Mechanical Engineer

Washington, D.C
Jun 10, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Full Time


This position is located in the Architect of the Capitol, Office of the Chief Engineer, Energy and Design Services Division, Fire Protection and Mechanical Engineering Branch. The selectee will be responsible for carrying out projects involving the design, installation, replacement, modernization, inspection and testing of central heating, cooling, and plumbing systems.

Learn more about this agency


The individual selected for this position will perform the following:

Design and Development
  • Directs leading-edge design for a variety mechanical systems focused on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, plumbing, energy and water conservation, Building Automation System (BAS) and indoor air quality (IAQ).
  • Ensures adherence to design schedules, material deliveries and construction schedules and reviews job progress and conformance to specifications.
  • Coordinate and serves as a design expert for project managers and others to analyze design requirements where there are conflicting and inadequate guidelines and ensures that all technical areas are covered
  • Assists with the development design concepts, calculations, field reviews, preparation of final drawings and performs construction oversight and coordination as required on each assigned project.
  • Conducts research to develop improved designs of mechanical equipment and systems.
  • Coordinates with building superintendents and their staff to schedule construction projects.
  • Participates in commissioning reviews for building systems and equipment, from those associated with small in-house designs, to large projects which have assigned commissioning agents.
  • Prepares Statements of Work (SOW) for a wide range of engineering projects, either in the form of an invitation for bid or a purchase requisition. Determines the requirements for equipment to be procured through the bidding process, obtains pricing and submittal data and determines the successful bidder based on the technical adequacy of the submission.
  • Determines proper HVAC performance of a completed project, as required during the investigative portion of a project or, as assigned.
  • Prepares, revises and maintains Computer Aided Design (CAD) graphic data for use in mechanical equipment and systems design.
  • Coordinates with other building system disciplines, such as electrical, fire protection, and structural.

Technical Advice and Guidance
  • Collaborates with management and planning personnel, and other building systems disciplines in preparing requirements and criteria for complex or high value projects concerning a variety of HVAC and plumbing engineering, automatic controls and energy conservation issues in sizes and complexity from small up to major.
  • Serves as a mentor and provides guidance to entry-level engineers.
  • Performs complex calculations and designs and specifications or directs and advises other engineers and technicians in the design and specification of individual systems, components and details in HVAC and plumbing engineering.
  • Serves as a staff expert for energy and water conservation, HVAC, direct digital controls and plumbing projects of major size and complexity.
  • Participates in planning conferences with project engineers to provide necessary information pertaining to HVAC and plumbing.
  • Reviews or directs the review of the mechanical features of scopes of work, plans, specifications and analyses of design, as submitted by contracted and/or in-house engineers for technical competency and approves such plans, specifications and analyses where the authority is The Fire Protection and Mechanical Engineering Branch.
  • Responds to request for information from contractors.

Contractor Oversight for Projects
  • Serves as a Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR), guiding and evaluating contractor efforts and assessing technical performance in relation to the established schedules and resources allotted.
  • Reviews plans, specifications and cost estimates for adequacy.
  • Reports progress and/or problems. Directs necessary changes, resolves controversial problems, ensures conformance to plans and specifications.
  • Evaluates the compliance of contractor proposals with contract plans and specifications.
  • Monitors contract specifications for progress and technical requirements.
  • Assists in generating project bulletins and evaluating change orders.

Project Management
  • Serves as the technical authority (Project Manager and/or Task Leader) for HVAC, plumbing, Direct Digital Control (DDC) controls and conservation projects of major size and complexity.
  • Reviews or directs the review of the mechanical features of plans, specifications and analyses of design.

Report and Documentation
  • Gathers information and formulates mechanical engineering reports relating to significant issues and presents or explains the agency decisions in terms of policies and priorities.

Travel Required

Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential
13 - Full Performance Level is GS-13.


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • You must be able to pass a drug test.
  • Your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related KSAs.
  • You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
  • You must meet the education requirements.



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. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level.

For the GS-12:

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

Specialized experience for the GS-12 position includes the following:
  • Designing and/or leading mechanical engineering projects focused on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, plumbing, energy and water conservation, Building Automation System (BAS), and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
  • Developing requirements and providing technical advice on the design, installation, testing, acquisition and evaluation efforts for mechanical systems and equipment.
  • Serving as a Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) or equivalent and/or performing contract/construction administration to ensure adequate oversight of contractor performance.

For the GS-13:

Candidates for the GS-13 grade level must have at least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower (GS-12) grade level in the Federal service.

Specialized experience for the GS-13 position includes the following:
  • Directing mechanical engineering projects for a variety mechanical systems focused on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HV AC), refrigeration, plumbing, energy and water conservation, Building Automation System (BAS) and indoor air quality (IAQ).
  • Performing design work on projects with complex components, to include design concepts, calculations, field reviews, and preparation of final drawings.
  • Serving as a Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) or equivalent and performing contract/construction administration to ensure adequate oversight of contractor performance.


In addition to meeting the specialized experience requirements, applicants must have the following:

Basic Requirements for all grade levels:

A degree in Professional Engineering. 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: a) statics, dynamics; b) strength of materials; c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; d) thermodynamics; e) electrical fields and circuits; f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.


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:
  • Engineering (mechanical, plumbing, energy, etc.) project management
  • Mechanical systems/equipment design
  • Contract Management
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication

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
Not Required

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

The Architect of the Capitol's (AOC) job application process is designed to ensure you only provide information necessary to evaluate your qualifications and eligibility for the position vacancy.

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

Your resume should list your education, training and work experience including job titles, employment dates, duties and accomplishments.

Nothing further is required until it is requested by AOC's Human Capital Management Division. If additional documentation is required for the position, you will be asked to provide it during the interview or selection process. At that time, you may be asked to submit documentation to support statements made in your resume.

For example, you may be asked to provide a copy of your diploma, college transcripts, or proof of Federal employment status. If the position requires licensure or certification, you will be asked to provide proof at the time of selection.

If Veterans' preference is claimed, you will be asked to submit proof (DD-214, and, if claiming a 10-point preference, a SF-15 and the proof required by that form).

Failure to provide the required documents will end further consideration and/or result in the withdrawal of any tentative job offers.

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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