Piping engineers are responsible for piping design and the installation of piping systems that transport materials such as oil, gas, water, and waste. The piping setup and layout are critical to the luxuries we may take for granted, such as having running water in the house, receiving gas to warm our homes, or flushing a toilet that connects through pipes to the sewage, and later to a waste treatment plant. In short, smart piping systems are fundamental to living a comfortable life, and expert piping engineers are behind it all.
Piping engineers must make forecasts and analyses, decide on piping layout and placement, choose piping materials, and design piping supports or tresses, while using computer-aided design (CAD) or 3D modeling to create the blueprint and specifications. They also need to ensure that piping systems are adequately reinforced to reduce vibrations, regularly check nozzle loads in compliance with codes, draft technical reports and provide trainings to junior or fellow engineers and technicians as needed. Given the need for making many detailed calculations and high accuracy in planning, piping engineers are highly skilled in math, physics, and chemistry, among others.
Piping engineers and piping design engineers are needed in industries where pipes are used to transport liquid materials from one location to another. Common sectors with promising career opportunities include waste and water management, power generation, marine dredging, and the oil and gas industry.
Common piping engineer responsibilities
- Analyzing piping needs, designs and determining best piping layouts;
- Preparing and designing piping system drawings, such as blueprints, maps, and diagrams, using the latest design software such as AutoCAD, CadWorx, CloudWorx, and AutoPLANT;
- Suggesting improvements to piping design specifications and implementing piping plans accordingly;
- Collaborating with piping designers, other engineers, and technical staff to initiate piping system ideas and provide piping engineering support during installation;
- Providing support for purchasing and vendor submittals;
- Performing assessments of piping quality;
- Maintaining, undertaking repairs, and upgrading piping systems when needed;
- Coordinating with teams to implement assignments and check status reports;
- Achieving results in line with agreed project timelines and budgets;
- Delivering outputs in compliance with relevant requirements, codes, and certifications, and in line with customer needs and demands;
- Participating in technical trainings as needed;
- Assuring the safety and security of team members.
Qualifications for piping engineer
Piping engineers should have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Mechanical or Chemical Engineering, Technical Design or related. In some countries, an engineering license may also be required.
Additional supporting skills and experience include:
- At least 2 years’ experience;
- In-depth knowledge of piping systems engineering;
- Solid understanding of piping materials, procedures and drafting and installation techniques;
- Some project management experience;
- Availability to work in demanding environments;
- Strong observation, problem-solving and analytical abilities;
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills;
- Well-organized and capable of prioritizing tasks well.