Engineering Disciplines for EPC Project Teams

October 13, 2022
Detail Engineering & Design
published by

Thank you for your interest in our content.

All you need to provide is your email and you'll get instant access to this content.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Thank you for your interest in our content.

All you need to provide is your info & email and you'll get instant access to this content.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Multi-discipline EPC projects require many different types of people with various skill sets who can work together in an integrated fashion to deliver the project on time and on budget.  

This article gives an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the various engineering disciplines for EPC project teams.

Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities of Engineering Disciplines in EPC Project Teams

Whether small or large, for any project executed inside an existing facility, the following items, at minimum, are required prior to the execution phase of the project:

  • Complete project piping and instrumentation diagram (P&ID)
  • Major equipment drawings and specifications
  • Preliminary equipment layout drawings
  • Existing infrastructure surveys (as needed throughout the project)

Engineering Team During Detail Design: Common Disciplines

The following engineering and design disciplines are involved in most multidiscipline EPC projects during the execution phase: civil/structural, piping, mechanical, and instrumentation/electrical/controls (IEC). The process engineering team will be involved as necessary to confirm design details or basis, but most of their work happens at the beginning of the project. Other specialties will be involved as necessary (e.g., fire protection), but, for the bulk of the work, the aforementioned “three” groups represent the highest percentage of required labor hours.

Civil/Structural Engineering and Design

This team is responsible for the design and engineering of:

  • Groundwork
  • Drainage
  • Foundations
  • Steel supports and structures

To begin detail design work, the civil/structural engineering and design discipline will typically need:

  • Soil samples/geotechnical investigations
  • Existing drawings
  • Equipment weights 

Piping Design and Engineering

Piping designers are responsible for:

  • Determining equipment locations in the plant
  • 3D models of piping
  • Locating nozzles on equipment

Piping engineers are responsible for:

  • Stress analysis (finite elements analysis, or FEA) of piping systems 
  • Piping specifications

To begin detail design work, the piping engineering and design discipline will typically need:

  • Complete project P&IDs
  • Line list with piping sizes and process conditions

Instrument, Controls, and Electrical Design

The instrumentation, controls, and electrical disciplines are responsible for the following on the project:

  • Instruments
  • Cause and effect diagrams
  • Loop diagrams
  • Automation
  • Power systems and distribution designs
  • Load studies

To begin work, this discipline needs instrument requirements/specifications, control philosophy, and engineering specifications. It also requires existing plant drawings or information, such as available:

  • One-line diagrams (also known as an electrical single-line diagram [SLD])
  • Power sources
  • Input/output information

Process/Mechanical Engineering

Most process and mechanical engineering should have been done prior to detail design when equipment is being identified and specified and process and mechanical data sheets are filled out. However, process and/or mechanical duties during detail design may include:

  • Conformance verification of the final design with the design basis. For instance, a hydraulic analysis may be necessary to confirm initial assumptions after equipment is located and piping is routed.
  • Any details that have been left until the detail design phase (relief valve calculations/specifications, vendor drawing reviews, etc.)

Project Team Composition

The project team will vary depending on project specifics, but a simple rule of thumb for a typical project is a labor hour composition of civil/structural (25%), piping (50%), and IEC (25%). Note that this can vary greatly depending on the unique characteristics of the project.  

Pie chart of a typical project team/labor hour composition.

In addition to the core engineering disciplines, typical roles for the engineering phase of an EPC project will include:

  • Project Manager: The project manager provides overall scope, schedule, and budget control for the project.
  • Project Engineer: The project engineer works for the project manager and provides technical interface among the engineering disciplines, clients, and vendors.

H+M Industrial EPC: Delivering Capital Project Success Since 1988

For more than 30 years, H+M Industrial EPC has provided leading capital project execution services to the energy, chemical, and terminal and logistics industries. Being client-focused, we provide cost-effective, fit-for-purpose engineering solutions to meet your needs. We will work closely with you to bring your vision to life while prioritizing the success of your projects with every decision we make.

About the Author

Want to Learn More About Project Management?

To find out more about engineering disciplines for EPC project teams, or about H+M Industrial EPCcontact us through our website today.

To find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of turnkey projects and how H+M Industrial EPC can meet your capital project needs, contact us through our website today.

Contact Us
The logo for H+M
The H+M Industrial Team

For over three decades, we have provided best-in-class capital project management services to Energy and Chemical industries through our proven EPC approach. We are dedicated to providing trust, experience, and efficiency through all stages of engineering, procurement, and construction--on budget and on time.

Stay Informed – Join our Newsletter.

Get announcements, insights, and white papers directly in your inbox.
Sign Up Success!
You should start receiving our newsletter in your inbox now. We promise we won't spam you or sell your data.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.