A novel approach for measuring the accuracy of front end engineering design

G. Edward Gibson, Mounir El Asmar, Abdulrahman Yussef, David Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Assessing front end engineering design (FEED) accuracy is significant for project owners because it can support informed decision-making, including confidence in cost and schedule predictions. A framework to measure FEED accuracy does not exist in the literature or in practice, not does systematic data directly linking FEED accuracy to project performance. This paper aims to focus first on gauging and quantifying FEED accuracy, and second on measuring its impact on project performance in terms of cost change, schedule change, change performance, financial performance and customer satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach: A novel measurement scheme was developed for FEED accuracy as a comprehensive assessment of factors related to the project leadership and execution teams, management processes and resources; to assess the environment surrounding FEED. The development of this framework built on a literature review and focus groups, and used the research charrettes methodology, guided by a research team of 20 industry professionals and input from 48 practitioners representing 31 organizations. Data were collected from 33 large industrial projects representing over $8.8 billion of installed cost, allowing for a statistical analysis of the framework's impact on performance. Findings: This paper describes: (1) twenty-seven critical FEED accuracy factors; (2) an objective and scalable method to measure FEED accuracy; and (3) data showing that projects with high FEED accuracy outperformed projects with low FEED accuracy by 20 percent in terms of cost growth in relation to their approved budgets. Practical implications: FEED accuracy is defined as the degree of confidence in the measured level of maturity of the FEED deliverables to serve as a basis of decision at the end of detailed scope, prior to detailed design. Assessing FEED accuracy is significant for project owners because it can support informed decision-making, including confidence in cost and schedule predictions. Originality/value: FEED accuracy has not been assessed before, and it turned out to have considerable project performance implications. The new framework presented in this paper is the first of its kind, it has been tested rigorously, and it contributes to both the literature body of knowledge as well as to practice. As one industry leader recently stated, “it not only helped to assess the quality and adequacy of the technical documentation required, but also provided an opportunity to check the organization's readiness before making a capital investment decision”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Accuracy
  • Construction planning
  • Novel method
  • Project management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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