What does a Cost Engineer do?

Prior to the start of a project, a cost engineer determines how much money, resources, and time it will require. The job has nothing to do with traditional engineering jobs, which involve designing and fabricating tangible objects and tools. A cost control engineer projects, assesses, and controls costs, as well as plans, schedules, and manages projects, using engineering principles and judgment.

A meeting with a cost engineer is usually held before a company, individual, or investor group begins a project to discuss the budget and budget projections. The projected costs for labor, materials, and related expenses are given to the cost engineer. He or she meets with the principals to discuss the budget details after reviewing the numbers. After that, the project is put out to bid.

The responsibilities of a cost engineer differ from project to project; some projects are ready to bid right away, while others require extensive retooling to meet budget constraints. The cost engineer’s job is to accurately analyze labor and material estimates for each project phase and recommend solutions for overbudget problem areas. Meetings with project managers, subcontractors, and investors are frequently required.

A cost control engineer advises cost management teams on cost reporting and forecasting on a regular basis, and checks their projections for accuracy. Work on variance reporting, projections, cost tracking, commitment reporting, change control, and cash flow with construction, engineering, and cost analyst personnel. To ensure accurate cost coding, review, and accruals, a cost control engineer collaborates closely with accounting.

Each industry has its own set of educational and experience requirements for a cost control engineer. Because there are no formal degree programs in cost engineering, it is occasionally mentioned in engineering or civil engineering curricula. The fundamentals of cost engineering are covered in a number of online educational programs. In this field, professional organizations occasionally offer classes and seminars.

Some cost engineers start out in the construction industry. They study math and statistics and apply their knowledge and experience to become qualified for a position as a cost engineer. Various cost engineering professional organizations provide voluntary certification. If a company employs more than one cost engineer, working as an intern with one of them, whether paid or unpaid, can provide invaluable experience to those aspiring to the position.

The construction industry employs the most cost control engineers, accounting for more than half of all cost engineers. Cost engineers make up 15% of the workforce in the manufacturing industry. The remaining cost engineering jobs are spread across a variety of industries.