© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Project risk management is essential for ensuring project success. Current risk management tools lack predictive ability to indicate potential risks before the start of a project. This study was conducted to determine whether or not project classification, which is known at the outset of a project, can be used by project managers to proactively identify likely risk events in engineering design projects. This study compared the types of risk events experienced during the project, using risk indicators, when undertaking three different types of projects: compliance, operational, and strategic projects. Risk indicators were developed to capture circumstances (risk events) with potential predictive power about the likelihood of a risk occurring during a given project. Interviews were conducted with employees involved in eleven engineering design projects, within a single organization. Interview notes were transcribed, and risk events were identified and coded using a set of risk indicator codes. Codes were summarized at the project level and compared based on the project classification. The results indicate that the type of risk events occurring in projects does vary based on project classification. Both the type and frequency of risk indicators were found to vary based on project classification. These results suggest that risk management plans can be customized, at the outset of the project based on project classification, which may increase the likelihood of project success.