Normally, résumés provide an excellent summary of a person’s experience, credentials and professional activities. The résumé as a sole document has some flaws:


- Most are authored by the subject and many are not substantially checked by the EPC.


- Terminology on task, roles and responsibilities can vary widely.


- Titles are often inflated as alternative compensation.


- Levels of competency shown on listed tasks is often not clear or greatly exaggerated.


- Mere assignment to tasks does not imply acquisition of technical insight into technologies involved. Foreign experience and credentials are particularly hard to verify and are usually not valued as strongly.


- While EPCs win work on their perceived competency, many do not have a formal credentialing program. Most count on employees themselves to manage their credentials, such as professional engineering registration and continuing education. Some make little or no effort to track credentials, particularly with contract personnel.


- Others — particularly in high accountability professions or tasks such as engineering and code welding — use software to track and manage licenses, certifications, clearances, fitness, skills, education and registrations. Some include credentials in their compensation plans.


It is always difficult to extend a credentialing program down to all levels of project staff. As piping design is now considered a professional rather than a support position, its credentials should also be tracked for compensation, compliance and qualification.


After about 11 years of trying to structure “levels” of piping design competence, I can summarize my ideas in a small chart:


Level of Competence


Typical Source

Prepared to learn piping design

Elements of physics, chemistry, algebra,   geometry, descriptive geometry and CAD

Selected two year associate degrees in CAD

Piping design drafter or operator

Preparation plus piping specific drafting/deliverables and plant CAD applications

Dedicated two-year associate degrees,   extended training through certificate programs or vendor application training

PPD Level I

Piping drafting plus extended knowledge of “ilities” impacting pipe routing

SPED piper bootcamp, company training   programs, on-the-job (OTJ) experience

PPD Level II

PPD Level I plus ability to assure preparation, correctness and completeness of pipe routings in CAD on drawings and in the field

Four years of OTJ pipe routing experience and mentoring from supervisors and checkers


PPD Level II plus ability to place, elevate, orient and separate equipment considering applicable functions and “ilities”

SPED process plant layout and four years of OTJ equipment layout experience and mentoring from supervisors and   checkers

PPD Level IV

PPD Level III plus ability to plan, schedule, cost, supervise and assure piping tasks from feed to closeout for greenfield and brownfield projects

Four years of OTJ “full scope” planning, supervisory or assurance experience and mentoring from supervisors and discipline leads

Licensed Professional

Official licensing to do specified piping design calculation(s), “that is the routine application of industry recognized codes, standards, procedures and practices using established   engineering or applied science principles and methods of problem solving”

Six years of technical study/preparation,   including two years of work experience in proposed scope of practice, completed under the supervision and control of a licensed professional



As clients ask for higher levels of competency on job staff, piping designer credentials are increasingly scrutinized. Including designers in an EPC’s credentialing program will help satisfy this demand.


By:    DR. WILLIAM BEAZLEY, Executive Director

          Society of Piping Engineers and Designers