Cost Engineer Careers

How to become Cost Engineer

What does a Cost Engineer do?

Cost engineers work to ensure value for money using engineering knowledge to assess and control costs. This may be:

Cost estimating – involves working out costs of a variety ways of working, from making a component or new product to an entire construction project. This can assist a manufacturer or contractor to decide on a price to tender, or a client to compare between different tenders.

Cost Control – involves ensuring that a project stays within its estimated and agreed costs.

Planning – involves thinking through time-related aspects of alternative designs or courses of action and costs, whilst looking at the benefits that may arise. For example, calculating and comparing costs and benefits of siting a new warehouse in different regions.

From their findings they write reports and make presentations that tell managers what they need to know to make decisions. The reports may include forecasts of future costs and recommendations.

Other areas within cost engineering include investment appraisal, risk analysis, trend forecasting and value engineering.

What's the working environment like working as a Cost Engineer?

Cost engineers usually have a basic working week of 37 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday. Overtime may also be necessary.

They are normally office-based. Offices are normally clean and pleasant and reasonably quiet.

If their work relates closely to manufacturing or construction, they may spend time on the shop floor, construction site or processing plant. Construction sites may be dirty and exposed to the weather. Some jobs may involve travel to customers’ sites or offices.

What does it take to become a Cost Engineer?

An ability to understand engineering drawings and principles is required. Written and spoken communication skills are important, as is an ability to present ideas in written reports.

A logical, methodical approach is needed with an interest in solving problems. Computer and number skills are necessary. Teamwork is required.In some jobs, awareness of outside factors such as legislation, trends in prices, interest and exchange rates, activity of competitors, etc. is necessary.

Cost Engineer Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Cost Engineer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Association of Cost Engineers (AcostE)
Lea House
5 Middlewich Rd
CW11 1XL
Tel. 01270 764798

Engineering and Marine Training Authority (EMTA) *
EMTA House
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel. 0800 282167

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel. 028 9032 9878

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some will continue operating for several months. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

From March 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills began licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Facts and Stats:

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel was only 5ft tall and wore a top hat to make himself look taller
  • Engineering generates more than 40 per cent of the UK¿s national wealth
  • The Box Hill tunnel, part of Brunel¿s Great Western Railway, took five years to dig and at two miles long was the longest tunnel in the world at the time

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