Author: Wayne L. Fischer, PE, CPM, Principal + Process Engineer
November 11, 2014

Having a significant number of scope changes during the life of a project seems more common and expected. This may be partially due to CAD software, integrated engineering software, and responsive engineers making it easier to implement changes. While it may be easier to make changes, they still can have significant schedule and capital cost impact.

While some scope changes cannot be avoided, many can be by completely defining the project scope and evaluating alternatives during the early phases of engineering. The early engineering phases of a project are also known as Front End Engineering (FEE). FEE includes the feasibility, conceptual, and definition engineering phases. The project scope becomes more firm and detailed as you progress through the FEE phases. It is important that FEE effort is thorough in covering all scope areas and alternatives. Environmental impact, process safety impact, and code/regulation requirements must be considered. The thorough engineering effort during FEE will minimize surprises during the design, construction, and startup phases. Minimizing surprises minimizes scope changes that can have significant schedule and capital cost impact. This impact can increase exponentially the later it occurs in the project.
FEE is a nominal percentage of the overall project cost and does not take long when compared to the project’s total capital cost and schedule. When looking at the actual duration and total capital cost of projects that do not include thorough FEE, the higher schedule impact and capital cost can be much more significant than what would have been required to complete a thorough FEE effort.

Get your projects started on the right foot with thorough FEE and enjoy the benefits throughout the life of the project.