Project Management and Controls within the UK Nuclear Industry

Updated: Apr 14

The Project Management and Project Controls Management function's nuclear roles have many commonalities with other industries and have several transferrable skills. Usually, nuclear experience is desirable but not essential. With the new build scope of work comprising of 80% 'non-nuclear, there are ample opportunities for project managers, project engineers, project administrators, project control managers, project planners and costs engineers to get into nuclear.

Nuclear Project Management

Project Manager - the Project Manager is the single point of contact to the client/customer and the single point of accountability to the project/business delivering the work being responsible for the ultimate success of the project being undertaken.

"Project Manager" is a loose term at the best of times, and it is probably more loosely used in the UK Nuclear Industry than any other due to the extensive range of work undertaken. You will find the job title Project Manager can be easily interchangeable with Project Engineer, Sub-Project Manager, Project Lead with varying responsibilities from the management of £10k tooling job to a £100m decommissioning project - the candidate for both these roles may very well have the same job title, but the skill set required to fulfil the role is very different successfully.

Project Controls Manager - the Project Controls Manager is responsible for project monitoring providing the project manager, the client and senior management with information on the scope, progress, costs and forecast completion and ultimate spending whilst actively managing project risks. Normally, the PCM has a team of resources to help manage all of their responsibilities, such as a Project Planner, Cost Engineer and Risk Practitioner who may not be central pooled resources via a Project Management Office (PMO).

A Project Controls Manager is quite a senior role. You usually tend to find that they have been part of the project controls team as one of the key resources for some time and have vast experience or reporting, managing and dealing with the demands of the function.

Project Planner - a Project Planner is responsible for managing the project schedule, monitoring progress, and forecasting future work to aid in managing resource requirements and scheduling any upcoming dependencies, review points, or delivery dates. Follow the link to find an example job advertisement for a Senior Project Planner.

Cost Engineer - responsible for dealing with all things related to money on the project. The Cost Engineers time is spent creating the project budgets based on estimates received from the team, analysing the spending to date and forecast spent to go, dealing with cash flow, payment applications, and monitoring timesheet and making accruals. This is the perfect role for someone who loves a spreadsheet!

Risk Practitioner - a specific role for a Risk Practitioner is common in most larger companies and on most of the bigger projects. You may find that risks are managed by the project management community in a smaller organisation (to varying success, it must be said).

Nuclear Project Controls

NB- it should be noted here that there is no reason why someone could not fulfil a number of these roles. Particularly the Planner and Costie roles which have very similar skill sets. It is, however, very rarely acknowledged by companies in the industry that this is possible. As such, you will tend only to find a position for one of the above, i.e. a project will have two two job requirements for a cost engineer and a planner.

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