A chief engineer (commonly referred to as"ChEng," "the Chief" or just "Chief") is responsible for all operations and maintenance that has to do with any and all engineering equipment throughout the entire ship.
Under many jurisdictions the chief engineer is of equal rank to the captain, with responsibility being split between the two posts; the chief engineer taking responsibility for engine room and maintenance, and the captain taking responsibility for navigation and deck operations.
In public works, such as for a city, county, military division, or federal program, the engineering department often has a chief engineer. This is typically shown as "Office of the Chief Engineer" in organizational charts. This person or group is separate from the other engineering offices, and functions to coordinate their activities from an engineering perspective.
Before the English Restoration a Chief Engineer was a pay grade and not defined. In 1660 King Charles II appointed Sir Charles Lloyd, who had served in the English Civil War, as head of a new department of engineers. The position was confirmed in a Royal Warrant (26 May 1716), which also authorised the formation of the Corps of Engineers.
In 1862 the office was extended to Inspector-General of Engineers and Director of Work, keeping the affiliation in the former function while being now responsible to the Secretary of State for War in the latter. On the resignation of Edward Frome in 1869, both offices were separated for one year. The Director of Works was dropped in 1895 and the office was renamed to Inspector-General of Fortifications. It was again abolished in 1904 and replaced by the Director of Fortifications and Works.