United States Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) qualification requirements (including specialized experience and/or educational requirements) for the advertised position. You must meet all eligibility and qualifications requirements by the closing date of the job announcement. Additional information on the qualification requirements is outlined in the OPM Qualifications Standards Handbook of General Schedule Positions. It is available for your review on the OPM web site at OPM qualification standards

Specialized experience is experience that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the position to be filled.

Candidates for the GS-12 grade level must have at least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service.

Specialized experience for this position is defined as the following: (1) Providing technical expertise to evaluate and recommend specifications and proposals for various Utility Distribution Systems (UDS) and plant engineering projects; (2) Performing security infrastructure program management; (3) Evaluating studies, plans, design specifications and progress reports for architectural, engineering and construction processes and projects; (4) Performing project management and monitoring for new construction, renovations and improvements to facilities; and (5) Serving as Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) or equivalent to ensure accurate and adequate oversight of contractor performance.

A Professional Engineer (PE) license is desired.


Basic Requirements:

1. Degree in professional engineering

To be creditable, the curriculum must:

(1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or

(2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics:

-- statics, dynamics;

-- strength of materials (stress-strain relationships);

-- fluid mechanics, hydraulics;

-- thermodynamics;

-- electrical fields and circuits;

-- nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and

-- any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.


2. Combination of education and experience

College-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished:

(1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and

(2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering.

The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:

(a) current registration as a professional engineer by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico;

(b) evidence of having successfully passed the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) examination or the written test required for professional registration;

(c) successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences that are fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of a professional engineering curriculum; or

(d) successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field.

Special Instructions for Foreign Education :

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment.

Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part of foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree.

You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing if selected.

Additional information

Welcome Veterans. The Veterans Employment Opportunities Act of 1998 (VEOA) gives veterans' preference rights in the legislative branch to certain veterans as applied by the Congressional Accountability Act. Veterans' preference is applied on this vacancy announcement. If you are a veteran and have been separated under honorable conditions, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility; SF-15, if applicable; and Department of Veterans Affairs documentation of disability, if applicable. For more information, please visit OPM vet guide

If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System. If you are exempt from registration under Selective Service Law, you must provide appropriate proof of exemption. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information.

DRUG TESTING: The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is a Drug Free Workplace. As part of the AOC's suitability assessment, a candidate tentatively selected for a position who is not currently an AOC employee is required to submit to screening for illegal drug use. Satisfactory completion of a drug test is a condition of employment with the Agency. A candidate must test negative prior to being eligible for appointment into a position. We will schedule, provide and cover the cost for the drug test.

The selectee(s) under the vacancy announcement for this position is subject to a criminal record check by the U.S. Capitol Police and satisfactory adjudication to be eligible for employment at the Architect of the Capitol.

The Architect of the Capitol is an E-VERIFY Participant. E-VERIFY is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee's Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment authorization in the United States. If you are selected for this position, the documentation that you present for purposes of completing the DHS Form I-9 will be verified through the DHS "E-VERIFY" electronic system. For more information on E-Verify, please visit

The Architect of the Capitol is an Equal Opportunity Employer and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information and/or disability.

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Moving expenses are not authorized.

Relocation expenses are not authorized.

Probationary Period - A newly appointed selectee is subject to the completion of a one-year trial/probationary period, regardless of whether or not a trial/probationary period has been completed previously with the Architect of the Capitol or another Federal agency.

This vacancy announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies in any of the jurisdictions of the Architect of the Capitol.

All application materials become the property of the Architect of the Capitol.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Review your resume and responses carefully. Your eligibility for consideration and qualifications for the position will be determined based upon a review of your detailed resume and your responses to job specific self-assessment questions.

Your resume will be evaluated based on evidence of your ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for this position, possession of any specialized experience, and how well your background and experience relates to the self-assessment questions in the job announcement. The self-assessment questions relate to the following knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies:

-- Knowledge of the mechanical engineering profession.

-- Knowledge of design and construction techniques used in contemporary and historic buildings and distribution systems.

-- Professional knowledge of building mechanical systems and boiler plant systems, chiller plant systems, materials, equipment and engineering and construction best practices.

-- General knowledge of related professional engineering fields, such as civil, structural, geo-technical, fire protection engineering and landscape architecture.

-- Ability to understand fiscal, contracting and administrative policies, procedures and practices necessary to manage and to determine the economic feasibility of major technical programs.

-- Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing.

Your responses to the self-assessment questions serve as the basis for your initial rating. You will receive a numerical score based on your responses to these questions. Next, your responses will be evaluated by a Human Resources Specialist and/or a subject matter expert against the information provided in your resume and optional cover letter. Your resume must support your answers to the self-assessment questions. Falsifying your background, education and/or experience is cause for non-selection or disqualification from further consideration.

Please note that a complete application is required for consideration. (Please review the "Required Documents" section of this job announcement to see what must be included in a complete application).

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Drug test required

Required Documents

The Architect of the Capitol's job application process is designed to ensure that we only ask you for the information that is absolutely needed to evaluate your qualifications and eligibility for the position.

To apply for this position, you only need to submit online the following: a) your resume and 2) answer the online vacancy assessment questionnaire. The online questionnaire contains eligibility and screening questions and other relevant supplemental information. No additional documentation or attachment is required at the time of application.

We ask that you prepare and submit a resume that best describes fully your background experience, skills, abilities, education, training and other relevant credentials. The resume should include dates of employment.

Nothing further is required until it is requested by the staff of the Human Capital Management Division. If additional documentation is required for a position, you will be asked to provide it during the selection process or upon selection. At that point, we may ask you to submit documentation to support statements made in your resume.

For example, we may ask you to provide documents such as college transcripts, copy of diploma or proof of Federal employment status. If the position requires a license or certification, we will ask candidate(s) to provide proof at the time of selection.

If you are claiming veterans' preference, we may ask you to submit proof of Veterans preference (DD-214, and, if claiming 10-point preference, the SF-15 plus proof required by that form).

If you fail to provide the required documents, we will withdraw a tentative job offer made and/or remove you from further consideration.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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