News: What does it take to be an effective owner’s engineer?

Advocacy, expertise, and partnership.

Learn more about our owner’s engineering services and our tips for ‘minding the gap’ when selecting the right proponent to support you in your capital projects journey.

At CH·IV we’ve been supporting our clients’ capital projects for decades through our team of experts who serve as an extension of our client’s management and technical teams, providing independent third-party engineering and consulting services.

The role of owner’s engineer is critical in minding the gap between owner in-house expertise and external subject matter experts that are required for the successful implementation of projects in various stages of development. The efforts include support of Front-End services, Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC), startup and commissioning, and operations.  Major capital projects are complex by nature with a multitude of challenging and interrelated tasks, which all need to come together to achieve a project’s aims and objectives.

Dependent upon inhouse capabilities of the Owner’s team, tasks typically undertaken by an owner’s engineer can range from narrowly defined roles such as a technical and/or commercial review of EPC contractor deliverables,  obtaining authorizations and permits, and overseeing various subcontracts on behalf of the owner, to being a full-scale project management, technical, commercial and permitting resource involved in all aspects of project development, engineering, procurement & subcontract management, up to and construction oversight, startup and commissioning.

Typical owner’s engineering services include:

  • Oversight of pre-FEED/FEED/Detail Engineering
  • FEED / EPC Pre-Qualification, Bid Preparation, Selection, Negotiation
  • Detailed Design Oversight
  • Factory Acceptance Tests
  • Construction Inspection and Oversight
  • Emergency Response Manual Development
  • Bid Package Preparation, EPC Prequalification and EPC Bids Review
  • Permitting and Compliance
  • Contracts Support, Schedule, and Progress
  • EPC, Startup and Commissioning Oversight

But not all owner’s engineers are equal.  What should you look for in an owner’s engineer to drive the project outcomes you need?

Advocacy is an essential factor in being an effective owner’s engineer. Owner’s engineering teams should be driven to protect the owner’s objectives and investment throughout the entire project lifecycle. Having an advocate from the outset of a project leads to more predictable outcomes, whether it’s collaborating on the initial concept design, cost estimating, permitting or contractor selection. Engaging an independent consultant at project inception can lead to increased likelihood of securing project financing, selecting the right EPC contractor and contracting strategy and keeping the project on track in terms of budget and schedule.

Owner’s engineers’ expertise and previous experience in working with and managing EPC contractors bring a key understanding of what is involved. Owners should critically evaluate their team and expertise to identify the gaps which need addressing when selecting an owner’s engineer.

Having a partner who is intimately familiar with all aspects of the project as the work progresses can be extremely beneficial to a project. Spending time with the owner’s engineers’ team to understand individuals’ capabilities, back-office support, experience, and track record. The right partnership should lead to a fully integrated team with owner’s representatives and the owner’s engineer being indistinguishable in terms of company of origin.

Learn more about CH·IV’s owner engineering services at

Contact us at 410-691-9640 for more information.

Email us

Our Office Locations