Q&A – Differences between Basic Engineering and Detailed Engineering

“Basic Engineering”:

  • PFDs (Preliminary because they are based on unproven data and have not been Approved by the Client)
  • Preliminary P&IDs (Preliminary because they are based on unproven data and have not been Approved by the Client)
  • Project Planning
  • Preliminary Plot Plan (Preliminary because none of the equipment has been purchased so you do not have accurate sizes)
  • Preliminary line sizes and Material Line Class Specifications
  • Project Scope
  • Man hour Estimate
  • Preliminary Schedule

“Detailed Engineering”:

  • Client Approved PFDs
  • Client Approved P&IDs
  • Client Approved Plot Plan based on real equipment sizes
  • All Disciplines develop detailed Specifications and get Client Approval
  • Real and Definitive Structures
  • Real equipment (Pump, Exchangers, etc.) Vendor information
  • Real Vessels (Sizes, number and type of trays or other internals
  • Real Piping routing layouts or 3D piping models


There is a third Phase called “Production Engineering”.  This is the work that follows the final Client Approval of the Plant Design (3D Model or other method) and is the production of all the remaining drawings and documents required to build the plant.

This text is an extract from questions gathered from numerous queries of anonymous people in the Piping Engineering and Design profession. The answers or discussion of the topics were provided by James O. Pennock. Images obtained from www.coastalflange.com


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