The Buildings and Engineering Section (BES) is responsible for the maintenance of buildings, parks and gardens at the Palais des Nations of the United Nations Organization in Geneva (UNOG).  The Unit is responsible for the management of several projects related to its buildings, provision of support to conference services and exhibits, allocation of space and office planning within UNOG and coordination of related building services requirements.

The sustainable policy is omnipresent in the BES activities. 

The services are provided through two units, buildings and engineering, and comprise about twenty different professions including: architects, engineers, draughtsmen, electricians, mechanics, removal staff, carpenters, painters, masons, upholsterer, conference operators and audio-visual technicians.

The Buildings Unit is responsible for the maintenance of all physical facilities at the Palais des Nations and its annexes. The Engineering Unit is responsible for technical installations at the Palais des Nations and its annexes.

Information on the job-setting:

Work implies frequent interaction with the following:

  • Specialists within the work unit and other departments throughout the organization, but most typically within the duty station.
  • Counterparts in other UN organizations.
  • Vendors and suppliers.


Duties and Responsibilities

Within delegated authority, and under the guidance and direction of the Chief of Unit the JPO in Architecture will:

Provide professional support for construction work by:

  • Technical briefing on site of proposed vendors/contractors prior to bidding;
  • Coordinating project activities between outside contractors/in house building shops and  affected departments/services during implementation;
  • Regularly monitoring on site of implementation of construction contracts and the progress of work to ensure compliance with drawings and specifications;
  • Determining justification for technical changes to the contract and giving on site approval of such  changes when necessary and within delegated authority; 
  • Preparing progress reports on projects, as required;
  • Liaising and consulting with professional and technical staff of other departments/services as well as outside consulting firms on technical requirements of and inputs for project;

Study, analyze and supervise the development of technical solution(s) for proposed construction and/or alteration projects by: 

  • Preparing detailed architectural drawings and reviewing engineering (mechanical, structural, electrical, sanitation) drawings; 
  • Interpreting building codes for construction, fire safety and health for each project;
  • Determining and preparing outline technical data to accompany project designs;
  • Preparing the terms of reference;
  • Assessing the bids; 
  • Contacting representatives of manufacturers and suppliers regarding the performance, cost, and suitability of equipment to meet project requirements;
  • Assessing scope of project work and type and quantity of materials needed in preparing cost estimates for project;
  • Preparing requisitions for subcontract work; and
  • preparing draft technical descriptions for contract bid documents.

Prepare and recommend architectural, structural and engineering concepts for alteration work in the United Nations building/site facilities by:  

  • Identifying design parameters;
  • Analyzing functional/spatial needs of "clients", and
  • Preparing alternative design solutions, including schematic drawings and sketches, for discussion with supervisor and "clients".

Results Expected:

  • Well-reasoned identification of issues and development of recommendations on a variety of architectural matters.  Consistently applies appropriate policies, guidelines, procedures and processes.  Effectively, and in a timely manner, liaises with concerned parties during the course of duties. Applies specialised expertise with respect to a range of architectural tasks of the Unit.  Terms of reference issued on due time

Learning Elements:

  • The JPO in Architecture will gain in-depth knowledge of Architectural processes and procedures within a large, highly visible public international organization, as well as acquire expertise in the rules and regulations that govern such processes in the UN.  She/he will learn to work as a member of a medium-size team with the mandate to produce audit-proof high quality documentation, often under time pressure. The staff member will be initiating his/her functions at a time when Central Support Services will be working towards implementing major changes at the level of its working methods and service delivery model and this represents a unique opportunity for the staff member to be closely engaged with and contribute to a major change management process.
  • It should be further highlighted that the Buildings Unit function plays an important role across the United Nations. The JPOAssociate  in Architecture will acquire solid experience that will be always demanded by the UN.




  • Knowledge of the construction code and the norms of the host country. Knowledge of administrative, budgetary, financial and human resources policies and procedures. Ability to apply various United Nations administrative rules and regulations in work situations.  Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis. Ability to identify issues, formulate opinions, make conclusions and recommendations. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.


  • Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Planning& Organizing

  • Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.

Client Orientation

  • Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Required Skills and Experience


  •  Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in architecture or a related field is required. A first-level university degree in one of the above areas in combination with relevant qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work experience

  • A minimum of two years of progressively responsible experience in procurement, business administration, public administration, commerce, engineering, law or a related field.


  • Fluency in English (both oral and written) is required;
  • Working knowledge of French is desirable;
  • Knowledge of another official UN language would be an asset.