The PROF/TRAC European Qualification Scheme on nZEB skills aims at overcoming market barriers towards a successful design and construction process of nearly Zero Energy Buildings. It targets professionals with a higher education degree in the construction sector, the so-called white-collars. 

The qualification scheme is the outcome of an intensive consultation among national experts in
PROF/TRAC partner countries. This work resulted in the definition of:

  • harmonized work fields,
  • nZEB skills,
  • nZEB skills levels,
  • description of qualifications across Europe.

This framework constitutes a solid basis to compare the nZEB skills requested to different professions and to the same profession from one country to the other. 

Read more in PROF/TRAC report.

Harmonized work fields

Defining and targeting specific professions at the European level is still difficult. On the one hand, a specific profession can fulfil different tasks in different countries; on the other hand, definitions of professions differ from country to country and some professions are not defined at all out of the national borders. To bypass this fragmented EU panorama, PROF/TRAC grouped professions per work field. Seven work fields were identified, and for each of them reference professions were selected. 

Work fields and corresponding reference professions are here described on a task base, to facilitate a transparent and harmonised understanding.

Work fields and reference professions targeted in PROF/TRAC Qualification Scheme

Work field

Reference profession(s) within the work field

Definition of the profession



Architects investigate, design and oversee the implementation of buildings and urban spaces taking into account functional, architectural, aesthetic, structural, technical, regulatory, cost and contextual requirements with due regard to public health and safety. Architects’ work takes account of social factors and obligations and addresses the relationship between people and buildings and buildings and the environment (definition ESCO).

Civil engineering

Structural Engineer

Designer of materials and structures, considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. Specialization is possible on topics like construction safety, thermal performance, acoustics, building physics.

Civil Engineer

Construction Engineer

Mechanical engineering

Mechanical Engineer

Designer of materials and systems for HVAC and sanitary equipment, considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.

Energy Engineer

Building Automation Engineer

Designer of building automation systems, system engineer / system integrator, considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.

Electrical engineering

Electrical Engineer

Designer of power, lighting, data and or communication installations, considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.

ICT Engineer

Construction management

Project Manager

The person responsible for the planning, execution and closing of any (nZEB) building project and contracts.

Cost Expert,

Cost Engineer

The person responsible for financial aspects during planning, execution and closing of any (nZEB) building project. (Not meant is financing of the project).

Manager of Building Process

The person responsible for quality assurance during on-site construction works in the realization of nZEB buildings

Building management

Facility Manager

The person responsible to maintain the real estate as it was realized at the end of the nZEB building process (including facility management).

Technical Energy Engineer

Person responsible for management, monitoring and improvement of operation of facilities.

Financing and procurement


The person responsible for facilitating the process of nZEB tenders and (sub)contracts

Chief Procurement Officer

Project Developer

The project developer takes responsibility for the associated risks involved in the building process for the customer and hands over the project to the tenant / buyer after completion and use of the building

nZEB skills

PROF/TRAC made up a comprehensive list of technologies and interdisciplinary skills related to nZEBs. These technologies and skills represent the “highest common denominator” for the qualification of the targeted building professionals, meaning that any construction sector white-collar involved in nZEB design and construction will necessarily have at least one of these skills. The more skilled the professionals, the more successful the nZEB design.

Four areas of expertise were identified:

  • Energy Management (EM)
  • Energy Production (EP)
  • Energy Reduction (ER)
  • Interdisciplinary Skills (IS)

For each of them, PROF/TRAC listed the essential technologies and skills required for professionals dealing with nZEB. Access the complete list of nZEB skills in the Qualification Scheme.

nZEB skills levels

Of course, not all professions are expected to have the same skills and qualifications levels for all the identified nZEB technologies. Thus, PROF/TRAC has:

  • established skills levels, with assigned scores from 0 (min.) to 5 (max.);
  • set up recommendations about the minimum skills level for each work field per skills and

The description of nZEB skills levels and PROF/TRAC recommendations is detailed in the Qualification Scheme and in the nZEB skills recommendations.

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