Cost engineers play a crucial role in various industries, ensuring that projects, programs, and assets are managed efficiently in terms of resources, costs, profitability, and risk. This article aims to shed light on who cost engineers are and what they do, emphasizing the importance of their profession in Total Cost Management (TCM).
B. Total Cost Management (TCM)
Cost Management or Total Cost Engineering, is a systematic approach to managing costs throughout the life cycle of an enterprise, program, facility, project, product, or service. It involves the application of cost engineering and cost management principles, methodologies, and technology to support the management process effectively. In essence, TCM encompasses a range of practices and areas:
- Business and Program Planning
- Cost Estimating
- Economic and Financial Analysis
- Cost Engineering
- Program and Project Management
- Planning and Scheduling
- Cost and Schedule Performance Measurement
- Change Control
TCM integrates these practices to optimize cost-related decisions and ensure the successful execution of projects and programs.
C. Cost Engineers: The Professionals
Cost engineers are professionals who specialize in the cost dimension of projects, programs, and assets. While engineers primarily focus on the physical design and analysis aspects, cost engineers deal with the financial and resource-related dimensions. Here’s what cost engineers do:
- Cost Estimation: They estimate the costs associated with creating an asset or delivering a project, considering materials, labor, equipment, and other resources.
- Economic and Financial Analysis: Cost engineers analyze the economic feasibility of projects and conduct financial assessments to determine the return on investment.
- Cost Engineering: They apply engineering judgment and experience to manage cost-related issues, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively.
- Program and Project Management: Cost engineers participate in program and project management activities, aligning project goals with cost objectives.
- Planning and Scheduling: They contribute to project planning and scheduling efforts, helping determine the activities needed for successful project execution.
- Cost and Schedule Performance Measurement: Cost engineers monitor and assess project progress regarding expenditures and timelines, ensuring alignment with objectives.
- Change Control: They manage changes to project scope, schedule, and budget, evaluating the impact on costs and recommending adjustments.
D. Roles and Specializations
Cost engineers can have various job titles and specialize in different functions within cost engineering. Some common titles and specializations include:
- Cost Estimator: Focuses on estimating project costs accurately.
- Parametric Analyst: Utilizes parametric models to estimate costs.
- Strategic Planner: Engages in long-term planning and cost analysis.
- Scheduler: Concentrates on project scheduling and timeline management.
- Cost/Schedule Engineer: Integrates cost and schedule management.
- Project Manager: Leads and oversees project execution.
- Project Control Lead: Manages project controls and performance.
Cost engineers are indispensable professionals in various industries, collaborating closely with engineers and other specialists to ensure that projects are executed efficiently and within budget. Their expertise in cost estimation, economic analysis, and cost management plays a pivotal role in achieving the objectives of Total Cost Management (TCM). Cost engineers possess a diverse skill set, enabling them to navigate the complexities of cost-related decisions and contribute significantly to the success of projects, programs, and assets.
Download the PDF version of this Article to share with your colleagues
Tag:AACE International, construction engineering, cost engineer, cost engineer courses, cost engineering, cost engineers, cost estimator, Cost management, cost of engineering degree, engineering website, engineers online, international constitution, job title, Management and Cost Engineering, management principles, parametric analyst, project control lead, project manager, schedule engineer, scheduler, strategic planner