What is Front End Engineering Design or FEED Engineering? FEED vs Detailed Engineering (PDF)

Front End Engineering Design or FEED is an engineering design approach adopted prior to detailed engineering, procurement, and construction. It is an important engineering design phase that is used to control project expenses and thoroughly plan a project before bid submission. Benchmark studies have shown that FEED constitutes roughly 2% of the project cost but properly executed FEED projects can reduce up to 30% of costs during design and execution. Front-end engineering design is a basic engineering phase conducted after conceptual design or feasibility study. FEED is also known as Front End Loading or Front End Engineering.

Purpose of Front End Engineering Design

The main purpose of FFED or Front End Engineering Design is

  • to define the technical and project-specific requirements for an understanding of clear project scope.
  • to prepare the project approach and basis of design for the system.
  • to develop a good project cost estimate for budget authorization.
  • to reduce the risk of the project.
  • to estimate the project duration and schedule during the detailed design phase.

A number of preliminary engineering documents are produced in the front-end engineering design phase (Click here to learn about all 12 phases of project implementation) which are used as the start-up documents for the detailed engineering design phase. Combinedly, these documents are known as the “FEED Package”. A good FEED package reflects all of the client’s project-specific requirements to avoid significant changes during the execution phase. The FEED package forms the basis for the design execution of EPC or EPCM projects.

Time Duration for FEED Project

FEED projects are fast-track engineering projects. The time duration for a front-end engineering design project is normally less than one year. So, it requires enough experience to execute FEED projects with safety within a short time period. Close communication between Project Owners and Operators (Client) and the Engineering Consultant is required to address all the client requirements in the FEED package.

Types of FEED Project

Depending on the extent of the detailing required during front end engineering design phases, FEED projects can be categorized into three groups

  • Basic FEED
  • Intermediate FEED and
  • Extended FEED

Front End Engineering Design Deliverables

Considering Piping Engineering as the basis, the front end engineering design deliverables for a FEED project can be listed as follows:

  • Basic FEED deliverables:
    • Overall Plot Plan
    • PMS or Piping Material Specification.
    • Tie-in Details
  • Intermediate FEED deliverables:
    • Deliverables mentioned in Basic FEED
    • Piping Purchase Specification
    • Piping Layout Design Basis
    • Piping Stress Analysis Design Basis
    • Interface Register
    • Demolition Scope details/drawings
    • Concept Notes on the overall plot plan
    • The assumption on the design basis
  • Extended Feed deliverables:
    • Deliverables mentioned in Basic and Intermediate FEED
    • Unit Plot Plan
    • Equipment Layout
    • Pipe-rack sections
    • Pipe thickness Calculation
    • Valve datasheets
    • Preliminary Stress Analysis for pipe routing/civil loading
    • Piping Support Standard
    • Special Item list
    • Piping Standard Assembly Drawings
    • Piping Scope of Work
    • Preliminary 3D Model

Typical FEED engineering deliverables with respect to the process engineering team are

  • Process Flow Diagrams (PFD) and Preliminary P&ID Generation
  • Process modeling
  • Technical specification and design basis creation
  • Equipment specification and sizing
  • Safety device sizing and selection
  • Full hydraulic calculations
  • Pipe Sizing

Inputs required for FEED Project

Roughly the following inputs are required to proceed with a FEED project

  • FEED engineering Scope of Work
  • Feasibility Study Report
  • Location and Details of the area where the plant will be built
  • List of Applicable Codes and Standards
  • Customers technical practices

Overall, the FEED phase is considered an important and critical planning tool.

What comes after front-end engineering design or FEED Engineering?

Front-End Engineering Design identifies all technical requirements, potential risks, and approximate costs of the proposed project. Once there is a green signal for the project execution, Detailed Design Engineering or Detailed Engineering, or DD engineering comes in place. So, Detailed Engineering comes after FEED engineering.

What is a FEED study?

The Front-end engineering and design process is one of the most important pre-project planning activities. A typical FEED study consists of producing technical documents, confirming product specifications, clarifying the project scope, and estimating the approximate project cost.

What is pre-FEED engineering?

Pre-FEED Engineering is a preliminary step that is usually undertaken before starting the basic engineering work. Pre-FEED engineering is an optional project phase and may be skipped. In the pre-FEED stage, the technical and economical feasibility of the project is sometimes confirmed. Depending on the nature of the project and uncertainties involved, a Pre-FEED work may be combined with conceptual work and studies.

What is front-end in a project?

The front-end phase of a project is the initial phase of a project when the project idea is conceived. The front-end phase of the project ends when the final decision to start or not-no start the project is decided.

Differences between FEED and Detailed Engineering: FEED vs Detailed Engineering

Both FEED and Detailed engineering are completely different terms in a project life cycle. FEED is the basic engineering with the aim to establish the project costing. Whereas Detailed engineering is the actual detailed project work for design and construction. Some of the major differences between Detailed Engineering and FEED engineering are tabulated below:

FEED EngineeringDetailed Design Engineering
Front End Engineering Design is an up-front basic engineering phase.Detailed Engineering is the design phase when all design work in done in detail to put into construction and operation.
FEED is done mainly to assess the cost and produce preliminary basis documents.Detailed Engineering is the design phase when all design work is done in detail to put into construction and operation.
FEED is done with an acceptable level of accuracy.Detailed Engineering is done with utmost accuracy.
The time requirement of FEED engineering is short.Detailed Engineering requires more time as compared to FEED.
The cost and manpower requirement for the FEED project is less.Detailed Design needs more manpower and associated cost is also much higher than the FEED stage.
FEED phase may not end with Detailed EngineeringAll Detailed Engineering projects usually have a FEED phase.
Table 1: Detailed Engineering vs FEED Engineering
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Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

5 thoughts on “What is Front End Engineering Design or FEED Engineering? FEED vs Detailed Engineering (PDF)

  1. Dear
    Very nice blog for piping. Can you share some past project tenders containing piping work in refineries for refrence.

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