What does a Chief Engineer do?

Meghan Perry

A chief engineer is someone who supervises the maintenance and operations of different engineering projects. An individual in this position may work in a variety of industries, including gas, construction, pipeline, commercial real estate, and automotive. The role of a chief engineer generally varies according to industry. Regardless of industry, though, chief engineers are generally involved in projects from start to finish.

A chief engineer supervises the maintenance and operations of different engineering projects.
A chief engineer supervises the maintenance and operations of different engineering projects.

Since the chief engineer is often the head of the engineering department, he or she is generally responsible for supervising the engineering staff. This includes ensuring that workers adhere to safety procedures. It also includes setting staff goals and working with staff to find ways to meet those goals. Chief engineers are also responsible for delegating tasks in order to make certain that any required deadlines are met. In addition to supervising staff members, these individuals must also communicate with upper management regarding any engineering problems during the project.

Chief engineers may aid in the planning and design of blueprints for specific projects. For example, if working in the construction industry, the chief engineer may coordinate engineering staff and direct them in the design of different building projects. This individual would also make sure that the plans and new construction comply with any regulations or building code requirements.

Another duty of a chief engineer is to come up with cost estimates and to create budgest for specific engineering projects. It is also the responsibility of the chief to make sure that a project remains within the budget. He or she will likely communicate any excess costs with management.

If outside contractors or vendors are needed to complete an engineering project, it is the chief engineer's responsibility to approve the agreements with these parties. An individual in this position may also work together with vendors to ensure that goals are clearly communicated and understood. He or she may also approve work orders.

A chief engineer may monitor equipment and perform inspections and maintenance work. He or she is responsible for repairing any necessary equipment, as well as documenting repairs and maintenance. Often, chief engineers will be required to write reports, as well.

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