The Supervising Discipline Engineer's (SDE) role in the Front End Planning Process
The Supervising Discipline Engineer's (SDE) role in the Front End Planning (FEP) Process is thought to be an important one by engineering managers at an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) firm. Although FEP and the role of the SDE have been defined independently, the roles of the SDE in the FEP process lack proper definition and understanding to achieve the much needed alignment of the two. It has been assumed that the SDE has higher levels of involvement in technical roles, based on their job description, but it was important to reinforce this through the research. The information contributed to the FEP process by the SDE is needed in a timely manner and crucial to project success. Therefore, it is important to define these roles and the level of involvement the SDE takes part. The research addresses this issue. It identifies the roles in which the SDE participates in the three phases of Front End Planning as defined by the Construction Industry Institute. The CII model was chosen based on industry "best practice" as adopted by URS Washington Division, the EPC firm evaluated in this research. Six core engineering disciplines were evaluated, as determined by URS Washington Division, and are as follows: (1) Architectural, Civil, Environmental, and Structural (ACES); (2) Electrical; (3) Instrumentation and Controls (I&C); (4) Mechanical; (5) Piping; and (6) Process. A group of SDEs, from a variety of disciplines, participated in a skills development program defining the activities involved in FEP. Once concluded, the SDE was to rate their level of involvement on a survey questionnaire developed by the research team for each activity. Based on the results, the research found conclusive evidence to define the level of involvement of the SDE in the FEP process. Furthermore, conclusions drawn from these respondents reinforced the high levels of involvement in those technically driven activities and elaborated on the role of the SDE in relation to the less technical activities. Last, from the analysis of the data collected, a matrix was developed outlining the roles of the SDE in general, and the roles of the SDE according to discipline.