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Role of the Planning Engineer

The estimating team will consider construction methods and employ planning techniques to:
1. Highlight any critical or unusual activities.
2. Examine alternative ways of tackling the work.
3. Calculate optimum durations for temporary works and plant.
4. Reconcile the labour costs in the estimate with a programme showing resources.
5. Determine the general items and facilities priced in the preliminaries section of the bill.
6. Check whether the time for completion is acceptable.
Role of the Planning Engineer
The effort needed will depend on the size and complexity of the project, the proposed use of heavy plant and the design of major temporary works. Estimating for civil engineering work in particular is dependent on an examination of alternative methods and pre-tender programmes. A civil engineering estimator usually produces a resourced programme to price major aspects of the work operationally. 
Pre-tender programmes are prepared by either the estimator or planning engineer, or more likely by working together.The choice depends on company policy, size of project and type of work. The planning engineer’s contribution can be seen as producing an appraisal of labour and plant resources and general items – in other words the estimator expresses his solutions in terms of cash, the programmer deals with time. The aim is to reconcile one with the other.
In a competitive market it is important to look for ways to construct the project more economically. Applying planning techniques can have opposite consequences. Increasing the value of the tender when problems are identified and reducing the estimate when methods can be adopted which reduce individual and overall durations. The team must, however, look for the solution, which reflects the ‘true’ cost of construction.The role of the planning engineer is wider than just producing a programme. His input to a tender can also include:

1. Producing site layout drawings, which are used to locate temporary facilitates, such as concrete batching plant, cranage, access routes, restrictions, areas for accommodation and storage, location of services, overhead service, temporary spoil heaps, and areas which will need reinstatement.
2. Examining the most suitable methods in relation to the design and the temporary works required.
3. Preparing method statements not only for pricing purposes but also for submission to clients or consultants when requested.
4. Producing cashflow forecast charts for management and clients who need them.
5. Providing staff structure and resource histograms for general labour, production labour and plant.
The planning engineer will often have a better understanding of current site practice and will be better placed to collect data from monitoring exercises on site. His experience of completed work will be important especially where the overall duration of a project could be reduced. Shorter contract periods can have a substantial effect on the cost of preliminaries where time-related costs (mainly staff, site accommodation, cranage and scaffolding) account for as much as 12–20% of a tender figure.

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