Cost Engineer Spotlight

Cost Engineers keep the costs of a project under control through ongoing communication, research and organization. They are skilled at negotiation and conflict resolution, and their knowledge of material costs is highly sought after.

What a typical day looks like:

A Cost Engineer’s work starts at the very beginning of any project. They prepare the cost estimates based on the project’s specifications and drawings. These estimates are critical for evaluating and responding to proposals. Cost Engineers also work with management to bid or determine the price of a product or service and negotiate contracts.

Once a contract is negotiated, Cost Engineers track expenditures meticulously using sophisticated databases and compile cost performance management data for reporting. They also work with engineers and project managers to make sure the job is done to the necessary quality and specifications before submitting invoices to the finance department. They constantly monitor and analyze the information to make sure the entire project stays on time and on budget.

Typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil sands, oil and gas services and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry, Cost Engineers spend their time in an office setting with regular hours. This role can be filled with pressure as they keep things on track and costs under control.

The kinds of problems Cost Engineers solve at work:

Projects often run into the multi-millions or multi-billions of dollars, so Cost Engineers need to know when a project is over budget, behind schedule or if there are any arising quality issues. As these problems come up, it’s up to Cost Engineers to flag any issues to the project manager and create a cost mitigation plan as needed.

Skills used most on the job:

Attention to detail and economics-focus are key skills of a Cost Engineer. They can explain complex financial matters in ways that are easily understood by others, which helps in negotiations and conflict resolution. Cost Engineers are also critical thinkers who have strong organizational and problem-solving skills. On top of all of this, they are also good at working with colleagues from many departments to get across the message of cost control.

Cost Engineers play an important role in making sure their company is either getting the best financial return for its service or product, or getting the biggest bang for the buck.

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