Commissioning engineer: job description

Commissioning engineer: job description

Commissioning engineers are employed to work at a client's site, where they are responsible for commissioning and overseeing the installation of systems, plants and equipment.
Travel, international work and regular absences from home are often requirements of the job, but you may be paid overtime and lodging allowances in compensation.

What does a commissioning engineer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Commissioning engineers help to make sure that the products they are responsible for work properly and that they meet the client’s needs. Typical tasks include:

  • making improvements to, and offering advice about, operational procedures
  • scheduling and coordinating work to tight deadlines
  • ensuring that equipment works to its specification
  • creating and carrying out test procedures
  • investigating problems and diagnosing and repairing faults
  • troubleshooting
  • liaising with installation/project engineers
  • supervising engineering and technical staff
  • writing reports and documentation
  • providing technical support
  • ensuring safe working conditions
  • training maintenance and operative staff where appropriate.

Typical employers of commissioning engineers

  • Companies that manufacture/operate mechanical, electronic and electrical systems, equipment and machinery
  • Building services companies
  • Engineering contractors
  • Consultancies

Jobs are advertised in newspapers, online, by specialist recruitment agencies and in several engineering journals including TARGETjobs Engineering, The Engineer, The Chemical Engineer, Electrical Contracting News, Electronics Weekly, Electronic Engineering Times, Engineering News and Manufacturing Engineering.

Qualifications and training required

For entry into the profession, you will need a degree in an appropriate engineering discipline such as electrical, mechanical or civil engineering. Some employers will ask for a 2.1 degree but others will accept candidates with a 2.2 degree. Take a look at our list of engineering employers that accept 2.2 degrees.

A relevant postgraduate qualification can be helpful and may be necessary for some posts. A list of accredited courses is available on the Engineering Council’s website and you can read our article on engineering postgraduate study to explore your options.

Practical work experience is often required and can be gained via degree sponsorship, vacation work, industrial placements and graduate engineering training schemes. Take a look at our list of engineering employers who offer industrial placements and summer internships.

Achieving chartered (CEng) status with the Engineering Council can help to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree with honours in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). You will also be eligible with an integrated MSc. To find out more, take a look at our guide to chartership.

Key skills for commissioning engineers

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Leadership and managerial skills
  • Commercially awareness
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Teamworking skills
  • Relevant technical expertise (for example in test, design, development and operations)
  • Good IT and analytical skills.
  • The ability to cope with shift work and unsocial hours, which are often required where equipment is in 24-hour operation

Read our article on the skills engineering employers look for for more information and then find out how you can prove you possess these competencies at engineering assessment centres.

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