By: Jennifer Hatten
The Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACEI) is dedicated to furthering the concepts of Total Cost Management (TCM) and cost engineering by offering opportunities for individuals to verify their knowledge and skills by providing Certified Cost Engineer (CCE) and Certified Cost Consultant (CCC) certifications, among others. TCM is a systematic approach to managing costs throughout the life cycle of any enterprise, program, facility, project, product, or service, by applying cost engineering and cost engineering principles. In December 2011, I sat for the CCE/CCC certification exam and tested my knowledge of cost engineering skills, economic analysis of problems, project management theories and techniques, and cost estimating and control.
During the course of any project, it is necessary to see beyond the physical design and construction of a project and realize that other resources, such as time and money, are invested. The additional time and money invested in a project are referred to as cost. AACEI is dedicated to furthering the concept of using a systematic approach to managing costs throughout the life cycle of any project through the application of cost engineering and cost engineering principles.
A cost engineer must be knowledgeable about various topics such as estimating, scheduling, activity-based costs, fixed and variable costs, life cycle costs, statistics and probability, and various tools to analyze labor-cost performance. In addition, a cost engineer must know how to manage people and understand how people and organizations work together.
For example, a company wants to build a pipeline. Beyond the design and construction of the pipeline, it is important to have an individual who is trained to estimate what the project might cost, determine the activities need in order to design and build the pipeline, estimate how long it will take to build the pipeline, and so on. In addition, it is critical that an individual continually monitors the budget and schedule to ensure the project comes in on time and under budget. A cost engineer is responsible for carrying out these tasks.
The exam required me to have a working knowledge of cost and schedule performance indices by using schedule variance, schedule performance index, cost variance, cost performance index, credit work hours, and productivity indices equations. In addition, the exam required me to compare and evaluate cash flows for projects using present value and future value formulas. In terms of theory, AACEI acknowledges that leadership is an important aspect of project management and therefore tests on various leadership and motivational styles, and conflict resolution techniques.
I am proud to announce that on December 30, 2011, the certification board informed me that I had passed the CCE/CCC exam. As a claims consultant, this certification shows that I have sufficient knowledge and skills to analyze project costs, schedules, and risks in order to understand why a project did, or did not, come together as a whole to meet an owner’s needs and expectations.