May 2021

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Value Engineering – What It Is and How It Helps

by David Fickler

Value engineering is a term often used by Owner/Developer in project discussions, but what does it really mean?

Unless money doesn’t matter, which only on a few jobs this is the case, most owners are looking for value, but never will an owner be willing to sacrifice quality just to save a buck. They want their construction projects built in the most efficient, cost-effective way, without sacrificing the value, and ultimately adding value, without sacrificing the finished product.

The goal is to ensure that they the client receives full value for every dollar spent on the project. To reduce costs while maintaining quality and function. Which can be a lofty goal and not so easily achieved.

If you’re looking to learn more about value engineering as a part of the construction process, you’re in the right place. Read on to discover the benefits and features!

Value Engineering Post-Bid

On the vast majority of our projects, Value Engineering usually stems from one of two scenarios.

In the first case, when a project is completely designed and then put out for bid to contractors and their respective subcontractors. The design is often done in a vacuum with little input from the owner. Ultimately, when the pricing comes back, the owner is surprised because the project pricing comes in significantly over his or her anticipated costs.

Often, contractors are then asked to do a value engineering exercise. In order to perform this exercise, ne needs to look at every aspect of the job and see the specific areas for the potential for value engineering.

• What are the site constraints?
• What are the materials of construction?
• What are the specifications for each and every component and system?
• What is the HVAC system?
• What are the electrical components and specifications?

Where did the original budget come from? How old is it? What were those project parameters?

Once these features are understood, the construction company can give a more accurate estimate of costs and potential trouble areas.

How often do we hear, my friend built his building for X$/SF three years ago? It’s a different project, on different piece of land in a different time. It sets one up for comparisons that are difficult to do and aren’t usually applicable anyway.

Further, let’s assume that there are project savings that are realized through the value engineering exercise. How will the plans be changed to incorporate these new items to save money? Will there be a cost associated with that rework? Considering this, a team can accurately reflect costs and uncover potentially ‘hidden’ costs when taking this approach.

Taking Value Engineering Steps on the Front-End of a Project

In the second case, one can work through the design and perform the value engineering on the front end before the designer(s) put pencil to paper (or mouse click to computer as is now the case).

The design build scenario, more often than not, benefits contractors and subcontractors who have experience and knowledge on what things cost and how they perform. This allows them to right size a project from day one as opposed to drawing it, pricing it and then looking for ways to save money.

All in all, it is a more collaborative approach that makes sure the owner gets just what they need and want. Often, this is vital to understanding the price they are willing to pay. In order for design build to work, it is important that the contractors/subcontractors have both design and construction experience.

And it is important that they are capable of performing the design, getting the drawings completed (and often professionally sealed as required) and then successfully complete the project. After all, most contractors get paid to do construction and not just the design!

If you’re interested in learning more about D Fickler Construction, connect with our team today! Our team of experienced designers, contractors, and builders are ready to chat.

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A Premiere Church Construction Company in Chester County

by David Fickler

Working as a General Contractor/Construction Manager in the Ecclesiastical arena is difficult for a variety of reasons. These customers often work with a higher calling in hand and have higher expectations when it comes to their construction projects.

They expect their contractors to be honest, hardworking, reliable and ultimately always working on their behalf. D. Fickler Construction having completed both church and synagogue projects alike, has demonstrated that these core values are who and what we are all about.

To that end, D Fickler Construction is a construction company having completed multiple church project demonstrating that we can provide all-inclusive services from pre-construction through to the completion, move in and warranty phases of the project.

Our Church Construction Typical Services

D. Fickler Construction is an all-encompassing General Contractor / Construction Manager. We can provide as much as little from a service perspective.

These Services can include any and all of these task:

• Pre-Construction Scope of Work evaluation.
• Pre- Construction budgeting.
• Permit requirements
• Construction means and methods and anticipated schedules.
• General Construction
• Subcontractor evaluation and procurement
• Design building.
• Value Engineering
• Integration of outside vendors
• Completion of construction.
• Occupancy assistance.
• Close out.
• Warranty work.
• Much more

While these are our significant services we offer to clients, they are not the only services we can offer. Accommodating our clients from the beginning to the end is at the heart of who we are!

Contracting, Working with Our People

We recognize that it “takes a village” to successfully carry out a church construction project. This is why our group is capable of fulfilling every task of a construction build each step of the way.

Most projects take at least one to two years to complete. In the great scheme of things this is not a long period of time but when you meet on a at least weekly basis living through all that is good and bad that inevitably go on in a construction project, it is important that the church personnel have confidence in, feel comfortable with and enjoy the personnel their working with. It shouldn’t be an adversarial relationship with owner and architect on one side of the table and the contractor on the other side. Successful projects happen when it is a collaborative effort with everyone working towards the success of the project. It’s more than just bricks and sticks, it’s all about the relationships we develop and foster!

Pre-Construction – General Construction (Start to Finish)

It’s important that any church construction company is able to fulfill any and pre-construction and general construction needs. Dealing with contractors who understand the whole process makes for an easier build and more successful project.

Some of our pre-construction services include:

– Developing accurate construction estimates even with incomplete or concept plans.
– Task scheduling
– Construction scheduling
– Analyzing building means and methods
– Recognizing areas for value engineering
– Phase work evaluation.

Additionally, with these pre-construction services, customers are able to get a better idea of how the build process will be executed. Having a good handle on the build process before construction starts is necessary.

We’ve worked under many different construction methods. We’ve done projects with fixed price, cost plus fee with and without a guaranteed maximum cost.

Whatever build services you may need, our group is here to meet those needs. Any questions regarding our construction company? Please reach out and contact us, we’d love to help.