This paper examines the relationship between conceptual and embodied reasoning in engineering work. In the last decade across multiple research projects on pipeline engineering, we have observed only a few times when engineers have expressed embodied or sensory aspects of their practice, as if the activity itself is disembodied. Yet, they also often speak about the importance of field experience. In this paper, we look at engineers’ accounts of the value of field experience showing how it works on their sense of what the technology that they are designing looks, feels, and sounds like in practice, and so what this means for construction and operation, and the management of risk. We show how office-based pipeline engineering work is an exercise in embodied imagination that humanizes the socio-technical system as it manifests in the technical artifacts that they work with. Engineers take the role of the other to reason through the practicability of their designs and risk acceptability.