101 – Cost Engineering

No matter the role that you’re in or if you’re looking to learn more about the construction industry, it is helpful to get a high-level understanding of what cost engineering is about.

Looking for a professional to project the costs and create expense reports for construction projects? Then you need a cost engineer for help.

Cost Engineering – What is it?

A cost engineer is a professional expert responsible for projecting costs and creating expense reports for your construction projects. They also specialize in identifying and mitigating any risk by developing contingency plans to reduce financial leakage for building projects. [2]

Cost engineers are also well-versed in conducting statistical and data analysis to measures deliverables. These include quality checks and time deliverables for improved adherence to your project’s objective and to ensure higher profitability.

Group of cost engineers

Responsibilities of a Cost Engineer

Here are some of the most common responsibilities of a cost engineer. [1][3]

  • Research on trusted vendors and suppliers
  • Negotiations for material for high-quality construction designs as per client’s specification
  • Developing and implementing project’s cost with a breakdown structure with tools to track, analyze and report data
  • Creating Bills of Material (BOM) for each construction project to ensure adequate execution and material requirements.
  • Designing and integration of a complete information management system for the project using ERP software and other tools or equipment.
  • Coordination and execution of every aspect of the accounting process, including accounts payable, accounts receivables, general ledger, and payroll. This can be for the entire company’s operation or individual construction projects.
  • Liaison with the construction project manager to update the BOM and generate up-to-date costing analysis and reports for the management.
  • Train other employees to implement the costing models for future projects.
  • Assist you with efficient vendor progress and performance measurement. This may include variation analysis, cash flow and predict the feasibility of using a specific vendor.
  • Take part in the bidding process and help with the evaluation of contractor’s schedule submittals.
  • Review the construction project’s schedule because of technical changes and other unforeseeable factors.

Cost Engineering and its role in the Construction Industry

Cost engineering is vital for construction projects to create a research-based cost analysis. Other benefits include:

One of the major advantages associated with cost engineering is gaining assurance for the degree of standardization. This ensures a consistent approach towards costing/working breakdown prior to starting a project and during its execution phases.

While the above-mentioned are the typical job responsibilities of a cost engineer, this role can also perform other broad range of job duties, including:

  • Bid writing
  • Commercial project management
  • Cost consultation
  • In-house project management
  • Cost database creation and maintenance
  • Quality surveyor

To Keep It Simple

The primary objective of cost engineers is to achieve an ideal balance between quality, price, and time obligation of a construction project. Therefore, they will always keep a close eye on the physical aspects of the project and their cost component.

The slightest change in the project and the cost engineer will be the first to know how it will affect the feasibility of your initial understanding and costing of the design. If you are in the construction industry and wish to establish a reputation for reliability and accurate cost analysis, it is time to get a cost engineer on board.


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