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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    BMS Maintenance Contractor

    Servus,

    I guess I'm looking for advice or input. I grew up and lived until I was 30 on the East coast of Canada. The largest town within two hours drive was about 100,000 people. My hometown has 40,000. I finished my Red Seal as a HVAC/R technician, but I was working with BMS and controls quite a bit.

    Since then, I've worked for 3 years in Australia for a company that installed and serviced Delta Controls. I was mostly doing maintenance, repair and small bits of programming/reprogramming or retrofits. I moved to Germany and have been here for three years. I am working with a lot of different systems now, but mostly with Schneider Electric and the companies they bought out such as Miles-Messner, TAC and Andover. I have had a year of experience programming and commissioning Deos controls. I have also gained experience with commissioning new switch cabinets, and programming/comissioning from scratch. I got married and have a 2 year old and another on the way in January.

    Now to my questions...

    I don't think I can work for anyone in Canada anymore. Ive been a bit spoiled in Germany with a really nice company car (to use as I please), 30 days paid vacation, a dozen or so national holidays, all tools supplied from the employer and all the normal benifets you get for working. I'm expected to bill 38-40hrs per week max. I can do programming at home and I can see my kid every night. I don't want to go back to the 55-60 hour weeks, 2 weeks vacation, can only take the company car from home to the job site, have to pay for your own benifits etc...

    Has anything changed in North America in the past 8 years? Do any of you have time for your families? We are thinking of going to Canada so the kids can be around their Grandparents, but if the controls industry is what it was 10 years ago, it may not be worth it.

    Are there any companies that do just BMS maintenance? I haven't used a vacuum pump or a set of gauges in 8 or nine years. Thats not to mention torches, recovery equipment and the now dozens of refrigerants needed to do repairs on the roof in the rain. Is there much work for a Switch Cabinet repair/maintenance? Any companies around that maintain/specialise in different systems?

    Also, if anyone has any questions about working is Australia, New Zealand or Germany I'll do my best to answer.

    Tschau,
    Tim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    USA
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    I think if you plan on living in population that cannot support a solid amount of work, your going to be traveling.

    City of 40K, how many techs required to service the buildings that actually have a BMS? Guessing less than 50% of the buildings have anything above standalone best case.

    Near a large market, your goals might be reasonable. 30 days paid vaca in the US at least...might want to look at what the cost of living / taxes are compared to deutschland before you roll that out in an interview.

    Would also think about what cost any employer has getting you working legal in country also. If you don't hold US citizenship, that's a costly process that can easily result in dollars down toilet. Not sure how that plays out in other countries. Here in the US for a small outfit to import, it could be years long process with no guarantee of approval but the costs to apply are more or less capped at a minimum. Its a game geared for outfits that want to hire large quantities of employees cheap and even they fight over opportunity in the US.
    Last edited by orion242; 10-08-2019 at 10:49 PM.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    What? Who? Where?
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    I have family that work/live in Switzerland as well as Finland and I work/live in Western US, stay in the Europe.

    kontrol out
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Kenilworth NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by timgkelly View Post
    Ive been a bit spoiled in Germany with a really nice company car (to use as I please), 30 days paid vacation, a dozen or so national holidays, all tools supplied from the employer and all the normal benifets you get for working. I'm expected to bill 38-40hrs per week max. I can do programming at home and I can see my kid every night.
    Hot dawg, I wanna move to Germany!
    More directly, I do not live in Canada, but having worked on the east coast, west coast and midwest portions of the US, I can tell you that you will not find better than where you are.
    I was about to write more, however I will refrain as ARP style fights do not belong in the Automation forum....
    Where I am now, people are fed propaganda that tells them 2 weeks vacation is a luxury reserved for only the top notch guys. MANY do not get that. 50hr weeks are the norm (aren't you a team player?!?!) And wages are such that 2 wages are needed to adequately support living expenses most of the time.
    Listen to KP, stay in Europe.
    Since you are there and you got my attention, what Brands are prevalent - Tridium, Distech, Alerton, Schneider, Delta, Johnson? Are you in a major metro area? I speak Russian and English, how is it getting by on that in Germany? I picked up Russian from a bunch of friends.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Queensland
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    I’m with the others I’m afraid. Especially given the holiday entitlements, I’d be staying there & holidaying with grandparents - or bringing them over to visit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SC
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    Depends on who you work for and the niche you can fit in to. Of the things you list the only things I don't get are that amount of paid vacation and that many holidays. In general I only take sporadic vacations anyway and have a lot saved up. I'm intentionally holding myself at 40 hours a week for mental health reasons and generally complete that in four days. Sleep in my own bed 98% of the time. BMS only, I am not certified for refrigerant etc. Everything I hear and read about I think I'd love it in Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway areas but just never pursued an opportunity that way.
    Scott Jalbert, WebCTRL ninja, Naiagara AX and Smartstruxure newb, SiteScan Retired

    The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California
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    Damm...30 PAID days off a year! My union gives me the option of either working, or not getting paid. Forget about paid sick days or paid vacation days. Normally I never take off more then 5 days off all year
    And 40hr weeks??? Good luck with that.Yea right. Try 4 hrs + just driving...on your time. And expect calls at night and weekends. And at end of year you basical
    The reward is your paycheck and satisfaction of doing what your good at love.
    Controls, the cause of... and solution to... all your HVAC problems.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
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    290
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    Quote Originally Posted by control$ View Post
    Damm...30 PAID days off a year! My union gives me the option of either working, or not getting paid. Forget about paid sick days or paid vacation days. Normally I never take off more then 5 days off all year
    And 40hr weeks??? Good luck with that.Yea right. Try 4 hrs + just driving...on your time. And expect calls at night and weekends. And at end of year you basical
    The reward is your paycheck and satisfaction of doing what your good at love.
    Is your Local run by Construction workers?

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    9
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by orion242 View Post
    ....
    Thanks for the reply. I wasn't planning on going to the US to work. I was more mentioning US because Canadian and US work culture is quite similar

    Quote Originally Posted by numbawunfela
    ...
    There is a lot of Siemens controls. Honeywell and Johnson are also pretty big and Schneider Electric have quite a few systems in. Delta Controls has quite a few as well I think. There are tons of German systems - DEOS, Neuberger, Sauter to name a few. DEOS is really good, but has some really big faults. Maybe they have been worked out by now. The others are also in fairly high regard. I haven't seen any Alerton or Distech. That doesn't mean they don't exist, but there are dozens of small control companies developing their own hardware/software/firmware and they are all busy.

    In a large city, with english you could get a job, but not get very far without German. You really need good German to work here and succeed. Your russian won't be very useful unless Lada got into the controls business and set up espion...I mean set up a shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by control$
    ...
    you must be self employed? What good is a union if they don't do anything?

    Quote Originally Posted by kontrolphreak
    ...
    Yea, things are good here for the normal workers. It's a good life, but it's not home. It comes with it's own difficulties i suppose. Most people rent, and with my wage, buying a place is pretty much out of the question. The east coast of canada, I can buy a decent house for about 150,000 CAD. I don't think a cheap house exists in Germany, or Switzerland for that matter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Kenilworth NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by timgkelly View Post
    Your russian won't be very useful unless Lada got into the controls business and set up espion...I mean set up a shop
    Hehe - thanks for the response.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    597
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    Local 250 plummers/fitters/ac
    Controls, the cause of... and solution to... all your HVAC problems.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxBurn View Post
    Depends on who you work for and the niche you can fit in to. Of the things you list the only things I don't get are that amount of paid vacation and that many holidays. In general I only take sporadic vacations anyway and have a lot saved up. I'm intentionally holding myself at 40 hours a week for mental health reasons and generally complete that in four days. Sleep in my own bed 98% of the time. BMS only, I am not certified for refrigerant etc.
    Ditto.

    Would give local 250 the finger if that's the general condition, but its CA so that prob explains things.
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    1,243
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    Don't get paid for travel time in LA????? yikes
    Keep it simple to keep it cool!

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